One of the reasons why I want to simplify fit is to maximize creativity. In reference to my art career, I refer to any format within which we can be creative as a blank canvas. Blank canvasses come in all sizes and shapes. A writer calls it the empty page. I want t-shirts and blouses, pants and jackets, skirts and dresses to be the blank canvasses within which I am creative with sewing.
With knitting, my current blank canvas is the scarf format which I chose because gauge is less relevant, because scarves don't need to be seamed or fitted and - for me - because I rarely wear them making practicality and wearability less important issues than meditative stitching and creative expression. That's freeing and there's something about less pressure that lets us risk and be more playful.
A scarf seems like a simple object and yet think about how many different scarves you know of. Within the structure of a scarf, with only square, triangle, or rectangle shapes, the possibilities are endless.
The silk scarf above is a gift from my friend Patti. Right now, Millicent is wearing it and I love looking at the richness of the color and stoking its silky surface every time I walk by. The design was created with stamps, resists, and overlapping dyes. It's a gorgeous gift and I will wear it but most likely not very often and that's okay. In fact, in terms of creativity, I think there's a tremendous amount to be gained by removing the to be worn by me parameter.
Another blank canvas for me is Simplicity 2745, a little girl's coat ranging from size 3 to 8. The one above was sewn for my friend's granddaughter and you can see how much she loves it. I've sewn this coat with the quilted (by me) fabric above, with bleached, dyed, and refashioned t-shirts, with a sweater knit, with a wool blend (twice), and I have some ideas floating around for creating another version with the remnants from the Koos skirt. In art, we call that working in series. Working in series stretches your creative abilities by building one idea on top of another which is why...
... I'm considering The Two Dozen Challenge by which I mean choosing twenty-four patterns to work with exclusively for a predetermined length of time. At first, I contemplated a dozen patterns and then started to panic that a dozen would not be enough although it would be especially as I'd allow myself to borrow design elements from the other patterns in my rather extensive collection because why reinvent the wheel BUT... if twenty-four makes me feel calmer, twenty-four is what it MIGHT be.
In essence, this challenge would be about working with a T & T and most of us have done that but what I'm thinking about is to having somewhere between 1 and 24 well fitted patterns and then using those exclusively to create variations on the theme and see what the experience teaches me and how much it develops my creative skills.
Knowing that all patterns develop from basic blocks, I have a sense of excitement around the possibilities inherent within the parameters of this challenge and within the blank canvass patterns that would be chosen. Experience tells me that even a bad choice could lead in amazing directions and even so, I've been contemplating this challenge for several months and I'm not quite ready to commit.
In the past, I have worked like this with textile art and it was highly beneficial, an experience worth modifying and repeating. For the first time since my return to fashion sewing, I think my sewing skills, my sense of adventure, my calmness of mind, and my awareness of my style are all reaching a place where a challenge such as this is actually possible, even desirable. I know for it to work, the possibilities of the patterns I choose need to truly seem endless. I'll be giving my studio a good cleaning some time soon and plan to go through the pattern stash then and evaluate the challenge further.
Have you done anything like this? If you could choose twenty-four patterns, what categories would you chose and how many patterns would you put in each category? Does a challenge like this interest you? Do you see it as limiting or limitless? While - as I said - I'm not ready to commit yet, I am giving it serious thought because many of the artists I admire work in this way and I believe it would take the focus off fit and put it on creativity where I really want it to be. What are your thoughts?
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - past experiences that can lead to future growth