Saturday, June 1, 2013

may, a reflection

May has been a month of transformation.

As I find a few minutes today to plan June's direction, I want to pause and reflect on the lessons of the last month, and share them here -- for you, and for me. There's something about telling others something that helps me to tell myself the same thing!

The Power of The Written Word

At the beginning of the month, I wrote down several goals, the most tangible of which being "I want people to send me free fabric." I'm almost embarrassed to share such a shallow desire, but what I've found this month is that there are people -- fabric designers, sewing blogs, shops, quilting magazines -- who love nothing better than to send out fabric to anyone willing to sew with it.

So now I'm writing it all down -- no matter how crazy the goal seems!

The Importance of Staying True to One's Self

Last month, I made two quilts for charity auctions -- the events were within a week of each other, and the quilts each sold for the same amount. And yet, one of the quilts I felt so happy with, and the other gave me a sort of queasy feeling -- that though I was so happy to help a friend, I was making something against my own aesthetic.

I read Seth Godin's wonderful article about this -- pandering to other people's taste -- which gave me the words to describe that uneasiness. (The author descries pandering as "using your perception of your customer's wishes as an excuse to do work you're not proud of", stating that "merely giving the people what they want is a shortcut to banality, mediocrity and invisibility.")

Now, I feel much more comfortable saying no -- there simply isn't time to spend on work that doesn't make your heart sing. Someone else might find joy in doing those things that don't fit you. 

The Joy of Collaboration

On the other hand, I had such a wonderful experience working with my friend Leah on the Sunshine and Clouds quilt -- her vision for random colour was a creative challenge that pushed me to evaluate my colour choices more deeply. Similarly, working on the Solid Strings quilt, in preparation for another collaborative project, has been a lovely means of connection, and again, a challenge that expanded my usual tendencies.

The Need for Play

And between all of this work -- this sewing for others, with rules and deadlines -- I've found that I need to have hours off, simply to play with fifty shades of zipper. Otherwise, really, what's the point?


Anna said...

You have completed some amazing projects. I know what you mean about other people. I ow stick to making things I know I will enjoy making and working with people I like. Otherwise what is the point?

Gemma@prettybobbins said...

I'm popping over from fresh sewing day and so happy to have found your blog :) love your May projects and love your honesty about your goals :) I too want people to send me free fabric ;) I would love to become involved more professionally in this industry by working with fabric designers and fabric houses. Maybe I should set myself some tangible goals for June so I can focus. Thanks for sniping me! Looking forward to following your blog :)

Gemma@prettybobbins said...

And now I'm laughing because I realise I already happily follow you on Instagram! Lol I have such a disconnect between IG and blogs :/

Julie said...

Wonderful article on Seth's blog - thank you for linking to it!
You have great projects!!

Julie said...

I love this post. I totally agree with feeling yucky when making things you don't like, sewing is my love but at times it can drag if I am not into it. I like your zipper pouches too! I recently decided I needed more of those in my life and made four this month.

Allison said...

this is a very thought provoking post - thank you for sharing :) & I think the work you shared in the photos is quite lovely :)

Mandie Segura said...

Oh girl, this speaks to me. I feel like I'm beginning to see the light of day around here & want to set some goals for myself during this time. Thank you for writing about writing yours down! It's not a difficult thing to do, but by not just speaking or writing them, we often do ourselves such a disservice by not taking ourselves seriously. Or maybe that's just me. ;)
Anyway, I won't have room for all this fabric and for baby, so I want to get as much of it sewn up (and nicely so) before the little one appears. That's my first goal. Perhaps I need to get a tad more specific, right? :)

hear.t. and hue said...

over here from leahsunshine's ig! totally get what you wrote. completely. i've painted some custom things that i was not proud of - not because i didn't do my best, but because it 'wasn't me' & didn't represent my own individual artistic parameters. it is hard to say no... but have done it myself for this reason. great reminder! love your work & love the one you did for leah!