Friday, March 31, 2017

The Interval Between Open And Closed

We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity - Barbara De Angelis - - - To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else. - Bernadette Devlin - - - If you play it safe in life, you've decided that you don't want to grow anymore. - Shirley Hufstedler

Several days ago, I started rereading The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin which I always find inspirational.  One aspect of the book I especially enjoy are the quotes in the margins. Words work for me. I love the way quotes connect me to another person who, on some level, shares the experience that I am going through. In a strange way, it's both comforting and encouraging.





As a student, I naively believed that all I had to do was pick a path, walk it for life, and end up happily ever after. What I've learned with experience is that life is a journey and along its path are many doors, some of which are open and some of which are closed. And I've learned that the interval between doors opening and doors closing varies. It's not an immediate action that one door closes and another one opens although it is - I believe - an inevitable action. In between is patience and preparation.

In December, a door opened and I went back to work as a hairstylist. Yesterday, a door closed and I am no longer working. The match was perfect in every way but one and that one way turned out to be critical. I couldn't work the hours they'd hired me for and still maintain my top priority of my relationship with my husband and family.  Since the other employees were getting increasingly upset about my "preferential treatment" and since I wasn't looking for a career, it seemed best to take the stress off my employer, quit, close that door, and start walking toward whatever is next. For not having been there very long, it was more sad than I expected however, through the experience I learned that I am far more comfortable with myself, confident of my abilities, and outgoing than I once was. This is good.





On Tuesday night, a friend was over for coffee and we talked about the way I create. She sees it as intuitive and flowing, a kind of dance with the developing piece. And she believes she can't dance. I can relate because at one time I felt exactly the same way. I wanted a printed pattern with step-by-step instructions and a guaranteed outcome in the form of a successfully completed project.





My friend thinks I have some kind of magical talent that allows me to see possibilities in mundane, boring items and, again, I can relate to how she feels. While it's true that I can see possibilities, at one time I couldn't and while the skill has improved, I have several friends whose ability far exceeds mine. It's a treat for me to spend time shopping with them so I continue to learn to see potential and possibility.  It's a skill that grows with repetition.



The ebb and flow of my dance and the ability to see possibilities and potential is an ability I've been developing for the past twelve years since my Year of Play from September 2004 to September 2005. During that year, I worked every day in the studio and limited myself to what I already had. If there wasn't an immediate answer to the problem, I had to brainstorm until I found one. It was a year of concentrated and tremendous growth that taught me so much and even so, I still have to push myself in that direction. It's so much easier to hop in the car, run to the store, and buy a solution. 



Sometimes, the solution is not one I'd have chosen. The 100% cotton that is not actually one hundred percent cotton so the dye doesn't cover completely and the flecks of colour I'm left with are not my favourite colour and the only buttons that will go with are in that colour. And yet they work perfectly. Learning to embrace what I think I don't like has taught me tremendous lessons that extend far outside the studio and into every corner of life.





The purple buttons I preferred didn't work. The yellow buttons that worked were not in a colour I liked. Oh well. The cardigan wanted them. BUT... they didn't have a shank and the fabric is thick. A smaller button makes a shank. It a dance between problem and solution, between design and technique. It's so simple and yet, like all forms of dance, takes practice. The only way to learn how to do the work is by doing the work. Go into the studio. Work. Regularly.





I don't know when the next open door will appear along the path. I do know that while I'm waiting for it I'll be focusing on the priorities that I do know, one of which is preparing for possibilities by continuing to work with my coach - Diane - on the assignments she's given me and on my "dance steps".

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - winning a $40 gift certificate at Fabricland

20 comments:

  1. This is such an interesting post. I am an excellent seamstress but am working on stretching myself into a sewist (seamstress/artist). As you mentioned limiting oneself to what you already have in the stash is a route I'm currently using. It is fun and does produce creative solutions. Sorry your job didn't work but I was afraid that working on weekends would make your family life suffer. And family is a top priority IMHO! Karen

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    1. Another way I stretch myself is to look for answers in alternate locations. I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago - places like a hardware or kitchen store or the thrift shop. It grows that "seeing things differently" skill. - - - I agree that family is a top priority which makes this the second time I've "lost" a job I really enjoyed for that reason. I'll evaluate even more carefully in the future.

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  2. Excellent post, Myrna, with much to ponder. I was initially sorry to read that your job didn't work out--and then thought, "No worries, she'll take the next right step."

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    1. You're right. It will work out and something wonderful is just around the corner(s). I'm looking forward to exploring the assignments I have since they haven't gotten as much attention with being so busy. I like the way they stretch me and who knows where that may lead.

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  3. In a way, I'm not surprised that the job wasn't the right, long term fix. Somehow I didn't see that as something for you (even though I don't really know you!! It doesn't make sense!) But these things, as you've noted, can stretch us and push us, and those are positive skills that you get to keep!

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    1. Interesting that you didn't see me in that job. The job itself is really me - creative and one-on-one and fluid - but the hours were definitely not going to work. The most common question I'm getting is are you going to open your own salon? which I guess is one way that people see me. The answer is no.

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    2. No Salon Myrna? Chez Myrna?
      Love your jacket.
      Vancouver Barbara

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  4. Myrna, I can relate to this post in so many ways. I work full time at sometime I don't love, but I do know I am making a difference. In my private time I am a Pastel artist, usually concentrating on landscapes of the my region. Recently, someone asked me to step out of my comfort zone and do a pastel portrait of their beloved pet from a picture they had of her as a pup. I wasn't entirely sure I could do it, or would enjoy doing it, but not only did I enjoy the process, I discovered I have an ability to capture the look and personality of a pet. It has led to several more commissions and I am delighted. I almost turned down the project because it was so different, but it turned out so well!

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    1. Unfortunately, I did enjoy being a hairstylist however, that's the way things go. I just read about a scenario like yours in The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. Both are encouraging to at least entertain the possibility that X might actually be something I'd enjoy. YEAH you.

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  5. I love the finished (for now....) sweater! Perhaps some new direction is going to come out of the hair study and job - a bit soon to tell!

    ceci

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    1. Thanks. The sweater is done done. It's in the closet ready to wear... unless I find purple buttons I love. You could be right. It could be for now. It is too soon to tell what exactly but I an certain that something new and wonderful will come along.

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  6. How did you make the material for the button loops – it's a bit hard to tell from the photograph.
    And I hope you'll model the jacket for us sometime.
    Vancouver Barbara

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    1. I cut off the very edge piece and then zigzagged over it. I used the same edge on the button side of the front opening reapplying it in that case.

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  7. That's too bad the hairdressing didn't work out. Maybe someday the opportunity will be open again with hours more suitable to your schedule.

    Now about that sweater with its flecks of color that aren't your favorites. They aren't my favorites either, but yet I think they are right for this sweater. Sort of like using bits of an "ugly" color in a quilt - too much "pretty" can become blah. I never would have thought to use a small button as a shank for a larger one. If not yellow flecks, what color would you have preferred? I know you like to use lime for a contrast quite often.

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    1. The salon will call me back if something unexpected comes up and that might be something to consider but otherwise, I think this may be an idea that's past especially if new ideas open up.

      The yellow flecks are definitely right for the purple cardigan since yellow is the compliment of purple. Because the cardigan was labelled all cotton, I wasn't expecting flecks of a different colour - perhaps darker flecks - so the fact that those bits stayed yellow took the project away from monochromatic. Lime would have had a similar overtone to the yellow. A denim blue may have been nice. This is the interesting journey of refashioning. I'm not always sure where it might go and that's fun.

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  8. The asymmetry of the fronts and hems, the curves set against the straight of the center front, the pleat in the back, the touch of different texture around the collar and neck, the pop of yellow....I think this is my favorite thing that I have read about on your blog!!!! I can't wait to see what fun piece(s) you pair with it! I also love how you stuck with it and let the piece guide you. Sometimes it's hard to trust that the 'universe' is working for you...relax into the 'interval!'

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    1. LOL - I'm glad you love it so much. It was a fun piece to create and is quite practical so I imagine it'll get a lot of wear.

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  9. My hairstylist (I've known 35+ years!) sets his own hours and begins work at 6:00 a.m. I have a standing "visit" with him every four weeks at 6:30 a.m. If being a stylist is what you want to do, hang out your shingle and do it your way!

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    1. I did explore the options and talked them over with the lady I was working for. If I went to work for another salon, I'd have the same issue with hours. If I hung out my own shingle, even just renting a station, it would be 7-900 a month in rent, plus supplies, plus insurance. Considering that I'm new to town and do not have an established client base, it could take considerable time to break even never mind make a profit. When I look at the investment, and at my skills and abilities, and make it a yes or no question, it's a no answer. I could invest in other areas with equal satisfaction and potential. I love the idea that your stylist begins at six. I've always thought earlier would be better than later hours for many people.

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