The Letterarian

Artist. Keeper of letters…


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mastering the backstitch for text

Mastering the backstitch as mode of expression in text….

words to stitch by

“…of faces in a crowd on the…” Backstitch study in progress.

Mastering the backstitch as mode of expression in text….

I’ve lately been participating in a class series called Stitches and Stanzas with Rebecca Devaney, a textile artist and researcher who studied haute couture embroidery at École Lesage in Paris, France, and who established Textile Tours of Paris.

In this series of classes is an exploration of putting words to stitch – in particular, using the backstitch. Now, I do a lot of backstitch work when I make my couture garments so I’m not new to handling a needle & thread and using these tiny stitches as tools to work their magic in garment construction. But writing with the backstitch is another thing altogether. Having recently finally worked out the technique of writing with a needle & thread, my own text work with thread is built up with…

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©Jacqueline Harris 2019

A Poignant Moment

The poetic can catch you up at any moment…

words to stitch by

Many hours are spent hand stitching the inner workings of a couture garment, which leaves many hours to think of all sorts of things. Sometimes a bit of poetry sneaks into my thoughts…

And so, in whiling away at the inner workings of my current couture piece, a verse line from a poem by T.S. Eliot sneaks into my mind: “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”…and it feels as if I too have been measuring out my own time in catch-stitches, connecting the intricate maze of lines and folds that comprise the inner workings of my next couture garment.
How poignant it feels to notice the measuring out of one’s life with a task that may seem so ordinary and mundane, such as the stirring of a cup of coffee and the working of a stitch.

Such is the poetry of sewing for me today.

Verse line…

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letters… letters…

Letters letters letters….. Time to get back to work in the studio….
This work is a study done with an automatic pen #1, gouache, on BFK paper.

I’m thinking of turning this work into a print, and also working it into an embossed version with my etching press.


©Jacqueline Harris 2019

Happy New Year!


I came across this photo taken on December 31, 2015. We had spent that day at the Forks enjoying the company of tourists and locals, and taking in the ambience of the artisan shops and buskers performing at various points in this historic area. The day was unseasonably warm, and I got the opportunity to have a photo taken beside the statue of Mahatma Ghandi outside the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. It was a poignant way to end the year and begin a new one.

❄️Wishing all my friends and family the best in 2019.❄️
❄️🍾❤️Happy New Year! Bonne heureuse année!❤️🥂❄️

“a picture snowing”


Happy Holidays to All!

Copyright ©Jacqueline Harris 2018



We finally had some snow falling here yesterday… So very exciting to see the snow fall and settle on the branches in the forest!
I love the effect too of bare branches in the colder seasons — like spontaneous bursts of calligraphy writing itself at infinite angles in the atmosphere…constant state of communication!

Copyright ©Jacqueline Harris 2018





Copyright ©Jacqueline Harris 2018

eye in the sky

eye in the sky

We are having a long run of cold arctic temperatures which can make for some fascinating skies. I took this photo while en route yesterday…
“eye in the sky”
You don’t often see one of these looking down at you at two in the afternoon!

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