What thread do you choose?
I decide to take up tapestry. Just something small, that won’t take forever to do, not like the tapestries they do at The Gobelins Factory in Paris. They can be metres long and have many weavers sitting along the loom working for years to complete them. It will just be me, an amateur, setting nervous stitches for a few weeks.
At the shop I choose a beginner kit, suitable for children 8 years old and over. It’s a mini cross stitch kit of a ladybird. Just black and red threads on a white background. Simple. Basic. Easy. As I settle into my favourite chair and open the package, I recall hearing a psychic talk about life being a tapestry, and each of us is a thread with a part to play in the unfolding artwork.
When weavers at The Gobelins do their work, they use various coloured threads to re-create an existing design. They are following a pattern. There is a predictable outcome. When it’s completed it should look like the artwork that was being copied. And when I finish mine, it should look like the picture on the packet. If it doesn’t, I’ll know I’ve made a mistake.
But life isn’t like that.
We’re not threading to re-create that which already exists. We’re on our own as we pick colour, thread thickness, and stitch tension. Or whether we’ll do a stitch at all. Of course, our tools aren’t literal threads. Instead, we insert emotions, words, actions, stillness, or silence into the moment.
When a Gobelins tapestry is in progress, several weavers are positioned along the frame, doing different parts of it that will eventually join up with that being done by those beside them.