My parents are the "Fletcher" in my name (as well as my boys') and the foundation on which my sense of family has been built. They are encouraging and supportive and so when I started taking ceramics classes a year (or two?) ago, my dad surprised me by making a custom clay tool. It stamps my initials into the soft clay on the bottom of my work. He is a woodworker but can really make anything he puts his mind to - he's pretty amazing. The stamp works beautifully. He modeled it after my own configuration of hand writing/carving of my initials, but these letter forms are pleasingly clean and simple - beautifully influenced by the materials used.
Dad's stamp also works well on other materials and so I can stamp lightly onto fabric and then stitch over it.
I am working through a stack of pieces - many started quite awhile ago. Some of them have become overwhelmed with my original intention of what I hoped for them to be or mean. When that happens I eventually put them aside and now there's a stack of them - looking all lonely. In the midst of normal family chaos of day to day life it is the meditative stitch that I so often need. So they won't all turn out to be what I originally intended because I am going to lighten their load of intention just a bit. In the end I think cloth just begs to be lived with and useful - part of a family.
If only just a sense of all that can be stitched into what I make then it will be enough. All the comforts, the calm and sometimes chaotic - past and present of home. It's all in there.