Friday, January 18, 2013



Today, and many days in the preceding weeks, have got me thinking about a few topics that seem to keep coming up: the relationship between failure and progress; the role of fantasy in creative life; challenging situations that are still completely worth it.

Failure and progress.

Today I sewed a zipper, and that's about all I did, and I feel pretty good about it nonetheless.  I pinned and sewed and ripped and re-pinned over and over again until finally, my waistband seams were meeting on the left and right and my dress zipped up in the back, just like it should.  Every time I had to rip the seams out and do it again, I had to take a second or two to be angry before trying again.  But then I would do it again, because even though I get frustrated, I wouldn't be happy with it in the end if I didn't.

And earlier this week, I made two different and very awful muslins of a skirt before figuring out what the design needed.  I walked away frustrated as shit when the second muslin in a row turned out ugly, and as I walked up the street to get a cup of coffee, I suddenly realized what needed to change.  I had to sacrifice an element of the design to keep the original intent, but then the skirt turned out exactly how I had envisioned it.

I've had this thought before - particularly as it relates to knitting, which is much more forgiving a medium than fabric - but this week I have felt it every day.  Failure can be constructive.  Failure means you've found out which direction not to go; failure means not accepting what is not good enough; failure speaks to the integrity of your creative vision.

At least, this is what I tell myself the seventh time I have to sew that $*##(@* @#*$ing zipper.


I have yarn and fabric dancing around in my head, yarn and fabric that have absolutely nothing to do with the fashion show.  Grey cashmere and black & white checked cotton and grass green tussah silk... frabjous day!  I am queuing projects like crazy, and taking stash pictures, and designing things in my head that can't possibly exist for months and months and months.  It's both deeply satisfying and frustrating as hell.

Challenges and worth.

Today I thought about my trip to Indonesia in any sort of depth for the first time in a long time.  I'm not sure I've talked about it before, but Bali was a difficult, exhausting trip.  I also had an amazing time.  I watched rain come in over the mountains and out to sea for hours.  I heard Sanskrit prayers projected off the next mountain in the middle of the night.  I rode on the back of a motorbike down rolling hills covered in banana trees.  I saw some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world.  I also left with a massive staph infection that took two months to recover from, that I still have scars from.

But in the end?  I am so, so glad that I went.  My world grew ten sizes bigger from that trip.

And so: the fashion show.  I doubt that the fashion show will leave scars - although I am pretty awesome at stabbing myself with pins! - but I have a feeling that after the daily struggles with stress and uncertainty have faded, my world will be a few sizes bigger.

And that can't be a bad thing.

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