Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Get Out Of Town

Quite a few years ago , I took a speakers workshop with Florence and Marita Littauer. It was fabulous. They have a duh, of course kind of way of pulling and presenting materials that once learned, transfers itself to many different tasks. I came away from the event energized and far more educated about myself. In particular, I thought I was already a pretty good speaker only, in reality, and in comparison to the skills of others in the workshop, I was just a beginner.

Two years ago, I went to the Design Outside the Lines workshop with Marcy Tilton and Diane Ericson. It was fabulous. These women understand the creative process and are able to share it in a yes, I can do that too kind of way. The workshop was full of women who love to do what I love to do which was an usual and delightful experience for me. I came away excited and enthused, ready to do the work. AND...

... I came away with the realization that I wasn't as creative as I thought I was. I've talked about this before, about how up until then I'd been head of the class and rarely exposed to people who were more creative than I am. It's a paradigm shift when that happens and I've thought about this a lot since and my conclusion is, it's good to be a beginner. I want more experiences like that because when I surround myself with the work of people who are more creative than I am and when I get the opportunity to spend time with people who excel at being creative, I am inspired to dig deeper within myself. I think that's an important realization when you've lived in the same small town for forty-four years. If you want to grow in new and different ways, you need to get out of town.  

And then there's balance, something we're always seeking and rarely sustain. When I apply the concept of balance to the creative process, there's something energizing, stretching, and challenging about taking my fashion sewing in new directions and there's something comforting and sustainable about directions already taken. While I enjoyed sewing the coat, I'm not sure the energy and intensity of working on a garment like that would be sustainable garment after garment. In fact, I don't think it is. I think it needs interruptions of the comforting kind like this skirt. It's Burda 8213 and was the source of the paisley knit scraps used in the coat. It's wonderfully comfortable, easy to wear, and has beautiful weight and drape even though it isn't the best of quality fabric. I bought it because it has a paisley print that I'm forever drawn to just as I am to this style of skirt and to black and to soft and to.... Knowing what we're drawn to is the counterpoint to what excites and challenges us. Both are important.

Recently, Howard and I were talking about bucket lists and the things we'd like to do. At the time, neither of us had a very long list and both of us had a mental list. I think I should starting writing things down. Since our talk, I've thought of other things that should be on the list, thing I've thought of off and on for years like taking a modeling class. When I started blogging is when I started to think about modeling classes which means almost ten years ago already. I'm extremely self conscious having my picture taken and would love to learn how to walk and hold myself and how to move freely and feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Sourcing this picture, I learned that older models are all the thing. You never know - LOL - perhaps I have another career ! ! !  Not really, I just think learning how to model would be fun and provide a confidence that would benefit me in so many ways. I'd also like...

... to have a really good make-over with an artist who knows what they're doing, someone who can not only look at my face and know the best way to show it to advantage but someone who can do that while keeping in mind my personality and how I want to project myself while pushing me to be a little bit more and - at the same time - teaching me those skills so I can duplicate the look. I don't want much do I... oh... and affordable would be nice too ! ! ! ! !

I think perhaps modeling and make-up might be attainable with another item(s) on my list - to visit the garment districts in San Francisco, New York, and Toronto. These seem like the kinds of places  outside of my little town where I could learn this skills and stretch and challenge and grow myself and at the same time learn more about who I am and what's important to me. That has been an interesting counter-balance to the challenge.

Each time I'm exposed to something new, I have to evaluate on some level how it relates to me and how I want to live my life. With sewing fashions, in the last few years I have seen some incredibly well sewn garments that challenge my technical skills and I've seen some fabulously creative garments that challenge my artistic skills and I've looked at garments I would actually wear and garments I'd enjoy the challenge of sewing but would never wear. Right now, I'm thinking about where those two meet and what that means to my 2014 goal.
What about you? Do you have a bucket list? Is it written down? Would you like to share anything from your list?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the challenge to grow, a love of learning


  1. "...more creative than me.....less creative than me....."

    i gotta say, when it gets down to it i don't even know what that type of talk means. I can understand people who are more in touch with the part of themselves that comes up with solutions they like, or admiring what other people do and wanting to make things like that or have that level of skill.

    But the ranking and comparison and competition - i don't get it. For me, i want to make things that work for me and for my life, and frankly i have yet to run across any designer's or sempstresses' work that fits the bill. So, whether or not i'm more or less 'creative' than anyone else makes no difference - i just need to come up with stuff that works for me, by hook or by crook ;)

    Drawing inspiration from, admiring, seeing a technique or colorway or detail i want to steal wholesale - oh yeah, i love it! Wanting to lean from, all the time. But for me the ranking part and competition doesn't make any sense, since we're not even working on the same project. Just my viewpoint. I completely agree about finding people who stretch and challenge you, it's wonderful!

    re: modeling. You might be interested if they have any classes on modeling for artists - could be more up your alley than 'fashion modeling' - but as you say, it depends on the teacher. :) have fun, steph

    1. It's just a way of saying that I recognize something in them that I want to grow in me. Positive comparison as opposed to negative. Inspiring as opposed to depressing. Not at all about competing but rather about improving on my base as in "admiring what other people do and wanting to make things like that or have that level of skill" just as you said.

      I'm not sure what modeling for artists is. I'll look into that but if it's what I think - sitting there while they draw me - no thanks. I'd just like to feel more comfortable in front of the camera... oh... and I need to add a really great haircut with a superb stylist to that list.

    2. Hi Myran! thank you for the clarification! it's kind of a pet peeve of mine as i notice the over-competitiveness on other places in the online sewing places and it really can be stultifying. Finding inspiration is just the bee's knees :)

      "...if it's what I think - sitting there while they draw me ..." Myrna, you crack me up. i can just see the class from your perspective: "okay, now first we'll sit motionless in a chair for an hour and a half, then a seven minute break, then two and a half hours in one single standing position....." heehee! artist's models have to generate a huge amount of poses that will look great in drawings, sculpture, oil, acrylic, and also photography. They may hold the same pose for months, or generate a new pose every 30 seconds for gesture drawing practice. Training would focus more on how to convey different concepts thru the body in a variety of media - not so much sitting still for long periods of time ;)

      Carrie's ideas are great! friends who have taken modeling courses haven't found then all that helpful, fwiw. Another idea could be taking a course on photographing people, if one's around.

      But in the end one way or the other you're gonna have to take lots of pics of yourself. Lots of people like remotes, i just set the camera up on the ironing board with the timer and go back and forth - it's only like 8 feet or something. You could get feedback from trusted people who aren't close thru an invite-only blog. Don't be afraid to use the flash, more light is better as otherwise details just fade into the shadows. You might also search for online photography blogs, there's a ton of them out there.

      Best of luck and have fun! steph

    3. Competing with yourself can be productive - as in improving on what you already know - but competing with someone else in subjection areas seems counter productive. Just do the work. Enjoy doing the work. Grow from doing the work. And take that growth forward.

      Don't laugh. The advertisement at our university for an artist model says must be able to hold a pose for long periods of time. It also says undraped. I don't think so - LOL

      A course might be worthless but then again it might be fun. I'll have to do some research and read some testimonials and see what I think. Perhaps it won't be a professional course but one that - say - an exmodel runs for this exact purpose. I could see that being of interest.

      I have a self timer. I dislike the running back and forth. I'd like to click, click, click while I move, move, move and see what comes of that. And then... I may hate it.. but it seems like something to try. Who knows.

      Thanks for the input.

  2. When you come to the garment district in TO - I would love to show you around :-) I'm not a bucket list kind of person. I'm impulsive.

    1. LOL - I can behave impulsively but I'm pretty sure no one would call me impulsive. It's definitely not a word that's come up often in relation to me. Emotional - yes ! ! ! Impulsive can be good. I wouldn't categorize myself as a bucket list kind of person either since I don't have anything written down and I'm - therefore - not actively checking off the list BUT... I do have these things that tickle and that's good.

      I am REALLY looking forward to touring Toronto with you. I think it's going to be very fun and hopefully sooner than later.

  3. Do you think you are at a place in your life where you could accept a look that someone else thought was beautiful for you, but one that you don't necessarily agree? I was just wondering because on "What Not to Wear" a LOT of women are really resistant to the clothes or haircut or makeup at first. All the best intentions for this happening for you. It would be exciting!

    1. What an interesting question. Yes. I think I could because nothing is set in stone with those make-overs and they give you a chance - with guidance - to express yourself in new ways plus that person sees you from a more unbiased way and that could be really valuable. I haven't watched a lot of What Not To Wear shows but Stacey is definitely able to take a reading on the person and I really enjoyed her last book so I'd be curious to see what she'd come up with. That said, I think I'd need a certain amount of trust in the person doing the makeover - such as I'd watched a show, read a book, or had a friend go through the experience. I've seen a lot of really bad make-overs as well so I can't see myself walking in off the street blind.

  4. I love the idea of a modeling course, as I also am totally camera shy. I'll be excited to see where you go with these ideas Myrna. I think when I stretch myself in one way, other parts of me try to catch up.

    1. It's good to know I'm not the only one. You always look so fabulous in your pictures I'd never have guessed. They aren't new ideas. I think they'll mostly sit there until there's an opportunity.

  5. I took modeling classes years ago while a student. While I did learn some about poise and walking & standing confidently, I really think you could learn that from a book. Unless a modeling school promises you will learn to be more confident in front of a camera, I'd not bother spending the money.

    Perhaps a session or two with an informal portrait photographer would be helpful. She could discuss with you what is most flattering given your face shape, coloring, eyes, etc. Some photographers are also advertising makeovers as an option as well. They want you to look awesome so that your portraits look awesome, and so you're willing to buy more and come back, refer friends, etc. Consider seeing what is available with the photographers in your town or a little farther out until you find one who's a good match.

    My bucket list... to enjoy where God has me each day.

    1. It's the poise and walking and standing confidently that I want to learn so that sounds great. A book can't give feedback nor take before and improving pictures to illustrate the difference so that I can learn to be confident in front of the camera by being in front of the camera. I think it's a combination of things because I've read several books and articles and they still don't tell me if I look as stupid as I'm feeling. I do think a remote on my camera would help because I could take a LOT of pictures and get some feedback that way. What I'm thinking of is not the forte of a photographer although there are several bloggers who would most likely be able to help significantly (based on their images) only they don't live here. AND... it would be fun and to me that's part of enjoying where God has me each day, living it fully, engaging, pushing the edges to learn all that I can learn, being the best me that he created, sharing that learning.

    2. Good input. I hope you can find a professional in your town to help you out. On the other hand, maybe it'd be cheaper to start with a remote for your camera and then ask us ladies in blog land for our input and see if that yields what you're after. Carrie

  6. Myrna,

    This is why I always read your blog first. You never fail to amaze me in your thirst for life, and many could take a lesson from you - myself included. Thank you for showing us it is never too late to learn.

    1. You're welcome. YES YES - there's so much to learn. I hope you'll do something exciting with that realization. Thanks for sharing.


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