Let the Learning Begin

Workshops.  Hmmmm.  

I am heading off to Oregon next week to spend almost a week working with Diane Ericson and Holly Badgely.  I have been wanting to do a "Design Outside the Lines" Retreat with Diane forever, or at least for as long as she has been doing them.  

One of the things that Diane suggested was to think about our 'intentions' for this time together.  How do I want to use this retreat time to further my design work?  It's an interesting question.  

I love learning new stuff and getting to spend time in other designers' heads.  Adding tools to my toolbox, getting immersed in inspiration...but I never seem to totally give myself over to the process.  I get myself all wound up in the product.  I put pressure on myself to make something, to finish it. Often I go home from a great workshop with a product that I don't like and consequently, I end up not doing anything with the technique or inspiration.

So, my 'intention' for my week in Ashland is to "be present in the process."  I want to forget that there might be a finished product at some point and simply spend time up to my ears in the process.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens.

OK, but...one of the things in the 'supply list' for the retreat, is "Dress to express yourself.  Wear your fun stuff!"  When I read that, first I got excited about the idea of wearing fun, creative clothes in a place where they would be understood and appreciated, but right behind that thought was total panic....Aaarrggg...I have to wear fun stuff!!!!!  

I started rummaging around to come up with my fun clothes.  Not the right season, can't paint in that, that's old, how many days am I going to be there?  Do I need something different everyday?  I better start making some stuff!!!  I pulled out the boxes and the patterns and started making piles.  Draping my dress from, making a shopping list for the 'fill in' bits and pieces to complete a garment or an outfit.  Making a list and a time line to get all these wonderfully creative, fun garments made in time for my trip.  I even figured that I could ship a box of stuff to the workshop so I wouldn't have to pack an extra suitcase...  

Isn't this the start of a really fun vest?

...and check this out...it will be a gorgeous top with the fun vest....

WHOA!  Wait a doggone minute!!!!  Wasn't my intention to "be present in the process?"  To see what happens?  To not be worrying about an outcome or a finished product?  I guess with any change of habit you have to expect a few falls off the wagon.

I put the boxes away, realizing that when I work I am most comfortable in something I can pull on and off dozens of times, something that sits and stands and sits and stands all day, something that feels soft and cozy, basically, my Smartwool pullovers and my fleece yoga pants!  Not particularly 'creative' or 'fun' but easy to pack, and comfy to work in.

When I took the pressure off myself to produce an entire week's worth of entertaining clothing I felt so much happier.  I realized that there was one tunic that I really would like to make and if it happened to turn out 'fun' it could make the trip to Oregon, if not, Smartwool and fleece would be perfect.

Here's the tunic.  It's a version of a Katherine Tilton pattern Vogue 8817 (see photo at the top of this page) that I have made before with mixed results.  When I made my trial balloon this time I decided on these changes:

  • move the bust line down an inch to get it in the same place as my bust line
  • taper the side seams from the underarm to the waist line to give more definition to my waist
  • when I cut the trial balloon I didn't have two full lengths of fabric so I 'cut off' the A-line shape of the side seams figuring I would add it back in the 'real' fabric version, nice surprise, I liked the cut off version better, so did that with side slits.
The main fabric is a soft, rayon jersey, the yoke and sleeves are a combination of stretch lace and two different cotton jerseys.  I added some lace patches to the main fabric for a bit of extra 'fun.' I layered tissue paper as a stabilizer, the main fabric,  and the lace patch.  I did a zig-zag stitch around the lace from the top, cut away the main fabric behind the lace and trimmed the lace on the top close to the stitching.  

As I pack my new fun tunic and my Smartwool, I am feeling more confident about my intention to 'be in the process.'  Realizing that I can be aware enough to 'pull myself back from the edge' is empowering.  This workshop is already teaching me new stuff.  I'll let you know what else I learn when I return from the Northwest, with or without a finished product!

No comments:

Post a Comment