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Friday, 9 September 2011

I Didn't Sign Up for This.

This summer while doing some hand embroidery on my landscapes, I pricked my finger and yelped, "owee!!!".  My 5 yr old daughter was wide-eyed and very concerned.  "I'm okay," I reassured her.  Then not a moment later it happened again with the BLUNT end of the needle.  "AAAAAH!".  I was okay, but she was not.  She had tears in her eyes and said, "Mama?  When I'm a grown up, I AM NOT signing up for sewing... EVER."  I giggled to myself and wondered where she got the notion of 'signing up' for things in life?  I can't say that I have ever planned my life.  My life just happens.  It unfolds and there I am making the most of it.  So I asked her what she would sign up for.  She said she would sign up for painting because she didn't think it would hurt.  lol

nearly finished spools of thread

I'm thinking about that viewpoint and giggling all over again.  You know, I didn't actually sign up for this.  It just happened.  It evolved (and is evolving still) out of a lifestyle and a passion for all things pretty: nature and color and texture.  I did sign up for the Saskatoon Quilters' Guild four years ago.  And now I'm signing up for an embroidery course.  When does it all end?  I've taught myself to knit and crochet.  You know I have a loom gathering dust in the basement!?  Oooh there's so many things I want to try.  Fibre is soooo diverse.

So I've made three lists.  The first is a list of everything I've accomplished.

- exhibitions
- commissions
- online store
- quilt entries
- photography competitions
- pattern writing
- selling art, patterns, kits, quilts
- magazine articles & features
- teaching
- guild memberships
- tutorials
- blogging
- public speaking

Then I made a second list which is everything I haven't tried yet, but would like to:

- teaching other topics
- weaving
- traditional embroidery
- redwork patterns
- photography book
- publishing my own fibre art book
- wearables
- really big and really small work
- learn traditional hand quilting
- dyeing
- having what I do in life help sustain me financially

From those 2 lists, I make a third list of where I'll go next.  It will combine attainable goals from the second list with the most worthwhile accomplishments from the first.  (I haven't done this yet).  I need to begin by looking at that first list and deciding what is not worth my time and energy to repeat.  What would you cross off your list?  Input should not quadruple the outcome.

What is really worth repeating?

BLOGGING.
Blogging has forced me to improve my camera skills.  Blogging has brought my dream to create out of the closet.  Blogging has helped me to overcome fears of rejection & all that other crappy self talk about not being good enough.  (Leah Day talks a lot about this and it's true!).  Blogging helps me to think before I speak. Blogging is a great form of networking.  It does take a lot of time, so I may become more intermittent in my posting

EXHIBITS.
Solo and group shows have been fabulous for me. Again, it has forced me to become public.  It really transformed me.  It was so good for my self esteem.  I love to watch people investigate my work in real life.  It's quite exhilarating.  It also puts more food on the table than Etsy does for me.

COMMISSIONS.
My favorite commissions were from Etsy.  Commissions become personal interactions between the art and the buyer.  They give me direction and lots to blog about.  My favorite commissions were reworking some of my favorite pieces.  I really excelled and learned from my mistakes.  Commissions also bring in other commissions.  It's all good.  I still don't trust life though, so I don't take any money up front.  Buyers pay only when they've approved the final result.  If I did take money up front, I would spend it on groceries and then what happens if my machine breaks down?  If the buyer doesn't want the piece in the end, that's okay.  There's always lots of people watching my blog as I create it, and I can always find a new home for it.
 
PUBLIC SPEAKING.
Did I say that!??  I'm surprised to admit that my most thoroughly rewarding accomplishment was the public speaking!  Do you remember how sick I was before hand?  Oh I was TERRIFIED.  Now I actually crave to do it again.  It was like blogging or exhibiting, but it was real time, and real life 'live in person'.  There's no editing so you need to be prepared.  It was so much more than putting up a pretty blogpost and then reading comments at the end of the day.  I stood there being looked at by so many people and as I spoke I could watch their expressions as instant feedback.  The hugs and the little reception afterwards was so gratifying and heartwarming.  It was complete life-path confirmation and big-time human acceptance.  I don't know if I'm making any sense, but that's the best way to describe it.

These are thought I have in mind as I move into September and into a new chapter of my life.  And so little Arwen, I didn't sign up for this!  lol  I guess you never know until you try.  As for those pricked fingers, I'm fine.  : )  No regrets.

~ Monika

11 comments:

Ellie said...

Wow, you have come a long way. And what is even better you really seem to enjoy it. That comes across in your blogs. Keep going!!

Grandma Coco said...

Great post. It's all a process....and a wonderful journey if we can just let it unfold.

Cheryl

Sheila said...

I really enjoyed this post Monika, you have accomplished so much and your goals are very achievable from your past history. I know that blogging for me has opened a whole new world and has for some strange reason given me confidence to do things I never would have even thought of doing before but you are right it takes a lot of time ;-0 Thanks for the inspiration ,love your work!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is my favorite part of every morning :)
Thank you.
Joyce

Becky said...

It's amazing how our lives unfold isn't it? Glad you're getting over your public speaking phobia!

Christie, Describe Happy said...

Great topics, and you are so right about not being able to guess what's coming or where you will be in 10/20/30 years. The journey is always so much more interesting, isn't it? Neat to hear about your experiences with the stuff you would repeat too!

Rebecca Mezoff said...

I also really enjoyed reading your progress as a fiber artist... and the things you have enjoyed and learned from--seem similar to my own experience. Thank you for sharing!

marycatharine said...

Those are really fascinating lists, I'm interested to see what that final list will look like.

Letterpress said...

Great post on stopping a moment in our headlong rush around our lives to take stock and breathe a bit. I should follow your example--so much I don't pay attention to!

And I loved the story about your daughter. Makes me think about other things I've sign up for, and didn't know I signed up for them!

Elizabeth E.
occasionalpiece.wordpress.com

Jackie said...

I love that post, it has inspired me to do a similar one in the very near future... what a great idea! I am going to sell, for the first time, my hand dyed fabric at our quilt show next weekend... and if all goes well, perhaps open an etsy store and try it.

elle said...

It is amazing how one thing leads on to the next and how the journey becomes excitng because one is never quite sure what is just around that corner. Good for you!

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