Monday, September 12, 2011

Unconventional



This piece is called Unconventional. It is hand embroidery on watercolored fabric. It is sort of a metaphor for my journey the last few years. The gentle balance between being a conformist and being myself. Taking a leap of faith and hoping that the universe will let me know which road to follow and realizing that as long as I am doing the best I can at everything, I can be both at the same time.

If you've read my blog for the past few years you probably know that I was struggling with the jack of all trades master at none metaphor. I wanted to be all things to all people in both my life and my work. In the end trying to be that way means you aren't really doing your best at anything. Yes there were moments of inspiration and brilliance but there were also a lack of detail and a scatteredness that wasn't serving me very well.

That started to change early last year when I stopped talking and started listening. Kathy my wonderful friend from the Katbird Shop talked about my little hand embroidered ornaments and said they were little pieces of walkable art. That made a profound difference in the way I looked at those little pieces of walkable art, I started to look at them in much the same way people who purchase them do. They are little pieces of beautiful embroidered art. When I watch instead of speak I can see people gently putting their fingers on the texture, or commenting on the amount of detail in them or trying to decide which one speaks to them the most. I learned a valuable lesson, that care and detail do matter even in the littlest things.

Kathy also told me that when people look at my embroidery they often say how does she do that, when they looked at my purses, they admired them but often wondered out loud whether it was something they can do themselves(and for the most part they probably could). That was a very instrumental statement in my decision to limit myself and focus on just what I did best.

So onward I went and got the same warm feeling from the ornaments that I did from my hands. Just embroidery. It's easy to just sit and embroider and the health and mental benefits from just focusing and meditating on stitch after stitch made it such an easy decision. I can escape from just about anything and put myself in a peaceful open piece of mind.

Of course I love variety so I again took a leap and started making pieces I was not sure I could make. I thought making a bird had to be beautifully accurate, the only problem with that is only god can make birds beautifully accurate and even then there are millions of beautifully accurate birds to choose from. Mastery is a wonderful goal, perfection is a journey that most people can never make.

And then we come to the reason for this post today, the Albany Shaker craft show this weekend. So many of my questions were answered, not necessarily by money, but by listening to the comments, watching the way they treat the small ornaments, and being overwhelmed by the comments that answered all my questions. And I know that I am on the right road, perhaps the road less traveled. The gentle balance between crafter and artist. I don't need to be all things to all people in my work. I can just do what I love and hope it brings something wonderful to whomever sees it. Whether reminding them of their grandmother, being able to bring home something a little special or marveling at just how many stitches are in the world as I see it(I will share that very soon).

And then alas after every question was answered about my direction, Patty a wonderful lady I know at Albany Shaker told me my blog was inspirational. I didn't really think of it that way and I've always thought perhaps I go a little overboard when I share how I really feel. But there it was once again from the universe, be who you are no matter what. Live, laugh, love and embroider. Be happy, be peaceful and share that in any way you can. Blessings to you all(sorry for writing a magazine article). Keep stitching.

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