I’m going to wager a guess that everyone of you dear readers says at least a couple of times a day, “Is this the best use of my time?” (Especially when sitting for hours on social media…)
I have a large block of studio time available to me, with teaching venues completed for the year (except a last minute entry in Delaware in November) and my hope was to make wonderful use of this gift and produce some great new work. I also wanted to explore video options, play around with recording some of my lectures. I also wanted to rip the wallpaper off three rooms and redecorate. Ok, just writing this sentence is a prescription for failure, because I know that most of this isn’t going to happen.
In my wanderings recently, through my vast archives of old work, scraps, drawers of buttons, findings, frogs (the closure kind) trims and furs and I could go on and on, I am faced with the dilemma that realistically I’ll never make a dent, and is it really realistic to believe that I’m going to rework all that old stuff, the handwoven fabric is horribly undersett, and there are a number of pieces that had occasional threads of chenille that just worm right out of the surface, this of course was before we knew how problematic chenille can be if horribly undersett, and truth be told, the colors just aren’t that exciting, considering what I do now in my work and the gorgeous handwoven fabrics that are sitting in my closet waiting to be turned into “great new work”.
My guild has it’s annual show and sale in November. With no immediate income, I only get paid when I go teach at a venue and get a check at the end, there is the desire to maximize my earning capacity by heavily investing time in converting this lifetime of accumulation into work that I can offer cheap and move out. Many of the old actual garments aren’t salable because they fit no one. Smalls in the 1980’s would probably fit three adult females on the planet at this point, so putting them out with a price tag would be just silly. Not worth the ironing time. Cutting up the garments is a lot of work, and there is the dilemma, how much effort to I put into recycling work that is old, inferior and is that the best use of my time, to go backwards instead of forward, just for the sake of a few hundred dollars.
I wouldn’t really care so much if I wasn’t paying tuition and living expenses for my daughter, whom I adore of course and am committed to putting through college, and feel like I need to continue to produce something salable until the teaching starts up again. I gave up craft fairs, and churning out work on speculation, back in 1989, two months before the birth of my son, who is now almost 24. I swore I’d never sell another piece again. I was reminded this past weekend, of how much I don’t miss doing craft fairs, helping Peters Valley at their annual craft fair fundraising weekend. And I have absolutely no desire to go there again. And yet, I’ve spent most of the week with piles of scraps, and old work, recutting and restyling to produce a couple of garments that may or may not sell at the guild sale, and realistically how much could I get for them anyway.
Here is what I’ve got to show for a week’s worth of work…
I had a couple of these in the bin, the top half is mohair which sheds like crazy.
I deconstructed them, cutting off the bottoms and removing shoulder pads, and partial linings. I cut them up the center front.
I added fine linen front bands to make them a little wider, and bias trim. I added frogs for closures largely because I have a bin full in the attic.
I cut up an additional rayon, cotton and silk top version of the above batwing dress. I added silk noil accents.
And I made a vest from pieces of a mohair bias vest and skirt that again, would fit no one.
I’m going to stop for the day and head off to the kitchen to cook stuff, zucchini bread (Yep I’m still getting stuff from the garden), taboulleh, pickled cucumbers, and maybe coleslaw. My organic produce delivery was just full of cool stuff. I’m going to really think about how important recycling all this scrap is in the broader scheme of life, and if I decide to just move on and pay attention to where I’m going and not where I’ve been, do I really need to hold onto all these bins of old work and scraps. At what point do I just start heading to the dump?