Martha Beck’s Wayfinder book encourages us to find a metaphor to help with our Journey. Often answers can come in the form of a metaphor, or it can be a way of assisting us to focus our actions. I finally came up with a metaphor that I want to use in all areas that I am working to improve and change:
I have always done some form of stitching, since I was a kid. Remember when I told the story of wanting an Easy Bake Oven, and my mother absolutely refused, then taught me to use the real oven? I also wanted a mini kids’ sewing machine, and again she was horrified at the thought, and instead taught me to use her real sewing machine. I didn’t really sew that much as a kid. Mom sewed a lot of my clothes, but didn’t teach me how to do it. I was required to take Home Ec in high school and we had to use a pattern to sew a piece of clothing. I chose a simple pullover top with ¾ cuffed sleeves. I never tried to sew any clothing again. In my 20s I did some embroidery as a hobby, but when I started undergrad I didn’t have much spare time and I needed to spend most of my time working on my artwork or classwork. And preprinted embroidery kits weren’t very creative, or particularly appreciated as gifts, so I gave that up. During this time I designed an embroidery piece for my best friend, of Mark Knopfler’s guitar from the Dire Straits album cover Brothers in Arms and embroidered a few song lyrics from her favorite song on the album. That was pretty cool.
Occasionally I think about sewing clothing. I have followed many sewing blogs the past few years. A few months ago, Purl Soho shared what looked like a fairly easy pattern for a Boxy Tee in their newsletter, and I decided I would like to try to make one. Also, looking through past Martha Stewart Living magazines I ran across a blouse pattern they included, so I decided I would like to try to make one of those, too. In planning for these pieces, the metaphor of Stitching came to me.
In grad school, I incorporated stitching into some of my artwork. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Stitching along the line of a drawing did not work. But stitching pieces together did. I would like to explore stitching some more in my artwork.
The other two areas that I would like to work on are Fitness and Wordlessness. Stitching doesn’t really fit into fitness planning, but I can use stitching to shut down my Left Brain in my pursuit of Wordlessness.
These are my four main categories:
I also came up with some planning categories which I put into a table that I can print each week, to help plan out what I need to do:
For each task I will have planning to do, patterns to work out, testing to see what works and what doesn’t, putting things into production, finishing the details, and then showing my results.
So, at the beginning of this week, here is where I am:
When I took a couple days off during Spring Break, I put together the paper patterns for both shirts – the Purl Soho Boxy Tee, which I made using drawing paper taped together, and the MSL Blouse, which was printed and tiled/taped together.
This past weekend I pinned the Boxy Tee pattern pieces onto Muslin and cut them out.
I have been watching Project Runway on Hulu, some seasons that I missed. Currently I am watching Season 9, which I began watching when we canceled our cable. One of the designers explained about making a Muslin, and another explained about fabric ‘Grain’ so I have been looking these things up online. I now understand what fabric Grain is, and I am definitely making a Muslin first to test the pattern. I only had enough Muslin for the Boxy Tee and not the MSL Blouse, so that one is on hold.
I played with some art materials this weekend, watercolors and the rubber stamps that my best friend sent me. The previous week I prepped my new Moleskine journal with worksheets from Amy Tan’s Creative Life Handbook (see her blog, Amy Tangerine - there is a box to enter your name and email to get the free Creative Handbook). I printed stickers with the date and prepped every day for two weeks with two of the pages from Amy's Handbook. I began this past Sunday.
Every morning I am writing and sketching and scribbling down ideas. I’m not really sure what to do on the Journaling pages in between, but I’ll figure it out. I will be working on the pages for many days after. Maybe at the end of the two weeks I will still be going back to finish pages. But this is intended to be an intense two weeks of ideas and planning. I have been coasting for too long. Now with Steve in a new job and off night shift, I have no excuses for dragging my feet.
I found a 12 Minute Athlete workout that I like. I need to work out when I come home in the evenings. I walked on my lunch a bit last week – I need to get back to a daily walking habit. Even though I have to go outside to get to the grad side for walking, because the middle tower here is under construction for the summer.
I did manage to go back off sugar over the long weekend. I couldn’t find where I had written about trying to quit sugar on my blog – I will write a longer blog post about this issue later.
I have been spending more time in the body’s Relaxation Response. I started writing this blog post and veered off on a tangent, writing about this issue. That will be a separate blog post. I’m not sure if I want to write about it now or later. Because I think time spent in this state is causing things in my life to happen. I want to see if I can make more stuff happen. As Martha Beck says, “Replication, dammit! Replication!” Maybe I will wait and see if something kind of out of my own control happens. Then I will know I am onto something.
As I work through these issues, I will be posting my progress. Hopefully soon I will be in a different place (literally and metaphorically), living the creative life I have wanted for so long.