At seven in the morning I opened the French door and went out to the balcony to see how the plants were. I detach a leaf there, a twig here, check if the earth is damp, if there are new flowers or fruit. I look up and see on the patio in front of my neighbor over 90 who does the exact same thing that I do. There is nothing to do I was born old. My passions at fifty: embroidering, cooking, horticulture, gardening, the old episodes of Columbo, being with the family, writing, reading Carver and Chekhov, walking in the green, studying the various types of fermentation and New Medicine.

embroidery art

In this period I can’t embroider more than an hour a day, between the organization of the consortiums to buy from small producers on Ammu├Čna, the incomprehensible news on the increasingly stringent and unconstitutional new rules that meander on social networks (and thank goodness I don’t watch TV), and the fact that I always am very late in the evening. But I am happy because in the last few weeks I have almost finished two new works (I had to leave them on hold because I have to order the thread, I have finished almost all the spools) and I have started another one that I like very much, with something abstract, despite the very real subject: a giant algae, a little squashed, which you see below; found on the herbarium of this site of a Californian university.


It is a Laminariacea that grows in the seas between Alaska and Mexico; in this crazy photo of Tom Boyd, a photographer from New Jersey with the passion for marine conservation, you can see the seaweed alive, in all its beauty. It has huge lobes, which all hang to one side, depending on the current, supported by rounded bladders full of air. I don’t know how to describe my admiration for all this, my feeling part of it. A teacher of mine said a few months ago “when you look at the sky, you breathe the blue, when you look at the trees, you breathe the green” . Here, perhaps only this synaesthetic quote partially expresses what moves me. The sea, in particular, flows through my veins, makes me feel immediately safe when I am close to it, despite the due respect that leads to a shapeshifter of its caliber.

contemporary embroidery art

I always hope that what I feel for the subjects I “draw” on the fabrics, in this case an ancient kitchen towel, perhaps made of hemp, somehow gets caught in the threads, and that when another hand pass over it another madman feels that energy, let those shivers run through him. In the image from which I started, the seaweed is crushed in a herbarium, passed from the preciousness of life to that of loving conservation, of meticulous cataloging (which for my stellium in virgin is the most attractive it can exist). Who knows how long this magnificent aquatic being will survive without decomposition, preciously folded in the archives of its admirer.

embroidery art italy

This time I embroidered starting from the lightest thread, which I usually use for the second step, in the hope of succeeding in the meantime in acquiring a very particular green tone that I spotted a few days ago. Unfortunately for now I have not made it, so I started passing a blue; I will keep that green for a next seaweed.

embroidery art

I don’t think I’ll do this experiment again: I went crazy with that very clear thread, I don’t know if you understand in the photos but following the pencil with such a light color is really complicated, especially with the changes in vision that I have been experiencing lately. Finally I will pass the white, which will be exaggerated and backstitch, as usual.

embroidery art in progress

Now I go to the patio to rearrange the branches and twigs of the catalpa tree by type, cramming them into wooden boxes and imagining them burning in the fireplace this winter. Even after twelve years it does not seem true to me to have a tree, a real tree, tall as a mountain, full of leaves and capable of making flowers that stun, with the scent they have. I also breathe him, the ivy that climbs on top of him and the wild strawberries that grow around him.