Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A stitch in time

Revamped lamp with twine-wound base and map lampshade

Peeling off the paper template for appliqued sketch book cover

The finished cover... inspired by Alabama Chanin's (far more amazing) work

One of a batch of hand-made recycled notebooks

This notebook cover has a little window

They are recycled from art-reference printouts, childrens story books, atlas pages, tracing paper and old schoolbooks among other things. And hand-bound with crochet thread. And there's a fair bit of sewn paper in there with the threads all left dangling.
Sometimes a fabulous thing happens and I find time to float off on waves of inspiration, and make and do things that make no economic or logical sense.

Other times another fabulous thing happens and I find time to calmly address undealt-with things that have been filed as too difficult or time-consuming or overwhelming to resolve. Often as I daily chip away at my 'urgent' list I'm also building little barriers in my brain. Things which need doing or resolving that I will possibly never tend to. These last few years as I've embarked on a bit of a rediscovery of my creative nature I've observed these patterns but I'm still a little clueless as to why the mental doors get shut on some things, when there is so much satisfaction in the unlatching.

For example the thread on my sewing machine kept tangling and it would jam up and refuse to sew. So I thought I'd have to get it serviced. My sister said that would probably cost at least $70 and she sent me a link to a brand new machine at Aldi for $99. So cheap! But I'm not a person who likes to chuck things away. I still feel guilty about throwing away my microwave a few months ago, while it still worked perfectly, tho I got it second hand in the 80s. So anyhow I just stopped sewing for a while. Then one day I suddenly found the focus & patience to give it a good looking at. I googled the problem, read a few forum comments and then dug out the manual. The last page had adequate instructions on how to clean & oil the machine. I didn't really imagine that I could make much of a difference to the serious problem I was experiencing but I committed to the process anyway, regardless of what the outcome might be. I had to overcome some mental barriers like the tools supplied didn't seem the right shape to easily carry out their purpose, and fear of losing parts or not being able to return parts to their previous position. But these were just little tests that faded to insignificance once I was empowered by each successful stage in the process.

I think I spent about an hour on the machine, increased my competence with it and knowledge of it's components and operation. Increased my mood and feeling of ability and control. Increased my bond with my trusty machine. And when I ran the first swatch of test fabric through it sewed like a dream.

I also hand-hemmed a pair of pants which I've had pinned for about 18 months. It took maybe 20 minutes. And now when I put the pants on my shoe doesn't get hooked in the pinned hem. I know, it's not Einstein's theory of relativity. But what the hell IS it?

Anyhow I'll get back to my inspired time-consuming craft creating, much dominated by the well-oiled stitching of my trusty Singer. The pictures tell the story - sewn paper, appliqued patterns and recycled things. Tactile, rife with tattered thread ends and rugged twines, details of maps and random sentences from children's stories. I'm loving these projects so much, and though making them to sell makes no economic sense, they are available in my little store in Huskisson.