Project Minima:

Sunday, December 23, 2018

What Works for Me and What Doesn't

I'd been thinking about doing a post on what didn't work in 2018, but it sounded so gloomy.  Then I read Catherine Daze' latest post and I was like, yeah, that's helpful.  I can get into that.

But first, here's...
  the Dress for the Season
~ image by Tom Chambers ~

 and now, here's...
  my illustrated take on:

How I Do What I Do, What Works for Me, 
and What Doesn't.

~ painting by Lori Field ~

Much of my sewing experience is directly related to my experience as an artist.  I use that as my paradigm for everything really.  My creative process I call it.

~ by Chili Jenson ~

  •  I can't push or force it.  If I try and bully it, things turn out all wrong, stilted, boring, trite, you name it.  

    ~ painting by Cassie Taggart ~

  • On the other hand, I can't just lay around waiting for a brilliant idea to bubble up either.  

~ painting by Joyce Ho ~

  • What I have to do is show up every day and be ready to go.  

~ image by Jenny Bowers ~

  • And take some kind of action toward sewing (or whatever the creative thing is). 

~ colored paper doll by Liat Yaniv ~

  • I do it without a plan, just starting somewhere, anywhere.  I might look at my Pinterest board, or pick out a fabric that calls my name, or a pattern.  I don't make a big deal about choosing the "perfect" any thing.  The important thing is to just start

~ Woman Sewing by Helen Chene ~

  • I remind myself to be patient (if I need to), that I have all the time I need to do what-ever needs to be done and there's no need to hurry for anything.

~ painting by Elena Papadimitrion ~

  • I pay attention to the "whispers" throughout the process.  If I don't, loss of integrity is the price I pay.   In other words, I try to catch myself doing anything by rote.  If I'm bored, it will be boring, etc.

~ painting by Mary Jane Ansell ~

  •  If I need a break, I take it.  As long, or as often, as needed.   How do I know I need a break?  I'm frustrated, confused and can't make decisions...

~ painting by Maria Kalman ~

    •  ...I've found that what's actually going on is:  I've stopped paying attention to the whispers, to my creative spirit, and I've started doing what I think I should be doing rather than what needs/wants to be happening.   And if I keep on going in that direction there will be hell to pay, I tell ya...

~ installation by Chihara Shiota ~

    • ...Actually, I just can't keep going on that way.  A cat nap to the rescue.

~ painting by Anna Afanasjava ~

  • Sewing with a plan does not work for me.  Whenever I've tried to make something to go with something I already have, it has never, ever worked out.  Never.  Whatever it is, it simply doesn't go with what I made it for.  It does, however, always go remarkably well with something else I have.  

~ painting by Alexander Sterzel ~

    • When I spontaneous buy fabric I luv, or make something I like, I miraculous find stuff to wear with it.  It seems like most of my stuff goes with most of my stuff.  Probably because I'm the one who liked it and made it from that creative space and not from any "shoulds."  In fact, it's during MeMadeMay that I find out how well my clothes combine in ways I hadn't realized before.

    ~ painting by kt small ~

    • Sewing according to a pre-scribed type, format or style doesn't work for me.  In fact, I can't stand it.  For me, it's too regimental and goes against my idea of creative processes. 

    ~ painting by Amy Blake ~

    • However, I do enjoy the benefits of being organized...  
      •  ...My fabric stash is in sight and arranged by type and then by color.  Most of the fabric is labeled with content, yardage and width.  It is listed similarly on a Pinterest board... 

    ~ photo of Dorthy Liebes, Textile Designer ~

      • ...My patterns are arranged by type in Clementine boxes on shelving units, while PDF patterns are in alpha order in 3-ring binders.  They are also listed by type and brand on Pinterest boards... 

      • ...I have Pinterest boards of clothes I've made, clothes I'm working on, my sewing queue, ideas for fabric I have, details to consider and more.  I find all this extremely helpful, especially in the just show up and take some kind of action phases.

    Okay then, that's all I can think of for now.  I've posted this so I can flip back here and remember when I'm in that 'spaced out, what am I doing' phase.  As much as I go through the process, I can be as unconscious as the best of them!

    I'd luv to hear how your method of sewing works for you - as everyone has their own way.  Thank goodness for that, eh?!

    I'm joining Patti and the Visibles at Not Dead Yet Style, and the others too, if they're on during the holiday season.

     Here's to a Glorious New Year!

    ~ image by Chen Yan Ying ~


    1. Thanks for sharing this, Pao. Your process reflects a lot of what I go through, not necessarily for sewing, but for any making project. Forcing myself always ends in disaster for me as well. If I'm getting too precious or stuck, I'll sometimes tell myself to wreck it, go ahead and ruin it, trash it, and it gives me the headspace to loosen up, which often saves the endangered project.

      Your selection of artworks here is stellar. There is so much talent in the world, it makes my head spin, in a good way.

      1. You've been a great role model for me to loosen up and just go for the ride. Sewing as if it's art is a new venture me (relatively speaking) and because of the technical aspects involved (having it be wearable) I sometimes find myself taking the road more traveled.

    2. Your thoughts on the artistic process really resonate with me as I spend much to much time overthinking projects instead of just getting on with them. Just love your clothes and vibe. Thank you so much and happy Christmas.

      1. Thanks for your good vibrations Anna and happy holidays to you too. Yea, for me it's that balancing act between not rushing to get done and paying attention to what's happening.

    3. I'm always happy to see how other women approach creativity and the creative act. I am similarly unable to plan ahead (unless I am sewing a requested item for someone else, which happens rarely). I am still a baby sewist--though I am an experienced potter and recognize many of your creative traits through that medium. With clay, I give myself time and permission to play and, when stuck, tell myself to make the ugliest thing I possibly can. Got to keep the hands moving (and usually the brain and inspiration catch up). It's like Picasso said, "Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."

      1. Exactly. And so succinct too. Being a baby at something can lead to good stuff in terms of creativity.

    4. Loved the illustrations, and the information about your creative process. I've been completely stuck lately, in writing, sewing, everything, so this is very inspiring. Wishing you good health, happiness and creative spark in 2019

      1. Yes, I certainly go through fallow periods. What does Julia Cameron in the Artist's Way call it? Filling the Well. The most I can do then is not beat myself up about it and realize it's just part of the deal. I still pay attention to whispers, see/ look at things and play (or experiment, fail, destroy stuff, whatever). Wishing you the same, Shelley.

    5. It all does work together, doesn't it? One project sometimes stumbles into the next one, the AHA moment comes in the midst of another. Fail more, fail better. And keep the fails so they can fertilize new things (after a discrete era of mourning, of course)
      Further! May we make brilliant mistakes in the years to come (and all the love to you and yours)

      1. Say it again, SJ and Cheer's to you and yours!

    6. I enjoyed reading this Pao. Some is similar to mine, some is not. I really hear you about not 'sewing with a plan'. The main joy for me is learning to follow inspiration when it does strike.

      1. Glad you enjoyed the read, Valerie. I think we all have our own twists and turns in the creative process. I felt I had to get my 2 cents in re all that "planned" sewing stuff that seems to dominate the bloghood at times. Yep, being there when inspiration strikes is the best.