Josh at Little Deli (fabric, embroidery floss, buttons, lipstick, marker), a photo by Retreat Austin on Flickr.
I finally finished this project that I started almost two months ago at Stitch Lab. I got everything arranged on the kitchen wall yesterday morning, and I’ve been dying to show it off here – I just couldn’t figure out what to say about it. I keep putting on my blog voice, you know?
So… here’s why I want to share this piece with you:
1. I think it’s awesome. Yes, I am concerned about going a bit overboard about my little arts and crafts project, but c’mon – it’s awesome, right? :) I am not an artist, and this is the first project I’ve ever done like this. But Kat‘s class description sparked an idea, and I thought it would be a fun way to use my craft love in a new way. There is a poster in my living room which says, “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong” (Joseph Chilton Pearce). I referred to it constantly. The other day, when I was almost done with it, I was SO EXCITED about how it turned out (except for the lips, which is a whole other story). I started planning out the kitchen wall, and then the judgement snuck in. Should I really put this in the kitchen? Where everyone will see it? This is kind of stupid, right? So I thought, maybe I will hang it behind the bar, in the other room, where just about nobody ever goes. When my best friend came over for dinner on Saturday, though, I couldn’t resist getting it out. And she loved it! Her excitement gave me some courage, and onto the kitchen wall it went. Lessons: art doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re not the only judge of what looks good, and when in doubt, invite your friends over.
2. I got to make it with my mom (and some other fun girls over at Stitch Lab). Maybe I’ve mentioned this arts-in-community thing? Visits for my mom and I actually tend to include some kind of project – we’ve sewn a shopping bag at Christmas, built a hidden medicine cabinet when I was getting ready to sell my place in Chicago, made dishcloths during a fall visit (she crochets, I knit), put together our own “deluxe” pin cushions from fabric scraps (you can see a picture of mine – at least for now – on the home page for Retreat Austin). My mom is a whiz on the sewing machine, and she continues to amaze me with the power tools she’s able to master. So I learn a lot from her (and sometimes she learns from me), and the work feeds our relationship, and then of course, we usually end up with something tangible that’s pretty cool. This project was a bit of an accident – not sure I would have suggested that we sign up for the course together, but I’d already registered when she booked her trip, so I asked her if she wanted to come along. We had a great time in the studio, met some fun and interesting women in the class, and had something to work on for the two weeks she was visiting. I love this.
3. Courage. Do you mind if I digress for a moment?
(Sheesh, you’ve made it this far, right?) The other day, I was in a different sort of classroom, and we were asked (in groups) to make some posters to demonstrate an idea. Poster board, crayons, 15 minutes – we’ve all been there, right? Do you remember how scary the crayons are? When did this happen? Crayons used to be fun! Now, we’re eight people sitting in a circle, all of saying things like, “Well, what if we did something like this? Here, one of you guys draw it, I don’t want to mess it up.” Well, let me tell you, with my almost-finished embroidery-fabric-collage sitting on the kitchen table, I picked up those crayons. What if I do a terrible job? Who cares?!? The quote bears repeating: to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Use it as a mantra if you need to. It felt good to pick up the crayons and stop worrying about it.
4. Not that I really want to produce a how-to, but just in case you’re curious… it’s basically just fabric and medium-weight fusible web (WonderUnder). I photocopied and enlarged a photo, cut out the pieces to make a puzzle, and fused the fabric pieces to another (larger) piece of fabric. I dressed it up a little with embroidery, and the whole thing is mounted on a stretched canvas (which I found on a super deal at Jerry’s Artarama). Items I had to purchase: the canvas, 2 yards of the black fabric, WonderUnder, and some embroidery floss (I didn’t have any good hair colors) – everything else came from mine or somebody else’s stash of leftovers. Definitely under $15. Go take the class with Kat and have her show you how it’s done.
One more thing, and this is all for my mom, so she can see how it looks in the kitchen: