Sunday, July 22, 2012

More on the Koos Bag and Thoughts on the Creative Process

Empty on the left, loaded with 6 lbs of canned food on the right.

First, I want to thank each of you for your comments on the Koos bag! It really was a fun project, thanks to all those rich home dec samples. I don't know if I've mentioned on the blog that I used to be an avid quilter. After my eldest was born, I made her a baby quilt and there was no turning back. I was obsessively into quilting for several years, until my kids started school, and my projects turned to Waldorf dolls, toys, and kids clothing and costumes.

But calling myself a "quilter" is a bit misleading, as I didn't actually quilt. I tried it once or twice, but didn't enjoy it, especially on the large bed quilts I usually made. What I loved was piecing. I typically sent my quilts out to be quilted, once I realized it was more pain than pleasure. Making the Koos bag brought back the fun of piecing.

Over on Pattern Review, someone asked me how the bag would look if it were carrying a substantial load. Being an obliging sort, I grabbed about 6 pounds of canned food and headed to my backyard. I found the loaded bag to be quite heavy, but tolerable when worn on my shoulder. The photos at the top of the post shows how it looks compared to an empty load.

I think it looks pretty good! It's certainly heavier than I'd ever want it to be.

I made a quick-ish project yesterday. I got all of it done in one day, except for the hem. I'll finish it up today, though I'm not sure if it will get blogged today or some day this week.

Thoughts on the Creative Process

There is something I've been musing about recently. It's that elusive mojo. For the first couple years after I returned to sewing, my mojo was firing on all cylinders. At the time my wardrobe was pretty dire, and there was lost time to make up. It was like uncorking champagne.

But this year, it's been a different story. My mojo comes and goes. Even when it's visiting, it often feels feeble. As a result, I've often found the hardest part of sewing recently is to make a decision on what to make!

I often feel very Hamlet-like in my indecision. I don't "need" much in my wardrobe, so I am sewing for the creative aspect, not because I have no clothes. I have fabric galore. I have patterns. I have ideas. But, still, it can be extremely difficult for me to land on a project. I've spent time musing about why this is and I think there are several things to consider:

  • I want the project to interest me. There needs to be some creative aspect that excites me.
  • Creative ideas don't fall out of the sky every day. Even when an idea does hit me, it may not work. Designers have lots of failures, that's part of the creative process. And, no doubt, the bigger the designer, the bigger the risk, and the greater the chance of failure. All I'm saying is that failure visits us all, whether we admit it publicly, or not. :)
  • As much as I want to, I can't force it. Whenever I try to force the process, I am not happy with the results. It feels labored.

I'm sure everyone is different, but my creative process tends to be:

  • Stroke my fabrics to see if any are speaking to me.
  • Look at patterns. Imagine different fabrics.
  • Look at RTW, mostly online. Look at catalogs, visit stores. (Though usually I am going through this process in the wee hours.)
  • Feel frustration. Repeat first three steps ad infinitum. Or at least for several hours.

Since most of my sewing occurs on the weekends, I like to have my weekend project decided on and ready to go by Friday night. The weekend tends to go better if I can hit the ground running in the morning. It doesn't always work, but that's the goal.

I'd be interested to hear more about your creative process. When you aren't sewing from a wardrobing need, what motivates you?