Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Women Supporting Women

It's a good thing and I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately - THANK YOU for the feedback on the About Myrna page. As Jean said in the comments, this format is fabulous for editing and fine tuning. In the past, I've written in the more serious, third person tone but I much prefer to talk to and share with readers rather than blab on about myself in some formal way. I'm glad it came across that way and please continue to let me know if you think I should change something or correct a spelling error.

All your help is an example of women helping women which is something I strongly believe in. Well... actually... I believe in helping each other and in particular in women helping women. The path would be less difficult for many of us if we would first be clear on what we want to do and then ask for help in accomplishing that goal. Getting clear can be difficult - LOL - ask me how I know - BUT... when you are clear... most people really do want to help.

I've been sewing for almost forty years. Over that time frame, I've met many women who sew but few who are as immersed as I am, women who sew as an art form. Whenever I came across a group of women like that who met regularly, I'd feel a touch of envy because a group of women meeting together is a powerful thing. They support and encourage each other. They inspire each other. They learn together. They hold accountable.

Often women who succeed in business or in the arts - whether it's writing a book or producing an exhibit or developing a product - are part of a group. Pamela Boucher Gilberd talked about that in her book The Eleven Commandments of Wildly Successful Women. She strongly advocates joining groups. And it's not that easy. There isn't always a group to join where you live on the topic you're wanting to join up on. That was certainly the case the first time I read the book.




From when I first started sewing until my mid twenties, my friend Caroline and I worked together sharing patterns, fabrics, and other supplies, taking workshops, and going on regular retreats. She moved 2,100 miles north of me in January 1987 and our weekly get togethers changed to a yearly get together which is wonderful but not the same.

From when Caroline moved until the fall of 2012, I was the only person in my area who loved fabric to the - eyes glazing over and rolling back in their heads - degree that I do. And then I met Patti and we've been getting together once a week for ten months so far and I can say that it was worth the wait. Our expertise is in different areas so we're not only inspiring each other, we're transferring skills and answering each other's questions on all sorts of levels, not just about art, because a group of this kind is really about supporting the whole person. It's such a gift.




Last night, we became a group of three. I've known Lorraine on an acquaintance level for a long time, somewhere in the ten to fifteen year range, and I knew that she knew how to sew but that was the extent of it. When we ran into each other a couple weeks ago at Fabricland, Lorraine shared that she was ready to get back into sewing on a deeper level and to make creativity more of a focus in her life. She said it was HER turn. She talked about ordering fabric and stencils from Marcy and paints from Maiwa.com and other areas she wanted to explore and it seemed like it would be a good match.

IMHO a group of this intimate nature has to grow organically. It's very difficult to just gather up a dozen creative, supportive, sharing friends in one fell swoop and make it work. Or maybe you can. But that's never worked for me. What I've found is that not trying too hard and being willing to open up when the right opportunity presents itself is a more positive way to go evolve.  But it's also slower. I waited twenty-five years and that can be hard when what you really want is a fabulous group just like those other fabulous groups you've glimpsed.




Trish Selmer is an internationally renowned painter and owner of the Chazou Gallery. She's what I refer to as a life-time artist. I met her in 2004 when she gave a lecture at the annual retreat of the Fibre Art Network on a life in the arts. She talked about the varied ways in which she'd worked over her extensive career as well as the mediums she'd worked in and the associations, groups, and entities - like the art gallery - that she'd helped to form. It was inspiring but what's absolutely wonderful about Trish is how willing she is to help. She's an amazingly supportive and caring woman.

The format of the gallery is unique to this region and I hear it's more typical of something you'd find in New York or Berlin. It's a lovely, open, bright space in a very VERY old building with a welcoming front porch, warm hardwood floors, and a comfortable sit down and stay sitting area. Yesterday, I took the little girl twirl coats and my note book and went to visit Trish and asked her to help me lay out a plan of action and find that first workshop. We talked for over three hours. It was fabulous and a wonderful thing happened.

I'll be teaching in the gallery on Saturday, November 9th. The exhibit at that time is Paper Works with pieces by artists from Canada, the United States, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands and I'll be teaching a course called Paper Expressions of Self which is a paper based series of exercises on working in your style and overcoming the three common fears of success, failure, and am I just a one shot wonder? We're still fine tuning the details and I'll post more when it's all in place. I'm VERY excited.




SO... with all that chatting and visiting and planning yesterday, I didn't get a lot of sewing done but enough to know that the Burda 9792 shirt pattern is going to work well for the leather jacket. The prototype is not completely finished. The cuffs are sewn on and hanging there. I'll finish them and then leave it because one thing I want to learn some time soon is about surface design on finished garments and this would be a perfect starting point. I'll wait to add the buttons after that when I see what works with whatever I do to the surface.

Today, I'm going to redraft the pattern into smaller parts adding princess seams front and back, a back yoke, a two part sleeve, a pocket, and a lining and then I'll figure out if I have enough leather or whether I'll need to order some. Lorraine has worked with leather before and looked at the coat I want to cut up. She said the less lovely areas look like it got quite wet and that washing leather is a way to distress it - which is - of course - interesting. I may throw the remnants in the wash and see what happens.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a group of three

14 comments:

  1. I am so happy that this opportunity is available to you. Your passion for creativity is rare and exciting. Finding like spirits is always a quest, no matter where you live. I am fortunate to have connected to a great group. In my professional life there are get-togethers of college friends, colleagues and mentors, but these are not the creative people who feed my soul. While your group is just starting, your passion will help fuel its direction. Best of luck!

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    1. I have never thought of any attribute of mine as rare and exciting but I must say I do like that description. You ARE fortunate to have a great group. I'm happy for you. I think it is easier to find like-minded professional groups than a like minded creative one even if the group includes artists in different mediums. All three of us are very excited about the possibilities going forward. And perhaps that's part of the magic - the timing is right.

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    1. Yes. Thank you. Prayers appreciated. It's a good beginning.

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  3. What great news! Congratulations. It sounds like a perfect fit for you.

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    1. I'm quite excited. When Trish said would you like to do something here - at the gallery - my immediate reaction was YES, of course, and then we figured out what would work and it does indeed feel like a fit. Trish is a wonderful person to have supporting you, very generous and caring.

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  4. I'm so happy for you and your group sounds like it will be wonderful!! Wish I could be a fly on the wall and absorb some of the creative energy that I know will be in the room!

    Hope the teaching is great for you - know it will be for the students, and I only wish I were one of them!!!

    All the best -
    Mari

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    1. Thank you. I wish you could be more than a fly on the wall. What fun that would be.

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  5. Wow! Congratulations! Such wonderful openings for you. Elle

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    1. Both the group and the teaching opportunity feel very supportive and encouraging. Steps in a positive direction. YES YES

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    2. YES YES indeed, Myrna! I'm so glad to hear about this...

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  6. I'm so happy for you on both fronts. Enjoy

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  7. Wonderful to see you going in this direction and I'm glad the well-meaning-but-unhelpful comments last week led to a positive outcome. Having a community is so wonderful for creativity— it inspires and challenges and gives you an audience. best of luck moving in this new direction!

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.