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Sunday, February 24, 2013

It Is Called Trial By Error For A Reason

Hand-painting dyes onto silk at home. Not something one can master easily.

On Friday I received a package of French dyes for silk fabric painting. I was bent on getting very artistic over the weekend coupled with, and riding off the back of, my recent self-delusional 'creative spurt' which saw me re-inventing the hat band, making shoe bags, wallets, card holders and tobacco pouches out of silk whilst also spending a great deal of my evening quilting by hand. I firmly believed that in my mad little sun room, with just a sewing machine and some creative thought, I could set about making absolutely anything. I was able to now hand roll stitch a hem confidently, I had all the right silks on me, my dyes and paints were here, I had a sewing machine - what could go wrong?

What went wrong is that my skill set had not yet caught up with my imagination. Often we forget as designers that everything is a process. It is as much about trial by error as it is 'creative flow'. Or, as Einstein so aptly put it- 2% inspiration, 98% perspiration. By the end of the weekend I had therefore achieved half of the work I set out  to achieve on my quilt, my shoe bags were not yet nearing the quality I aspired to and, above, you can see that painting on silk is not quite as easy as first anticipated. The 'sky' was no longer the limit, it was more the earth that I was crashing into.

My advice to you creatives out there is as follows. Just because someone else has talent, don't fool yourself into thinking it is easy to match it with a little time up your sleeve on a Saturday afternoon. Just because someone makes something look like they knocked it up last night, doesn't mean that they knocked it up last night. There is planning, there is trialling, there is re-visiting, there is re-calibrating. It is just like learning to dance. You can pretend to do one or two of the key tricks, but unless you slog it out, eventually people will catch you out. This weekend, I was caught out, by myself. And so Monday brings more of what I know is needed to achieve anything. Hard work. As a friend of mine, sagacious and modest, said to me over the weekend 'Nikki, the spivs aren't winning anymore. Real business is being done by those who work hard and know what they are doing, not by young dreamers hoping to catch a silver bullet by doing some one in a million deal'. I owe him a great deal of thanks for the comment. It is as he said.

The shoe bag. Something that has been made very cheaply for far too long. If you are going to spend that much on shoes, I felt you ought to get something a little more opulent to carry them in.

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