On searching

When I began this series, I was thinking of each work as an isolated moment in the search for peace. Since then, I find that my view of peace – and the series – has changed, and I’m still not sure that I can articulate exactly how, but I’m going to have a go. I’ve come to the rather obvious realisation, through stitching quietly on these cloths, that peace isn’t ‘out there’ at all; that it comes from somewhere within.

It might come as a response to some external stimulus – such as dawn, dusk, etc – but its origins are inside us all the time. We might still search for it, but we must search within, not without. It’s an emotion like any other, or a state of mind. Since I’m getting a feel for this, I’m thinking of this series now as ‘a sense of peace’ rather than ‘the search for peace’.

I’ve also realised that the word means something slightly different depending on the context. The dictionary defines ‘peace’ as ‘the absence of war’: inadequate, to say the least. That’s like defining ‘health’ as ‘the absence of suffering’. My cloths so far have concentrated on the personal – the individual – rather than the more social/political ‘absence of war’. The shift happened during ‘Lightness of Being’, I think.

Some very wise person once said something like ‘if you want to change the world, you must first begin with yourself’. I think before ‘lightness of being’ the cloths are about the individual: the ego-centred self, seeking a sense of peace and calm acceptance for its own sake. The self has to secure this first before turning outwards to share it with others. Maybe the cloths that are to come will look outwards a little, moving from the individual towards the collective: the social and political. The voice of humanity singing in harmony. So maybe it’s a question of changing perspective:

'Perspective' patchwork central circle, 21" diameter

A shift in gear rather than a shift in direction. Slowing a little, to think. Looking at it in a different light, from a slightly different place.

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24 Responses to On searching

  1. Jeannie says:

    Beautiful, insightful post.

  2. Jill says:

    oh yes, absolutely – i think in lots of ways we are conditioned to look for answers outside of our selves when all the time we have our own keys. this is truly beautiful work, both the stitched and the thoughts.

  3. Lilli Sutherland says:

    You’ve achieved visual perspective so beautifully in this! It has such depth to it and distance.

  4. flaming nora says:

    wonderfully written insightful post. Tip Top!

  5. Amanda says:

    Isn’t peace also a very personal and of the moment thing? From watching waves, to going to that inner place when pain is imminent to even letting it all hang out with a CD on full volume. Peace doesn’t even have to mean quiet! lol

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes – that’s what I mean, and what has surprised me. It’s a small, personal thing, and at the same time it’s a huge, global thing – and it’s difficult to hold both those ideas in your head at the same time.

  6. Eva says:

    So true! My conclusion was just the same. I found out that it was messing my mind up to read about all the things happening in the world. I decided to do a stitching retreat — ha! It works.

  7. karen says:

    peace for me comes from within and from external sources….your work certainly evokes peace for me, especially the whites and creams.

  8. Penny says:

    Wonderful post! Internal reflection is truly the path to peace and perhaps therein lies the source of external peace. Stitching (or in my case punching) allows me to sit quietly, meditatively if you will and reach that state of peace that is such a treasure. I’ve enjoyed each of your ‘peace’ circles and they mean even more to me after reading this post. Thank you.

  9. Jan Marriott says:

    Karen, you have done a pretty good job of explaining how you feel…shows in the work too.

  10. gt says:

    Very wise, touching words. Perspective is very lovely. It evokes a sense of inner peace.

  11. deanna7trees says:

    i agree that peace is found within ourselves but your work can still hold the title ‘a search for peace’. the search has just reversed itself from external to internal.

  12. Kat says:

    Hello Karen,
    thank you, lovely thoughts, lovely pieces – peace

  13. Beverley says:

    A most thoughtful post. I agree that peace comes from within.

  14. Sally jo says:

    I loved your entire post about peace – self discovery and a beautiful reminder to all of us. Stitching is equally beautiful.

  15. judy martin says:

    I so agree with you about the inner self being the source of peace.
    I’ve started calling it ‘the immensity within us” – There’s a kind of feeling you get that is totally from within but it also takes you out of yourself into a dream world or an ancient memory.
    The challenge for artists is to be able to make work that allows the viewer to access that kind of peace or immensity – as well as ourselves, who love and make the work.

  16. really well thought out and beautifully written Karen. I feel my peace comes from inside me and sewing and of my Art is greatly “added to” by this peace l find within. lynda

  17. Rachel says:

    There’s an element of meditation involved in all crafts (in the ancient sense). The hands are busy, and the “planning” part of the mind is busy, and it allows the rest to unravel and settle itself.

  18. helen salo says:

    I believe that if everyone found peace within themselves, there would be peace in the world, just by virtue of how people act and react. A person at peace with themselves would find it hard to be at war with someone else.

  19. Janice says:

    Yes, I agree with all you say and have many such ponderings myself on a daily basis. This piece makes me think of urban gardens – actually community gardens is what sprang to mind – people working together to create and maintain an oasis of peace and lush vegetation in the middle of the noise and haste.

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