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Conflict Resolution

03/17/2007
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Soup and Salad Special
Soup and Salad Special

I’m sure every crafter has heard it before: the rough equivalent of “Oh wow, you make that? I could never do anything like that.” I’m not sure if it irks every crafter to hear this as much as it irks me. I am no creative genius.

By way of example: remember Beastie? For over a year, Beastie and I have battled, have warred, have locked our proverbial horns and laid waste to any breath of truce or treaty. The issue: feed dogs. Since the day we two creative souls met, Beastie acted as if she had no feed dogs at all, nor any responsibility to provide them. I could see them, could watch them move, but they posessed no motive power over fabric of any sort. This was not acceptable.

For over a year we battled, at the cost of over a year’s worth of sewing inspirations and ideas. Two days ago I found the switch -the clearly labeled switch, mind you- to raise and lower the feed dogs. Since that moment of eureka, Beastie and I have been peas and carrots.

You see? If someone as inept as I can create, anyone can. In fact, I think it likely causes me business issues: I’m much better at telling people how to make my goods than actually selling them, and whenever I go to price an item I have to battle an urge to underprice myself because I believe it’d be cheaper for them to make it themselves and, to my college-budget brain, that’s a factor of overriding importance.

There’s that damn crafter’s ego again. Indeed it does cause an issue, but I’d still rather be the sort of crafter that contributes to the knowledge of the community than the kind that says “My simple and easy process is TOP SECRET, you have to buy it!” I think, in buying handmade goods, you’re buying something more than materials and a process- you’re buying a person’s effort and personal flair. And, of coure, I have to admit I browse Etsy a lot, see other crafter’s work, and mutter the closest I will get to an “I could never do that”: “It’d take me a damn long time to learn that skill.” Just because I think my processes are simple and easy doesn’t mean everyone’s are, or indeed that my perceptions of my own work are accurate.

Maybe I just need to get better at accepting compliments, no?

I suspect this: the genius is rarely, if ever, in execution. Tools can be bought and techniques can be learned. The genius lies in inspiration and innovation and, above all things, the will to tell the little “I can’t do that” voice to shove it and go try something new.

But enough of that. Back to Beastie! Look what I made:

She sews!
She sews!

I’ve decided to sign up for two months over at Wardrobe Refashion and am getting a head start while I still have precious Spring Break hours left. I’m wondering, though -the rules say ” All clothing must be Recycled, Renovated, Preloved or Thrifted, or Handmade only for the term.” Does this mean I can buy used clothes without actually doing anything crafty to them? Because I buy pretty much all of my clothes used- Fort Collins has a wealth of awesome exchanges and thrift shops.

Side View
Side View

This particular shirt I’ve had sitting around through my entire war with Beastie. It’s a Simplicity pattern that I’m not finding on their webpage- some Junior’s jersey thing with lots of variations. When I find the envelope I’ll give you the pattern number. The straps are long ties that wrap around me multiple times before tying at the small of my back (at least the way I like to wear it). I hope to tack them to the back for support, once I figure out how to get the placement right when I’m wearing the thing. Methinks I need local crafty friends. I also have yet to finish the bottom hem- I’m going to wait until I make peace with my serger for that one, and that’s a war that’s been going on as long as I’ve been sewing.

From the Back
From the Back

I’m utterly gleeful at having my sewing machine back, and am already hammering through another long-awaited project. Sewing is one of my oldest crafts, taught to me by my wonderful mother years ago (we made a full length crushed velvet circle cape lined in green satin, and I love it and regularly prance around the apartment in it to this day), and it feels wonderful to return to it.

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