The Human Anatomy Collection  - Stitching Prayers for Health

The Human Anatomy Collection - Stitching Prayers for Health

The Human Anatomy Collection of needlepoint canvases was inspired by a conversation between myself and a living organ donor. She called me very shy and almost embarrassed about the "strangeness" of her custom needlepoint canvas request, an anatomical liver. She shared with me that she is a living organ donor, and donated 60% of her liver to her father in a life saving and life changing operation. I connected immediately to this story of bravery, of love, and of life, and immediately knew I had to paint this canvas. 

It's true, a human liver probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of custom needlepoint, or of needlepoint at all, but I leapt at the opportunity to design the canvas for her. I connected to her story right away, not as an organ donor, but as another daughter of a dad with a really tough medical experience. My dad had one of his kidneys removed a couple of years ago, and I remembered how stressful and scary his surgery day was. I remembered the anxiety, the fear, and the prayers, and the waiting. Oh, the WAITING! It was such a relief when he got out of surgery and I was finally able to speak to him. If she wanted a liver to stitch in celebration of her liver donation and her dad's recovery, surely I could design and stitch a kidney for my dad's recovery, too!

Once that idea struck, it snowballed. What about a heart? We've all known someone who has had a heart disease. A brain? I struggle with mental health, I've had family members with Alzheimer's and dementia - so of course we need a brain design! And Lungs! After the coronavirus pandemic, I'm sure we are all a little extra aware of our lungs! 

I thought about how stitching can be a meditative focus, a careful and repetitive process that can be infused with our prayers and our hopes and our wishes. I connected these anatomy canvas designs with the concept of a prayer shawl, a crocheted or knitted covering that is carefully prayed over with every loop and stitch and then gifted to the person who is prayed for. With the thought of healing prayers in mind, I designed these canvases. Perhaps they can be used as a tool to channel prayers for healing, prayers for longevity, or prayers of gratitude for a recovery.

My hope is that they resonate with everyone with a body - whether someone's loved one is going through a health struggle and they want to stitch something that brings comfort and peace, or for a healthcare professional as they work hard each day to save lives. Regardless of the who and the why, each stitch and design can be filled with the intention of love, healing, and gratitude for all of the hard work our bodies do for us. 



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