Whether you've reached this blog willingly or by force I'm happy to have you here.
ersi marina's workroom is always open to the public, even when I am not in. Sometimes I need to sleep.
And to paint.
And to play with my four cats.
My name is Ersi Marina and I live in Spain though I was born and grew up in Athens, Greece. I kept it all very Mediterranean.
This blog is a means to share my work and snippets of my life, as well as to be in contact with you all. I hope you'll enjoy your visit.

Monday, 7 May 2012

the thread, the cloth and the myth

On 1 May Karen Ruane's 'Embroider, Embellish, Create' online course started. We had three tasks to complete and I was only able to finish one but Oh My! Did I enjoy it!

Sunday afternoon. I come home after nine days of almost complete dedication to the Exhibition Hall (yeap, opening again on weekends), feeling exhausted but also very eager to dive into my new project: assembling pieces of fabric to create a cloth for the course.

Tired as I was, it was harder for me to discern which fabric went well with what and it took me more than an hour to finally make a decision. In my fatigue-induced dreamlike state however, I also felt as if an inner force prompted me forward and helped me make choices. I happily let myself be guided by my subconscious. If things came out wrong, I could always blame it! I think they didn't go very wrong.

This is a 30 x 28 cms cloth made out of 5 different fabrics (cotton and linen) and 2 lace strips. The pieces are still held in place with pins and my next step will be to tack them and then proceed to join them either by sewing or by embroidering the edges together.

While I was at it I couldn't help thinking about the word 'cloth'. I have a thing for the etymology of words (their origin and the history of changes in their meaning over time) and it seemed to me that 'cloth' may come from a Greek root. Just like me. So this morning I looked it up in my Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto, published back in 1990 by Arcade Publishing, Inc. I bought this book in 1994, a full 18 years ago! But I'll leave the time-passing woes for another entry.

According to the dictionary, [...the history of the word 'cloth' is not known, beyond the fact that its immediate source is Germanic... The verb 'clothe' also goes back to Old English times, although it is not recorded before the 12th century.]

Now how can I not relate 'cloth' and 'clothe' to Clotho, one of the three Moirai or Moerae in Ancient Greek Mythology, also known as The Fates? The resemblance of the nouns cannot be a coincidence, especially if we consider that Clotho was The Spinner. She held in her hands the thread of life and while she did so, the human grew and became a part of society. Clotho was the eldest of the three Fates. Lachesis, the middle one, held a spindle and spun the yarn of life, deciding whether it would be a good and happy one or a life burdened with problems and anxieties. Finally Atropos, the youngest of the three, held a pair of scissors and cut the thread of life, thus deciding the moment of death.

Inmersed in my newly-found cloth-making endeavour, it felt so good to be part of such a long, ancient story, that wisely puts life in female hands. If you hop over to Karen's blog, you'll see that her way of relating to cloth and embroidery has a lot to do with this old tradition, that extends its threads to the present and our contemporary view on life.

I have other interesting things to blog about and I'll try to post a couple of entries more this week. New friends, new creative projects! Lachesis seems to have spun a good year for me!



  1. Beautiful fabrics made more beautiful by how you have placed them together, to me they have a historical / vintage feel to them..lovely, must check back in to see what more you do * x

  2. Hello and thanks! How lovely that you see my work this way. My ultimate goal, after I finish the course, is to be able to combine the vintage with the contemporary, the beauty of traditional embroidery with the fascination of de-construction. Too ambicious, probably. We'll see...

  3. Your block does have a lovely combination of new and vintage. I'm having a great time seeing what others are doing with this class.

    I love words, too, and frequently go off on tangents when a realization that a word may have an interesting history pops in my head. I agree that Clothos and cloth are too similar not to be related. Wonder about Atropos and atrophy...

    1. Of course! Atropos and atrophy are suspiciously similar too. I looked it up in several of my dictionaries (English and Greek) and only found that 'atrophy' comes from the Greek word 'trophee' (my spelling) that means food. So atrophy is the lack of food. The drug 'atropine' however does derive from Atropos!

  4. You look to be have great fun and stimulation from the course. Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. Replies
    1. Awe-inspiring too, isn't it? We work with threads and fabrics that come from such a long way back and still weave their way into the future. Thanks for dropping in, Karen.


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