Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Saori Jacket

Everyone is creative. Its in our makeup. The difference between successful, creative people and everyone else is that the successful people “ship”, says Seth Godin. The Mother-Daughter jacket is now on its way to New Zealand. It is being featured in the 2011 Wheel Magazine, coming out in November. You can read about the Mother-Daughter jacket here.

Two handspun, handwoven jackets saori style

I submitted an article about the Mother-Daughter Jacket to Elizabeth Ashford for The Wheel back in June. She liked the article and wanted the jacket for a photo shoot. The problem was the jacket was at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks in “Magnus Opus — Hocus Pocus, magical works by the members of the Boundary Artisan Association.” The show is running until August 6. The solution was to create a second jacket — hand spun, handwoven and one of a kind design, Saori style — that could take the place of the Mother-Daughter Jacket in the Gallery Show. And ship the original jacket to New Zealand for a professional photo shoot, asap.

On June 6 Sarah and I began serious work at a second saori jacket. But we were also in the middle of planting our garden, finishing up lambing/kidding, and celebrating Sarah’s high school grad. Undaunted we each spun half the singles required for the jacket and then I plied the singles to make a consistent, hand spun 2 ply yarn in each of 3 colours. My choice for this jacket was Black, Red and Purple.

Like the first jacket, Sarah and I wove 4 panels of cloth, but with this jacket we increased the length of the panels to make a longer jacket. The beautiful concept of Saori weaving (pronounced “sorry”)  is that you make your garment out of the cloth you have creatively woven, you don’t weave to a pattern in order to have cloth to sew.

One panel of handwoven cloth from handspun merino-silk yarn

Yesterday the jacket was finished. Well, actually, I ran out of sewing thread and with a deadline to meet the jacket was “shipped”. So after August 6, the second jacket will get a pocket and a few more tailoring details. But for now it is done and on display at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks. The Mother-Daughter jacket is on its way by expedited parcel to New Zealand. Expected arrival next Tuesday.

Lessons about homesteading and self-sufficiency from this project:

Big jobs need to be broken down into smaller steps

When I thought at the beginning of June — I have to make another jacket from scratch and I only have a month — I was paralyzed. I hate deadlines. I hate stress. But when I broke it down to spinning the singles, plying the singles, warping the loom, weaving a panel, repeat. Sew the jacket. The job became do-able. And I was able to start.

4 panels of saori cloth before wet finishing

Are there projects that you want to do but you’re having trouble starting because the task seems too big. Can you break it down into smaller steps and get started on the first step today?

It helps to have a friend who shares your vision to work with you

Its a daunting task to work alone to do a huge job. I was blessed to have Sarah on-board, supporting my efforts and helping with the spinning, warping the looms and weaving a panel. Having a friend to encourage you in your efforts really helps the job go faster, and makes successful completion even sweeter.  Do you have a friend on board supporting you in your goals?

When unforseen circumstance show up — they always do — find a creative way around it.

When I ran out of thread before the jacket was finished, I switched to hand sewing.  I didn’t have enough thread to add the pocket or to make button holes.  Those details will be added once the Saori jacket returns from the art gallery show.  In the meantime, its finished adequately.  Sometimes you run out of materials, or money or time.  But that isn’t failure, necessarily.  There may be a creative way around the unexpected that will make your project successful, in spite of the difficulty.  Look for it.

Its important to do what you love because the end of a project may not be the end.

When I finished the Mother-Daughter jacket, with Sarah, I thought that that was the end.  It took us 15 months from start to actually complete the sewing.  In the process we learned a lot about creative weaving, enjoyed spinning together and made some great memories.  It was a bonus to receive recognition for our work.  Since the “Magnus Opus” show was coming up we entered the jacket as one of two Joybilee Farm pieces for the show.  It was convenient.

That the jacket received international recognition, meant more work to create a second jacket.  And we learned that we could produce under pressure, too.  It was good that the work was enjoyable to us.

Are you doing what you love?  If not, is there a step you can do today to bring you closer to your dream?

Big jobs can be accomplished in record time if you work on them everyday for a few minutes.

In the creation of both these jackets we never devoted a large blog of time to completion.   Instead we worked on the project in our spare time over a period of days and weeks.  We had pressing responsibilities, but by giving attention to the project a little bit everyday we were able to complete the task.

As you look at the big jobs on your list that you want to accomplish, don’t wait until you have a large block of free time to start.  We never get “free” time.  Begin today and do a bit every day and you will complete it.  A lot of big projects can be completed in a month if you work consistently every day.

What jobs have you been waiting to tackle until you had a big block of time?  Can you pick one job and begin it today?  How close would you come to your goal if you gave it 15 minutes every day for a month?

You don’t need to have fancy, expensive tools to succeed, simple tools and creativity will help you finish the job.

We finished our jackets with a spinning wheel, a simple rigid heddle loom and a basic sewing machine — no fancy stitches.  If you have two hands and a creative mind you can create beautiful things with simple tools.  Don’t let lack of tools hinder your creativity and satisfaction in the job.

Your hands and your mind are you — be yourself in your work.

Saori weaving is about creative expression, more than about knowledge and the skill of weaving.  Even “mistakes” are part of the design process.  I love that Saori is about human hands and human minds — over machined perfection.  There is soul in this kind of work that feeds me.
Sometimes when we approach a creative work we try to be something else, more like a machine, edging toward imitation and perfection.  But the quest to be like a machine stifles creativity and reduces clothing, or any human endeavor, to a mere commodity.

Don’t try to be like anyone else and don’t try to imitate machined perfection.  Be yourself as you approach your projects and you will thrive.   There is only one you — celebrate you in your work today.

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1 comment:

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