Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Miles And Myrna Coat

What is your idea of you? Who is it that you have decided to become? If your greatest work of art is the life you live, and ultimately life is a creative act, what life will you choose to leave behind as your masterpiece?

I'm reading The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life Into a Work of Art by Erwin Raphael McManus. The author encourages each of us to reclaim our creative essence and to celebrate the spiritual process of self discovery. He's talking about the daily processes we go through and how to see them with increased enjoyment and richness. It's so easy to dismiss the repetitive things we do each day, or the things that we are good at doing, as of little importance because they are familiar or easy.





Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.


For years, I either lived in the future hoping for something that had not yet appeared or lived in the past regurgitating scenarios that could never be changed. What's past is past and there are no guarantees of what's to come. Life can change in a blink and the only real moment is now. Although it's important to have dreams and goals and things we're aiming toward, since that realization I've attempted to live more in the now.





One thing I can negate is my work. It's the accumulation of forty years of experience and rather than noting its failures, I need to not only celebrate forty years of learning and growing but also celebrate the quality of the work I produce. It was good for me to take the little girl coats to the Design Outside the Lines retreat and get the feedback of the other women. I worried that they might think I was showing off when really what I wanted was to share the kind of work I do. In the end, their words about how my work impacted them supported and encouraged me. I'm glad I took the pieces.





Miles Frode is an artist, poet, and Diane Ericson's son. The Miles and Myrna coat started with a piece of his painted canvas that was delightful to work with. Because of the child-like imagery, I decided to make one of the little girl twirl coats. My goal was to create a cohesive piece that pushed my skills in the area of painted details, collars, and closures which were my focus at this year's retreat.

There was a limited amount of the painted canvas - enough for the center fronts, center back, and the two sleeves. For the side front and side back pieces, I used stamps and pens to create another painted canvas that went with Miles' piece. I wanted not to match it but to compliment it.

I tried five or six different finishes for center front and in the end, it wanted a simple zipper. Because of the busyness and detail of the rest of the piece, the line of the cream zipper bordered by blue bias strips adds a resting space and leads the eye upward toward the face.

For the collar, I challenged myself to use a triangle shaped scrap of the canvas in order to get started and to avoid over-thinking which - LOL – I’m so very good at. I attached the collar four different ways until I was happy with this one and trialed three different edge finishes before deciding it needed finishing as opposed to raw or rolled edges to be cohesive. The bias trim around the collar connects it to the rest of the piece as does the turquoise top-stitching on the unpainted canvas.

I’m really pleased with this piece and it has generated a lot of ideas for Myrna size garments which, I think, is the great benefit of this way of playing.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - more comfort with painting and stamping

Happiness sneaks in through a door you didn't know you'd left open. 

- John Barrymore

14 comments:

  1. Myrna,
    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and insights. I often find inspiration from your writings/musings.
    The coat is gorgeous and I love hearing its evolution story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you're inspired by my writing. I hope to support and encourage through the blog.

      Delete
  2. I love the coat, it is a delight to look at!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It was really fun to make as well.

      Delete
  3. Such beautiful little coats you make! Your beautiful creations reminded me of another post I just saw:
    http://www.nancyzieman.com/blog/sewing-2/little-dresses-for-africa-sewing-hope-conference/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll check out the post. Thanks for leaving it.

      Delete
  4. The finished coat is just beautiful, and the art from both you and Miles is so joyful. And thanks, too, for the quote from Stevenson. I hadn't heard that one before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The quote should have said stars not starts. I've corrected it. It was challenging to start with someone else's art especially someone more carefree than me. A good stretch.

      Delete
  5. Your inventive collar is the perfect topping for this cute little arty coat. The fabric you painted is a nice compliment to Miles' painted canvas, and the turquoise touches give a cohesive finish. This garment makes me smile!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Limiting my options with the collar turned out to be helpful. I'd like to take that same idea in a slightly different direction. The turquoise was not my original choice. I'd taken a pair of black/cream plaid pants to cut up only another retreat member loved the pattern and tried them on and they fit her so - serendipity - the turquoise was substituted and I think it was actually better.

      Delete
  6. I love love love this coat!A true piece of art!...I look forward to seeing your myna size pieces :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your coat is an awesome piece of art. You are talented, creative and inspiring to others. It is a struggle to get out of your own way. I think that the retreat opened your door. Looking forward to seeing your creations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel that way too - that whatever needed to align aligned and I'm moving in new directions.

      Delete

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