[Exclusive Video] Witness a Year of Embroidery in One Minute

Hannah Claire Somerville says working on a project every day for a year has changed her art practice for the better.

by Andrew Salomone
Dec 22 2016, 4:20pm

The first post on Hanna Claire Somerville’s 1 year of stitches Instagram account

About 12 months ago, Hannah Claire Somerville was looking at a piece of cloth, wondering how it might be shaped by the coming year. 1 year of stitches is a project that Somerville began on the first day of 2016 and worked on by stitching, photographing, or adding to it in some way everyday for the entire year. Now, with just days to go before finishing, Somerville tells The Creators Project how the project has changed her art practice: “I can remember long days that I would come home, lie down and be so ready to go to sleep, but then feel like I forgot something and get back up because I realized that I hadn't stitched yet. There were some days that I was on a plane, or in the woods, but I would still at least stitch. My embroidery just became something I never left home without.”

This minute-long video illustrates the progress Somerville made on the project over the year

Before starting the project, Somerville laid out some guidelines for herself, which she shares on her website. These “rules and stipulations” included statements like, “I will embroider something on my fabric ground each day and post a photograph of the result each day.” And, “I am allowed to remove stitches, because mistakes can sometimes be undone.” She also included, “More rules and stipulations may be added as the project evolves and lessons are learned.”

For Somerville, the focus of the project is not so much the visual outcome of the stitches she makes as it is the experience gleaned from the process of making them. “I think it's provided a nice balance to the rest of my life, since I've been bogged down by a lot of formalities and deadlines,” says Somerville. Part of the success of the project is that Somerville was able to continue to work on it despite undertaking the Master of Arts Program in Museum Studies at The University of San Francisco throughout the year.

A detail of the project

But Somerville isn’t the only one who’s been affected by the project, by sharing her daily progress on the Instagram account she dedicated to the project, she’s gathered over seven thousand followers. “Starting out, I hoped that some friends and my mother would at least follow and it would be a bonus if a few strangers got interested. The support from the Instagram community has been so wonderful and I think that their encouragement and feedback has contributed to my ability to see this project through to (almost) the end,” says Somerville. As a result of the project’s popularity, Somerville has inspired a number of other people to start their own year-long stitching projects. “On a personal level, this has been a huge accomplishment for me and it makes it even more exciting that I get to share it with other people.”

Perhaps the best evidence the project’s success is that even after working on it for an entire year, she’s already planning her next year-long project. “I will be starting a new 1 year of stitches for 2017 and have a lot of ideas that I want to try out based off of what I experienced this year. And since I won't have a thesis to be working on anymore, I also plan to be working on some other projects. So I'm excited to see how I approach my art practice in the future.”

Somerville’s project as of December 13th 2016

You can see more of Hannah Claire Somerville’s work on her website and follow stitching progress on her Instagram account.


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