Before leaving for the Design Outside the Lines retreat, I worked on what I called The Outfit Project. This project was one way for me to fully lean into the experience of the workshop, enjoying it on a new level by completing one - both emotionally and physically comfortable - outfit for each day complete with accessories.
In the past, I've worked on other long-term projects like The Year of Play and The Handbag Project and have always enjoyed the way the open boundaries of the subject matter led to deeper creativity. The first retreat I attended was in 2012 and in the time since, I've been exploring clothing and creativity in ever changing ways. I never want that to get stale. I always want to enjoy fabric, to enjoy creating, and togrow more.
All but two of the retreats I've attended have been held in Ashland, Oregon. Along with Diane's inspiring creativity, the town has become a special place for me. One of my favourite activities is to just sit quietly by the lower pond in Lithia Park and think about what I'm taking home with me from experience, from the retreat. Change.
As many of you know, I journal every day and shred my journal entries. I'm not interested in holding onto whatever was poured out on those pages whether it's dumping or celebration. I'm interested in moving forward. My home is very much the same way. The decor is warm and it's also minimalist. I have few pictures or decor items and the ones I have have meaning. The space with the most ingredients is the studio and I sift, sort, clean, and clear it at least three times a year to make sure that I'm keeping the flow of creativity open by moving along what is no longer useful and making space for what is coming.
This is my third blog, fourth if you count the time in 2012 when I deleted all the previous entries and started over. That's my nature; I'm not a keeper. However while "shredding" the blog was completely consistent with my personality, it was not too popular with readers and that awareness has caused some difficulty recently. I've felt like the inability to be who I am in terms of shredding has been holding me back from a direction I want to move in. And that's the change I thought about sitting in the park by the pond.
SO... the announcement is that I'm taking a two month blogging break while I start a new blog, get the format established, and learn some new photo editing software. The new blog is started but right now I'm still figuring out themes and settings and so it's currently not open to the public. I'll post a link here when it is open which will be at the beginning of June. One of...
... the changes that will show up is less finished projects. I want to explore samples and detail ideas differently. Like taste tests. To see if I like this or that way of creating in general and this or that way of creating - like a pocket or a buttonhole - in particular. Both creatively and emotionally, I need that "out with the old and in with the new" change in order to have enough energy to continue blogging. I'm not saying that the posts at this site won't eventually be deleted but not for now.
This next project I'm working on is called The Year of 52 Weeks. At first, I wanted to create a jewelry piece a week and then I wanted to create a jewelry piece and a sewing sample a week and then I realized that instead of an open boundary, a list of must do things would be too restrictive a goal. So now it's more simple. I want to explore something new every week, make parts, and see when and where and how they might show up in either the creative clothing or the accessories that I love to make.
Ideas like these knot beads are examples of the things I might explore. I rolled the beads at my friend Sheri's while I was in Eugene and when I came home, I wrapped them with metallic thread. I like the way they look with the variegated thread and the touch of gold however...
... one of the questions I will be asking when I try something new is - is there ENOUGH here for me to be able to manage both the positive and the negative aspects of the work. Everything has a flip side. Every thing you enjoy has some aspect you don't enjoy. When I was creating textile art, I loved using intense thread work to define my pieces and I loved it enough to endure the hours and hours it took to apply.
I'm organizing the studio and this week's curious what if was to see how many parts and pieces I could make from the fuchsia dupioni silk scraps I'd saved from The Outfit Project. To start, I cut 1/2" strips that were either 20" long, 15" long, or 12" long. From the 20" strips, I rolled 54 knot buttons. Not including cutting the strips, that took an hour. Selling pieces is no where near the top of my to do list but if it was, this would be important information.
With the 12" strips, I cut them in half and rolled them around 1/2" long sections of 1/4" plastic tubing to create 156 tube beads in total. This took about four hours, again not including cutting the strips and this is only the first stage. They still need further embellishment.
Each bead is rolled and glued and since dupioni silk frays so easily, I often had threads stuck to my fingertips. I don't like glue. I don't like messy fingers. I don't messy work stations. That's far more negative than positive and what will I do with 156 fuchsia tube beads? That's another curious question but the take away is that it's unlikely I'll make tube beads in this quantity again and if so, definitely not out of dupioni silk.
That "taste test" revealed a way that I'd rather not spend my creative time unless I come up with some absolutely amazing thing to do with them that would make it worth the work. Knowing what we don't want to do is just as valuable as knowing what we do.
In the scrap pile were the two blouses I'd sewed and discarded because the fit and feel weren't right. I cut off the armhole and neck bindings. I'm trying to utilize as much of the pile as possible and zigzagging over these could make interesting tie parts or even purse handles. The knot bead on the left is rolled from the tightly woven selvage and the knot bead on the right is rolled from the opposite - less tight - selvage. This picture is much friendlier to the left one than reality. To me...
... the tightly woven beads failed to fulfill the potential of the beautiful selvage so I unrolled them and put the selvage in with my other trims. Diane refers to the bits and pieces she makes as The Parts Department. Now that mine is expanding, I'll need to learn how to organize it. I've asked her for advice.
When I retired from traditional quilt making, I took up knitting. When I retired from textile art, I learned how to sew bras and jeans, how to design and alter patterns, how to fit my body, and then... the stage I'm in now... how to sew everyday creative clothing. Each overall goal is composed of smaller ones.
The Year of 52 Weeks has within it smaller goals to explore things like welt pockets, inseam buttons, seaming details, working with resin, other forms of wire weaving, figuring out which scraps are useful and for what and which are not useful and what to do with them... and so much more... BUT... in a simple sentence... The Year of 52 Weeks is about trying one new thing each week for a year starting on my birthday in early June. I hope you'll join me both by reading the new blog, by sharing the creative conversation, and by considering a one year project of your own. What would you like to explore? How can you state that in a simple sentence? When will you start?
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - for all of you who share my creative journey. I appreciate you.