Five years ago I wrote a blog post about being an art witch, and it’s still one of my most popular posts. However over time my practice has changed as tends to happen to many of us. More and more I am exploring expressive fiber arts such as embroidery, patchwork and other hand sewing techniques to weave magick into my practice.
Magick and spellwork are a somatic, multi-sensory endeavor. They require focus and an ability to receive guidance from the divine. For many of us, just sitting in silence is a challenge and having an activity that can help channel our intuition and quieten the mind is useful. Some people drum or chant since often a repetitive action is the gateway to a trance-like state or a simple clearing of the metaphysical noise that surrounds us.
I use the practice of hand stitching to achieve spiritual clarity. The soothing repetition of sewing provides my intuition a path of communication. If I am spell casting, the intention and request is both physically and spiritual woven through the piece I am working on and later provides a reminder of what I am trying to manifest.
When I use hand sewing for magick, I rarely have an idea of the completed piece. Instead I spontaneously stitch and make decisions as I go along. This technique is called slow stitching as well.
For the pictured “spell cloth” I used an unfinished patchwork block from my collection of works in progress, pinned it to a base cloth and then through hand sewing imbued it with my request for guidance on a particular challenge I had. As I worked on the spell cloth I was able to develop a dialogue with my intuition (AKA the divine) that helped me find answers. This particular project is still ongoing (as is the challenge!).
I think of these spell cloths as a bit like a witch bottle. The stitches, colors and ephemera used all have meaning and I have developed a lexicon of stitches to which I have assigned magickal meanings.
The talismans I make are also spells, following much the same process as the spell cloth. However these smaller items are quicker to complete. They are a useful activity for a moon phase or sabbat as you can choose colors and symbols the time. These can be given as gifts, kept on an altar or worn.
It’s easy to get started and your first attempts could be modest. Find a small piece of cloth (an old clothing scrap is fine) and use some embroidery thread to stitch randomly while you sit in a peaceful place indoors or outdoors. See what arises for you, how you feel where your mind goes. Return to this practice whenever you need clarity and you will be surprised at how effective it is.
If you want to dig deeper then I recommend my online course on Tiny Magick Talismans, or you could come along to one of my in-person events to learn more.