Karen Turner Chronicles the Passing of Time With Her Stitch Journal

People have different ways to chronicle the passing of time. Some opt to write in journals, others make video diaries, and textile artist Karen Turner sews. 

Turner is keeping a stitch journal, which sees her sewing an image on a piece of cloth. The fabric is divided into squares and circles, which represent days in a year. The artist then fills out the spaces each day and ends up with a colorful and diverse piece of artwork at the end of the year.

Turner usually doesn’t know what kind of image will fill out the square until she takes her needle and threads. Most of the time, it is completely intuitive and a result of a momentary inspiration.

“I’m not trying to make a beautiful thing; I’m trying to make an honest record of time passing,” the artist explains on her website. “Occasionally, if something wonderful is happening in the garden (for instance, one of my favorite plants is flowering), then I might stitch an approximate pictogram that represents it. Mostly the blocks are abstract shapes and lines, which I find more meaningful.”

Turner made her first stitch journal in 2022 and liked the practice so much that she is currently working on one for 2023. The artist is also offering courses and advice for people who want to try this unique project by themselves.