A) Tell us about an intellectual experience, project, class, or book that has influenced or inspired you.
Tears gathered in the corners of my eyes as I watched the blood pool on my finger. I had poked my finger with the needle. Again. I mechanically stowed all my supplies away in a plastic box dedicated to my embroidery and headed for the medicine cabinet to seek comfort from a Hello Kitty band-aid. After a short recovery, I was slightly damaged but ready to continue onwards toward my goal.
Cross-stitch embroidery may at first seem like a mindless process. Needle in, needle out. The complexity of the art, however, reveals itself when you perform the task. What begins as skeins of tangled threads and a white canvas of cloth almost miraculously transforms into a beautiful picture. You fill one square with an x of color and then move on to the next square. As each distinct color takes its spot, slowly but steadily, the final picture begins to emerge. The ability to see this bigger picture while it's still in pieces is something that applies to real life, a lesson embodied when caught in the throes of an argument or under a mound of ceaseless work. As with all things in life, mistakes are easily made, but when caught early, can be just as readily mended. Cross stitching also trains the eye to see the graduations and shadows created by color. Because it's also a mathematical art in the counting of squares, cross stitching represents a combination of the logical and creative, a balance worth striving for.
The most intellectually engrossing part, however, is striving to keep the back of the embroidery tangle free. It is frustratingly easy to knot threads in the back and end up with an extensive mat of colorful threads. To avoid this, I've learned to double check the neatness of my every stitch and to always move forward. If the problem becomes unsolvable, I have learned to cut my losses and simply begin anew in a different spot with a different perspective. Through blood, sweat, and tears, the resulting masterpiece is more than the sum of its parts.