Monday, November 5, 2012

The 68 LB. Challenge

My younger sister, who is notorious for her lack of clutter and views me a kind of a crazy ( though creative) hoarder, sent this video to me a few weeks ago.  I meant to share it much earlier, but I've found my time has been spread so thin for the past few months.  I've having a difficult time finding any balance.  I spent most of last Friday composing three new articles to go with my latest accepted work for Altered Couture, so the writing gears are a bit more oiled than they have been for a long time.  I'm attempting to keep the momentum going.

I've been reconstructing, salvaging and altering clothing since my many years in college.  At that time it was about poverty and making a statement more than anything. As I grew older and had a family, this " gift" extended into the sewing of Halloween costumes, baby clothes, and gifts for people.  But it wasn't until I was in my late 40's that all of the pieces fell into place and it became a mission.  I had recently given up my rented retail space when my mother was fighting cancer.  The economy had taken a dive, wall art wasn't selling, and my focus needed to be with my family.  I had begun dabbling with encaustic collage on canvas and had a number of images completed, but I needed to find a new way of marketing them.  I figured out how to scan and print these images onto muslin and began to combine them with salvaged trims and fabric to construct elegant little purses that I could lay out at home and carry with me to sew while I racked up air miles flying back and forth to Minnesota, or sat in hospital rooms.  It was therapeutic  to have something very tactile to keep my hands busy during such a stressful time.  I had accidentally stumbled onto a path that lead me directly to the place I was supposed to be a very long time ago.....wearable art.  Who knew!  Life is funny that way.  I was lamenting my poor education and career choices with my daughter on Saturday, while I was engineering the creation of a wearable soft sculpture snail shell for one of her girlfriend's birthday, ( I know that I'm supposed to be creating new work for the 3 shows coming up, but she presented me with a challenge I couldn't refuse!).  While I was studying graphic design and working in advertising, which I ALWAYS hated, I should have been studying how to drape fabric and make patterns.  Every day, now, I am excited about what I do.  I look forward to being stretched creatively, finding new ways to re-use discarded things.....I'm a bit obsessed.         It's staggering to consider that the average American casts off 68 pounds of clothing every year.  The purchasing of only previously owned clothing and up-cycling is a sensibility that is beginning to catch on, thankfully.  I'm delighted by the number of new books and publications I have run across recently that are dedicated to this movement.   It's more of a marathon than the path that I referred to earlier, though.  There are many of us who are physically running the race, but we would all run out of steam if it wasn't for all of the people who are inspired by us, cheering us on.   Thank you for your belief and your support.  Your voices help me know that I am finally moving in the right direction.