I’ve moved away from my quilting practice while much of my attention and time has been focused on building a studio out of my garage. Building, insulating, dry walling, cleaning, painting, carpentry, more cleaning, more painting, etching, more painting. Each day that I work on this mammoth project (and I acknowledge that it’s a small space, and that if you’ve done something like this before, or are a professional and do it every day, that it’s not “a big deal”),
I get to say,
“I’m closer to being done than ever before!”
and that’s a good feeling.
When my neighbor thinks the project should move faster, and comes over to help , and ignores my role and instead focuses on my husband’s tool collection (which is both of ours) I get really annoyed and territorial and then I don’t want to get help from anyone anymore. Lots of folks have offered to help, but this studio really does feel like something I am making myself and don’t really want too many hands in the pot stirring. There are lots of skills I’ve learned to make this studio construction happen, and lots I’ve relied upon others to do for me or near me or with me. There are skills I didn’t learn, and perhaps missed the opportunity for, but I’m not stressed about that. I still have time.
“In order to hear your calling and answer it, you must generously give yourself the gift of time. It’s not how fast you make your dreams come true but how steadily you pursue it.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
This is a reassuring quote, which allows me the grace to work on my many projects at the pace that works for me, relief from the outside pressures of timelines imposed or supposed by those around me. For my quilt studio construction, I have had the generous support of my parents who recently moved to town, who are a steady workforce presence, but never a pressure. I have also been supported by the patient and loving attention of my immediate family who haven’t once vocally expressed annoyance of not having a living room, of losing the garage space or of being requested for ladder support or lugging assistance.
My work at present is not measured by money or time, but by an inner feeling of accomplishment. I’m turning a fuzzy vision into a clear reality and through that process, growing and learning. I learn by doing much more than I learn by reading or watching. It took me some time to figure that out, but I’m guessing I’m not alone. In the study that came out recently about folks with business degrees getting less job placements than those with 5-year-old internship experiences, it seems that the business world values experience over book learning too.
I recently came home from the paint store where two different clerks asked about my project- they were genuinely interested, and glad to hear it was going well. One had advised me on a paint color choice and was happy to learn that I’d gone with the color he’d suggested. I promised pictures, sometime in the future. Again, I still have time. Once this project is done, my relationship with the local lumber store will shift. I won’t be going in weekly to get the next bit of supplies- I’ll find a fabric store again, and develop a connection with them. I am looking forward to that!
Taking my time in crafting my own cobbled together quilt studio out of my garage has been a generous gift. It’s been a gift to my family, that I choose to make my studio close to home so that the precious window between 2pm and 4 pm I can be available to my young adolescents. It’s been a gift to my pets that they have companionship during the day, though they primarily sleep through the opportunity for snuggles and pets, the midday walk has been vital for our aging dog and reassuring to the more nervous of the two felines. It’s been a gift to my parents, providing an opportunity for them to revive long ago skills of building and finishing a space, as well as an opportunity to work on a meaningful project side by side that wasn’t food or fitness based, yet still had active access points for all. Most of all, it’s been a gift to myself, in which I’ve been constantly learning. I challenged myself to research and ask questions, to approach and negotiate with officials and professionals, to figure out permits and licenses and rebates and grant supports.
In the midst of this, I’m not sure that I’ve heard my calling yet. I know that like to cut up beautiful fabric and sew it back together. I know that I enjoy showing others how I make my work. I know that if I keep making the work, it will keep improving and that I will continue to learn more about my form of expression and my aesthetic and/or voice will continue to emerge and be defined. The business side of it- the having people pay for the sewn together fabric or the showing how to do it- the quilts and the teaching side of things- I’m still figuring that part out. I know I do well at creating space for community, so perhaps simply starting by hosting sewing parties is the next best baby step for me to take. Have any idea for names? I seem to prefer alliteration because here’s the start of my list:
Sing & Sew
Sibling Sew (sew sisters/brothers)
Sirs who Sew (men especially encouraged)
Sip and Sew
Please add to the list by typing into the comments section below!