: Rhythm / Devotion : is a series of interviews intended to illuminate the connection to ritual & rhythm in our daily lives. This series explores the intimacy of routine, the magic of the ordinary, & how these small acts of devotion set the stage for larger workings in the world ~
What is your name & where are you in the world?
My name is Sadie Dearing, and I am currently situated in a little apartment with my husband and our newly adopted kitten, Hermes by the Atlantic coast in North Carolina.
How do you define yourself & your work?
Most broadly and simply, I am an artist and I make hand embroideries and illustrations. I enjoy exploring texture in the form of color, sound, and feeling. I am also a student, and am truly a patron of curiosity; I love thinking about symbols, meaning, communication and connection, and philosophy.
Will you walk us through what a day in your life looks like? Begin with how you greet the morning & guide us until you close off the day in the eve ~
I am fortunate to work and study from home right next to the university I attend, so with that in mind, this is the general structure of my days... I prefer to wake up slowly and by my “internal clock,” and I indulge in this luxury for the moment as my current responsibilities allow for it. Sometimes I wake up with the sun’s first peachy glow, but most mornings I wake up a bit later as the rays begin reaching above the great Magnolia outside of my bedroom window and fill the room with rainbows made by a prism gifted to me by my friend Ruby. Lately, though, I wake up when Hermes sweetly swats my face to inform me that it is play time! I start the day by recording my temperature (for cycle tracking purposes), taking a few intentional breaths, and noticing the day’s light, breathing it in while drinking a glass of water prepared the night before, and doing a little bit of gentle movement. Thus begins my daily ritual of following the light throughout the day (and year, etc.). I wait a moment and take notice of the way it first hooks me; a bright sparkling day will pull me forth quite differently than the mysterious invitation of a soft, intimate, cloudy light. This sets the rhythm for the entire day though my responsibilities and routines may be pretty much the same throughout a semester or for a period. Following the light reveals nuance and play in the otherwise mundane or even monotonous rituals of life. It is a friend and curious companion. If I’ve had particularly potent dreams I’ll jot them down now, too.
My husband usually makes coffee at this time, and now feeds the kitten as well, after which we tend to “plug in” to the world online while sipping coffee and waking up. We chat, process, and usually light an incense afterward before setting off on our endeavors. I like to take this moment to say a little prayer sent off on the ribbons of incense, lately this has been focused on my very recently passed grandmother, the pandemic, visions of healing, comfort, and abundance of joy.
By this time the light has moved from one window to another and has been set in motion by the branches and leaves of another tree whom I call the Owl Tree. This is the perfect invitation to turn on some music, usually something instrumental these days like Django Reinhardt or French Ye-Ye, and begin those mundane rituals which I delight in. This is also what I’d consider my movement practice, making the bed, tidying up, setting the stage for whatever I’m going to do, dancing around a bit with the light. I also like to put on a dab of perfume at this time, lately I’ve been wearing Cleopatra’s Honey by Third Generation Herbal or Astara by Jade Forest Co. I take a moment with my morning altar, maybe put on a piece of jewelry, then I'll settle into whatever I’m going to work on for the day.
Once the light has moved all the way around to the living room window it is long, sharp, and direct as it makes its way back down to the horizon. This lets me know it’s time to stop what I’ve been working on and change the pace. My husband and I usually like to go for a walk around campus or on the beach at this time, stretch, break from the focus, and freshen up. This is perhaps my favorite part of the day, getting outside and watching the world, talking with my husband or just meandering in a peaceful silence. This reinvigorates me for the rest of the evening and when we get back I’ll sometimes work out a little bit, a mix of ballet warm-ups and movement exercises one of my late grandmothers shared with me, just enough to get my heart rate up and limbs loosened. Then I’ll shower, we’ll start dinner, and usually settle back into a project or reading for a while. By this time it is dark, my attention span is nowhere to be reigned in, and I like to indulge in all the curiosities that have accumulated throughout the day. This usually means doing what I affectionately call “my research,” flipping through books about symbolism, history, or the natural world, threading together the bits and pieces of the day that were most luminous through thinking, writing, and/or sketching. Sometimes even just list-making, how I love my lists. All of this feeds my creativity and inspiration for art projects. Sometimes this practice is as simple as sitting and reflecting on the day, resting my eyes gazing through the window, just being and breathing.
I’m admittedly much less intentional about a bedtime routine, though I do reluctantly peel myself away from my curiosities early enough to brush my teeth and prepare a large glass of water for the morning. We are night owls usually, though I do fall asleep much earlier than my husband most nights. Often with books and notes and tarot cards still strewn across the bed, and now with a kitten nestled up between my neck and the pillow.
You are an embroidery artist, music maker, & illustrator ~ how do you prepare yourself &/or your space to enter into this practice?
Depending on what type of project I am working on, I will prepare my work space accordingly. I like to stock up on my supplies and prepare them in batches, so when inspiration strikes I am prepared to give it expression.
So, some days I prepare my round, oak table (that I have learned and created upon all my life, a real treasure and companion!) by wiping it clean, preparing a glass of water and usually also tea, putting on some music or a podcast, and gathering my supplies. This includes preparing the embroidery hoops, setting them with fabric, sometimes drawing, taking stock of my thread, making lists and setting intentions. When I am ready to actually sew the hand embroideries, I like to set up on the couch or reading chair, surrounded by snacks, water and tea, the specific supplies for the project at hand, and I always stretch before sitting down to work, usually also with a favorite movie or podcast but when it’s actually quiet at the apartment complex I prefer to sit and work in silence, and listen to the small rustlings of the world around me.
As for music, this passion has absolutely no routine or structure, and it’s a problem! It used to be an impulsive emotional outlet, now I would like to cultivate more intention and structure around it. (If anyone reading has suggestions, please send them to me!)
What do you do/not do if you are feeling stuck around your work?
When I’m feeling stuck I step away. There is of course a time for “pushing through,” but I have really learned that this is not it, and I indulge in creating space and pause for things to emerge of their own accord, especially when it comes to inspiration.
I think everyone, regardless of their type of work or passions, knows well the raw and often uncomfortable feeling of the desire to express and create. And I think it’s easiest to get stuck actually when we feel this in abundance, though at the time it may feel like lack. So stepping away, putting away the supplies, going for a walk, just doing something else is always my solution for this, because the true desire is not going to go away, and it never comes out right when it's forced. This is really hard for me! But I always find it’s better to take the time that I can, before I feel like I’ve wasted time in the long run pushing through something that may have turned out better with more patience and space, or something that would be better expressed in a different form altogether (or not at all!). Sometimes this results in very long breaks with certain things, like music for me right now, and sometimes it’s a simple trick, just as soon as I step away the solution may be revealed and my passion renewed.
Do you have a movement practice?
I really try to infuse movement throughout my entire day, especially since I work from home and most of my work is so sedentary. So like I described above, I make sure to do some intentional movement a couple of times a day like stretching and exercises against my body weight, and some more rigorous “working out” at least a few times a month, but I especially indulge in and pay attention to the movement of the mundane daily rituals like laundry and regular upkeep. This is a real joy to me, infusing play into the monotonous and finding genuine fulfillment in the parts of life our culture tends to regard as boring, annoying, or even degrading. I find a lot of magic here. And since my husband also works from home, we usually do these things together throughout the day which makes them more enjoyable and gives us an opportunity to take a break from our personal work and move around, loosen up, and chat before getting back to our separate endeavors. It also keeps chores from piling up and keeps the (very tiny) apartment clean!
What does structure mean to you, or what is your philosophy around ritual/routine?
My philosophy around ritual, routine, and structure has been hard fought, is essential, and has been cultivated at sometimes great costs. But it has taught me the power of pause, of saying no, and what it means to truly say yes.
My favorite way to cultivate ritual, structure, and routine is through the simple and elegant infusion of essences into my water, much like the moment I put on perfume or choose a piece of jewelry. From this simple drop ripples out a vast and expansive philosophy that I would encourage anyone struggling with boundaries, structure, and support to explore. Structure and limits create the container within which we can experience freedom, without structure I feel at the mercy of my impulses or the waves of the world, which does not truly feel like freedom, and I find it to be physically painful. I think this lesson is at the heart of the “tortured artist” trope and is one of the many great paradoxes of being and self-discovery, and truly a lesson of our time. So I consider it a great privilege to have the opportunity to build and incorporate structure into my life and routines at the outset, as a way of setting an intention and creating the space within which creativity and freedom may flow. This is how I start my days, my projects, my cooking, my conversations, etc. and it helps me trust and indulge in spontaneity when the moment really calls for it, or when the waves of the world demand that I be flexible.
What are you listening to, reading, or watching these days?
Lately I’ve been listening to Mountain Man, an absolutely mesmerizing trio I’ve only recently discovered, as well as The Astrology Podcast and Fair Folk Podcast. Gregory Alan Isakov is an all-time favorite and go-to safe space of sound when I am in sensory overload.
Since the fall semester has ended (and I’m a history major, so it’s all reading and writing every day) I’ve taken a bit of a rebellious hiatus from reading anything at all besides the “writing on the wall” so to speak, though I have a few winter-break books I’m excited to start which are: Serving a Wired World: London’s Telecommunications Workers and the Making of an Information Capital by my uncle Katie Hindmarch-Watson, and Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games by Ian Bogost (how apropos!).
Any last words of wisdom?
Listen! Follow your light, weave the golden thread of your curiosity into your routines, listen to its whisper, trust that this is sacred especially when it’s silly, and even when it’s the only thread you’re hanging onto when it’s scary.
How can we find your work?
You can find my embroideries at thegoldenthreads.bigcartel.com
Newly emerging creative offerings at patreon.com/SadiesStitches
and follow my Instagram @sadiesstitches
Thank you so much, Sadie, for your beautiful work in this world & for sharing your rhythm devotion with us ~
I connect the flower essence of Sugar Snap Pea as a beautiful companion to Sadie Dearing & her work in the world.
I made my Sugar Snap Pea essence in a community garden in Raleigh, NC during a sunny afternoon on the 29th of April, 2018 while the full moon was in Scorpio.
Bountiful, delicate, graceful, nourishing Sugar Snap Pea. This beautiful essence fills us with the joy, ease, & sweetness of coming into being, that living can be. Sugar Snap Pea contains a wealth of both creative potential & of patience. There is a true sense of calm abundance in this plant which reminds us that at our very foundation, we are all creative beings, with the potential to create from within, & Sugar Snap Pea reminds us that this is true of everything under the sun. It helps us to know this & find comfort in this knowing. Sugar Snap Pea helps us to allow more of this ease into our lives by simply appreciating moments of inspiration & laughter, which makes it a wonderful ally for releasing rigidity or outworn constructs around creative rhythm & expression in all of its many forms.
Sugar Snap Pea is a nice essence for those who need to trust their own process of becoming, at whatever stage it may be in, from the most awkward to the most manifest. This essence helps us come to peace with ourselves & where we are at. This beautiful plant seems to defy gravity at times, with its little cloud like flowers floating in the garden, so it can also be helpful for people who tend to take things too seriously. Let this essence remind you that there is a great seriousness in play, that imagination is a key, & that there is wisdom in buoyancy. Sugar Snap Pea brings us into relationship with simplicity & helps to bring us into graceful movement in our lives & into collaborative, supportive community.
This essence reminds us that when we are rooted in the rhythm of ourselves, there is an effortlessness to what we are able to create, there is no need to force, & so we can adopt a light foot about our work. It helps us to gently climb up towards our sources of inspiration, dispersing blockages we have around receiving. Call on Sugar Snap Pea to nestle into the fertile nature of your inner landscape, & allow for life to unfurl within you, around you, & from you.
Find a bottle of Sugar Snap Pea essence for yourself or a loved one here ~