I've said it before - and you're probably tired of hearing it - and even so, here it is again. When I went to Design Outside The Lines workshop for the first time two years ago, one of the greatest take-aways was Diane and Marcy's teaching model and in particular the way their teaching is current and based on what they are doing in their studio rather than on a class outline they'd developed years ago and will be teaching years into the future. This is so radically different from any other workshop I've been to that it was a huge eye opener and took everything I loved about teaching and eliminated everything I hate about teaching and made the possibility of encouraging other's creativity in a similar format a completely doable dream - if and when the time is right.
But it's not just their teaching style. They have a fabulous business model. Both are very strong business women with long term, successful careers. They are not pushy. Their message is gentle, a here's what might be of use to you presentation, an invitation to participate, and a belief that not only will all that they want and need be provided but that all that I want and need will also be provided - if and when the time is right.
Their model is appealing and it's a learning curve. Subtly different. It can't be faked; it has to be sincere. It requires me to let go, to not hold tightly, to dream, to believe, and to start off in the direction of the dream without knowing the end and with complete confidence that if I'm taking a wrong turn the clarification I need will come. Of all the talks I went to at Sew Expo, the two I appreciated the most were Marcy & Katherine's and Diane's. I left one talk because I felt like I was being yelled at. The contrast is stark.
A few weeks ago, I shared my ah ha around groups, about how I'd longed to be part of a creativity group for years and years thinking that the group would somehow make me a better artist and that I wasn't as good of an artist as I could be because I lacked a group. Right. And then, I began to wonder why I believed that when I'm much more of a 1-1 person. That awareness - coupled with the frustration of trying to be a group of three last fall - had me questioning again what exactly do I want more of?
In January, I mentioned that I was reading Imagine Big by Terri Savelle Foy and that I'd created a dream book. It's only natural to wonder if you're writing down the wrong things and heading in the wrong direction but I knew I was meant to dream so I wrote them down and asked God to clarify and fine tune each dream as my knowledge and awareness grew. And he has. I've been writing down the clarifications and any comments that encourage the dream as they come up and I can clearly see that I am being guided especially in the area of creativity. One thing I want more of is interaction with creative woman at workshops and events such as Sew Expo. Another is healthy friendships with highly creative women who challenge my creativity and whose creativity I challenge.
It took years for me to realize that teaching as I used to is not the correct model for me any more and to be thankful that that opportunity ended. And then, it too a while longer to hone in on how I want to teach if I ever teach again and to realize it was an all or nothing proposition. I am not willing to compromise. If X is not possible, I won't settle for Y because the critical component would be missing. That's really good to know. I'm surprised at how calm I am with that awareness. It's entirely possible the dream may never happen but then again, it's also entirely possible that it will - if and when the time is right.
As I walked around the vendors booths at Sew Expo, I was both grateful that they existed so I could buy what I wanted to enhance my creativity and at the same time grateful to no longer be one of them, attempting to sustain my creative career by securing some piece of the pie. It was a huge awareness. If I'm ever again a vendor, it'll be a completely different scenario than the one I experienced in the past. It's another area I'm not willing to compromise in.
Which left me focusing on relationships. One of the delightful things for me at Sew Expo was all of you who stopped to introduce yourselves and let me know that you read the blog. THANK YOU so much. And - although it sounds like bragging - I really enjoyed wearing my coat on Friday and having people stop me and ask to take a picture or look at the details. I loved those interactions. They allowed me to share and encourage creativity and - as you know - sewing and encouraging individual creativity are my favourite subjects. I breathe in fabric.
One of the conversations I had was with Frank Rizzo, the new president and CEO of The McCall Pattern Company. We are SO LUCKY to have this man in charge. He brings a wealth of experience to the position and is not only competent, he is sincere in his desire to resolve and answer as many of our concerns as possible. I spent about a half hour talking with him, answering questions, and sharing my perspective and while he is in the unenviable position of trying to create a win-win between varying perspectives, I'm confident that he will arrive at the best answer possible. The company is listening. They are truly working on "it".
Knowing what you want doesn't mean you'll get it but the odds are higher if you're actually working on the details, walking in that direction, and doing the work. As I said yesterday, the key point I took away from Diane's talk was if you want something different, you need to do something different. For me that means more discipline in the direction of my goals - refashioning, surface design, piecing fabric from fabric, sewing creative everyday wearables, and writing a book. Will it take me somewhere? Who knows but it'll definitely help me to maximize and make the most of the creative gift I've been given. This is good. I'm at peace that all I need to do is all I can do and the rest will come together - if and when the time is right. I am preparing. More about that tomorrow. AND...
... I love how when we're truly committed, providence moves to enable. Gwen Spencer is co-teaching the Design Outside The Lines workshop in Oregon in June. Last year at Sew Expo, she wore this black and grey version of Marcy's Vogue 8876. When I sewed it a few weeks ago, I pulled up the pictures and looked at all her subtle and delightful details and said to myself research Gwen's work. On Thursday...
... when I visited Marcy's booth, I introduced myself to Gwen saying I'd be one of her students and then we drooled over the blue and green striped linen together agreeing that yes, it was an amazing fabric, a sleeper. When I bought three yards, Gwen decided to buy three as well and challenged me to sew something to wear to the workshop. WHAT FUN - so nerve-wrackingly perfect - BUT... hadn't I asked for friendships with creative women who would challenge me and isn't this the answer. YES YES ! ! ! !
On Friday, I went back and bought a green (not khaki) and blue linen to go with and a fuchsia one to act as an accent. They may or may not make it into the actual outfit but the night before, when I wasn't sleeping, I had been dreaming about...
... out of print McCall's 6396, a pattern I've wanted to sew for a while. If it muslins up okay, this could be the one to take forward in the linen. I love having an event or a challenge to sew for. This garment along with the Taos skirt and the Skylines top and the black and white knit dress that I mentioned yesterday will be one of the five garments I take to the workshop. LOL - that leaves only two left to figure out although everything - as always - is subject to change. It all depends on the muslin and the weather and the mood I'm in when I pack. Right now...
... I've unpicked the hem and taken off the collar and the sleeves from the black Vogue 8886 t-shirt I started just before I left and I'm ready to refashion it. I'm committed to adding at least one element of surface design.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - clarity