The Terror in Creating

The Terror in Creating

Terror.  That’s a word they never mentioned in art school.

Color theory, art history, figurative drawing, these were all pre-requisites; considered the very foundation of any good education in the arts.

Terror?  Fear? Not so much.  Neither of those words or any words like that, were ever uttered.

And yet… who doesn’t feel fear and even terror, at some point, when creating?

As children, we run headlong, without thinking, without concern, without fear, and we create.  Using mud and sand and sticks and our fingers. We don’t pause and reconsider.  We don’t think – but maybe this isn’t a good idea.  Yet somewhere along the way we learn to be fearful. We learn that being creative opens us up to criticism, anger, even rage and perhaps violence.  Suddenly what came naturally to all of us, no longer feels natural.  We tell ourselves that we aren’t “creative types”.  And yet, I would argue that we are born creative.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

Creating doesn’t have to be on paper, it can be an idea, a vision, a way of thinking.  Each of us has a unique mind, shaped by our experiences, our interactions, what we love, our passions, where we were born, the families we were born into, the land upon which we were raised.

So where does this terror come from?

Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear, fear, fear.  We are taught to be “sensible”.  We are taught to not “dream too big”. We are taught to not “waste time”.  We are taught that to create is a luxury.  But what if what we were taught is wrong?

Moving through fear, even terror is one of the most exhilarating, transcendent things I’ve ever experienced.  It is what connects me to other human beings. It is what connects me to my creativity.  It bonds, unites, and can bring me to my knees.  It’s what causes me to rediscover the unadulterated beauty and joy of my innocence, that exquisite time before I learned to feel fear.

If any of this resonates with you, consider enrolling in my new workshop: Finding Your Voice where we will use various prompts, words, exercises and even stitching to break though our fears and find ourselves in our work.

 

New Business Cards, New Stitch Along & An Artist’s Residency

New Business Cards, New Stitch Along & An Artist’s Residency

Have you been thinking about doing some Improvisational Stitching, but feel it’s a bit daunting?  Do you also LOVE Dorset Buttons and wonder how dorset buttons like the ones pictured below get made or if you know how to make one like this, do you wonder what you’ll do with it?

Well, in my upcoming Stitch Along, I’m combining these two ideas!  We will be thinking out of the box, applying elements of my improvisational stitching style with dorset buttons that are beyond wild.  So if you like this idea, sign up because there are still some spaces left.  AND I have thread and fabric kits made up, that you can purchase as well.

In other news… here are my new business cards and notecards just in time for my upcoming trip to France!

My new business cards and notecards!

I was awarded a 2-week artist’s residency at the Chateau d’Orquevaux, which is about 3 hours east of Paris and about 3 hours west of Basel, Switzerland. I have a vague memory of driving through Verdun heading south with my parents when I was in my early twenties, so I’m guessing I’ve been in this part of the world before, but that was a long time ago!  I’m very, very excited and will be taking my new piece that I’ve just begun working on and that I talked about in this video (which I made for my Patrons and is unlisted, but you can see it here!)

And here it is after I annotated and moved things around, sewed the left side piece down and took away the upper left bit, as it seemed unnecessary, at least for now.  This piece is BIG!  At least big for me.  It’s about 40″ x 52″.

Very exciting!!

This Just In: New Workshops for 2022!

This Just In: New Workshops for 2022!

A little humor first thing in the morning is like a little gift of joy.  So I was thrilled when my friend sent me this video.  Too funny and exactly the sort of thing my mother used to send to me.  She would have loved this.  This one’s for you Mom.  Please know this is silly and meant to be funny.  If you don’t find it so, move right along.

In other news, my new workshop line up for 2022 is up on my website!  If you’d like to take a look, click ‘here‘.  I’ve added a couple new workshops that also have both fabric kits AND thread kits that will be a lot of fun.  Both the Dorset Button Scissor Case and the Dorset Button Glasses Case workshops have both fabric and thread kits that can be purchased when signing up for the class.  These kits are only available to those who sign up for the workshop.

An Example of the Scissor Case Fabric kit

Another Fabric Kit for the Dorset Button Scissor Case Workshop.  Notice the little mirrors!

One more Scissor Case Fabric Kit

Scissor Case Thread Kit

And here are a couple of examples of the Dorset Button Glasses Case fabric kits, which include two different linens for the main case and the appliqued “wave”, a cotton lining and and a microfiber lining that is specifically for using with glasses, the wool for the shapes and a fleece interfacing.

Example of the Dorset Button Glasses Case Fabric Kit

Another Glasses Case Fabric Kit

And here are the threads for the Dorset Button Glasses Case. Aren’t they beautiful?!

And then there’s The Basics Workshop, which is really for those who are somewhat new to all of this.  We begin with the basics, literally.  We discuss needles and thread, thread weights, and the different types of fabrics one can stitch on. I’ve put together lots of really beautiful kits for that workshop, which has everything, literally everything that you will need for the workshop, including needles, the wool applique threads, embellishing threads in 8 wt, 5 wt, AND 3 wt as well as a skein of Stef Francis’ Texture Selection and so much more.  I also added lots of fun things to play with, ribbons, beads, different types of fabrics, dupioni silk, my own hand dyed silk velvet and other things in lots of different colorways!  Here are just a few of them.

The Basics Kit

The Basics Neutral

And finally I managed to make my favorite cookies: Ginger Cookies, not to be confused with Ginger Snaps.  These are chewy and fabulous.

Ginger Cookies, which everyone in my family said they didn’t care for, but I made them anyway and they all changed their minds!

Here’s to changing our minds, savoring new things and enjoying one another.

❤️

 

Controlling What You Can

Controlling What You Can

Today’s morning reading excerpt:

“While you don’t control external events, you retain the ability to decide how you respond to those events. You control what every external event means to you personally.”

The Daily Stoic

When we returned from Africa, I had a livestream scheduled for the next day and a Zoom meeting that couldn’t be rescheduled shortly after that.  As my computer had crashed and then been wiped out while in Africa, I really, really needed to get it working again or get a new computer, which is no small undertaking, especially if you’re someone like me who is basically computer illiterate and the very idea of migrating information leaves me in a cold sweat.  So I went to the nearest Apple store only to be told that basically I should hold on to the computer I had and try to migrate from my time machine. Only my time machine hadn’t backed up since last April.  WHAT????  I know, I know.  Evidently time machines need to be periodically checked to be sure they’ve backed up and do not always do so automatically.  News to me.  

So I went home and backed it up and then had endless problems resulting in tons of phone calls with various tech people, as well as realizing how much information I had lost, and then in the midst of all of this I was overcome with a combination panic attack, grief (my mother had just died) and despair; I went into our bathroom and sobbed.  To say I “cried” wouldn’t do it justice. It was more a cross between a howl and uncontrollable sobbing.

“While you don’t control external events, you retain the ability to decide how you respond to those events. You control what every external event means to you personally.”

And that was the thing. I was taking all of this personally. The computer, my mother, jet lag, grief, panic… All of it felt like an assault on me.  But it wasn’t personal. It was life. So I’m trying hard to remember that. It’s easy to remember when things are going along as I expect them to or when things happen that are unexpected, but are welcome events.  It’s much more challenging to remember when things happen that I don’t like or want.

And yet, here I am writing this post on my new laptop, which has taken some adjustments and came with it’s own set of challenges, typing away!

I’m teaching my last workshop, Improvisational Stitching, of the year and am making new Youtube stitching videos and am getting back to creating and incorporating my travels into my latest piece. I can feel my energy returning little by little.

As long as I don’t take things personally, I’ve got this.

Oh, and look!!! Remember I said I so regretted not purchasing some Kuba bark cloth while in Africa, but that I remembered there was a guy who sells African fabrics on the street?  Well over the weekend, I found him and here are the pieces I got from him.  This first was badly damaged, but I was able to repair it and even figured out and copied the stitch originally used to stitch the seams together.

Bark Cloth From The Democratic Republic of Congo

And look at this one!!  I just love the colors, all natural dyes, made in The DRC.

Kuba Cloth

And finally this one, which is by far the most typical, from what I’ve seen.

Hand Stitched Kuba Cloth made from raffia, hand dyed and sewn from the Democratic Republic of Congo

And here is my improvisational stitching piece where I’ve begun incorporating some of the things I saw and loved while in Africa using Pat Pauly hand dyed linen.

African Inspired

Working & a Working Studio

Working & a Working Studio

Wait, what???

I know, I know. You’re wondering if you stumbled upon the wrong blog. You’re thinking – what has she done? Where are all her beautiful threads that I so covet? What’s going on around here?

Never fear. My threads, and everything else hand stitching related, are all, somewhat, neatly stacked on the floor out of view and then not so neatly shoved into various corners, like just to the left of my sewing machine.

It kind of reminds me of Santorini where there’s one view that one can capture by photograph that is exquisite and magical and just beyond beautiful, like a fairy tale, really.

But then, if you turn just a little, you get a very different view where things aren’t quite so glistening and white, there’s garbage, the houses aren’t all pristine, and the land isn’t landscaped, but rugged and without flowers.

That’s what my studio looks like right now. There’s only one shot where everything is neat and tidy. Everything else is pretty haphazard.

The reason for all of this is that I’m taking a 2-day workshop with my friend, Pat Pauly, who is fabulous and a really wonderful teacher! I’m not much of a quilter, so this is definitely a stretch for me, but I love her work and she’s pretty terrific, so here I am, preparing for her workshop, which will begin in just a couple of hours.

Pat Pauly is also the one who sent me this piece of linen, which I’m working away on…

Wish me luck!

❤️