This bead embroidery, Elly Elephant, is the hand-stitch work of Mary Ellen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Process is What we Need to Feel Alive

Do you hand-stitch?

“Smack!”

Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque writes about "The Creativity Cure" saying this book encourages hand-stitch and craft.

©2016, Mary Ellen Me, craftrrigan, Book encourages hand-stitch

“Because it is so easy to purchase, hire, replace, and stay in place, we have stopped making things, repairing things, and using our hands. We are losing “process,” but process is gratifying. Process, not product, is what we need to feel alive and well.”

This premise forms the basis for The Creativity Cure: How to Build Happiness with your Own Two Hands Carrie Barron, MD and Alton Barron, MD. My visceral reaction to the quote could not have been more dramatic if I’d been hit on the side of the head.

The quote – the entire book – clarified my process.

I pick up needle, thread and beads and stitch. Order comes to my world. Questions and uncertainties fade. In their place, only the present is important. Needle in, needle out. Rhythm. Process.

These handstitched cards illustrate the handcraft of Mary Ellen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Hand-stitched cards collage

I’m a random kind of girl. No counted patterns. Even in the place of ‘no pattern,’ predictability occurs: one stitch after another. Needle up, bead on, stitch through. Process.

During my needlepoint period, I developed a mantra to go with the rhythmic basketweave stitch: “With every stitch I take I become more balanced.” The phraseology runs through my unconsciousness yet today. The process of repetitive motion in handwork gives my mind freedom to wander. It encourages intuitive prompts, because once relaxed, thoughts come easily to the forefront. Process.

At an early age, cross stitch initials, embroidery on tea towels, crewel, or other pieces of handwork occupied my time. In high school I shifted to dress-making, but it was never quite as satisfying as the other pursuits. Crochet. Needlepoint. Now bead embroidery soothes my psyche and allows me to unravel the knots of my mind. Process.

This bead embroidery, Elly Elephant, is the hand-stitch work of Mary Ellen Merrigan of Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

©2016, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Elly Elephant, Bead embroidery cuff on leather

Is thinking easier when the hands are occupied? Maybe. Certainly insightful presence contributes to greater wisdom. I hand-stitch. What I know for sure is process keeps me present.

“Creative decisions are more likely to bubble up from a brain that applies unconscious thought to a problem …It is much harder if we are under a deluge of data. – Sharon Begley, writer