Friday, January 15, 2010

decluttering my approach to craft, 2010

How do you go about setting creative goals? Is it all about completing a list of projects? Learning new techniques? Maybe setting up a stall or shop?

I don't think I've ever really set creative goals before. I often make life resolutions around the new year (vague and sweeping, helpful but not binding) , and have done so again this year, but for the first time I've decided to nut out what I want to do creatively in a more specific way.

Part of my bedroom 'inspire wire', on which I've hung items with textures, colours and patterns I'm drawn to

First, here are some things I learned about myself as a crafter during 2009:
- I love trying different creative techniques, but am most drawn to fabric-related craft;
- I am prone to creative 'attention deficit', which has resulted in lots of unfinished or badly-finished items, as well as a few too many craft/stash related impulse purchases of which I am ashamed;
- I'm more naturally interested in the aesthetic side of sewing (exploring textures, layers, designs, embellishments, originality) than the technical side of sewing (following patterns, making complex items, using fancy sewing gadgets or finishing things properly);
- I like the idea of making clothes for me and for the kids, more than the reality of making them! (This has a fair bit to do with the lack-of-technique thing as well as the time-consuming factor);
- I have decided I have no interest in selling things, but I would like to work on making some 'signature clutterpunk' items to swap and give away.

Having identified these things, here's where I'm heading in 2010:
In general I would like to...
- Narrow my creative focus and go for a bit of depth and technique instead;
- Think through projects first and execute them more carefully to help avoid frustration and waste;
- Use what I have already and make few, if any, craft purchases.

And I hope to do this more specifically by...
1. Focusing on quilting
I have done some very simple piecing and quilting, by both machine and hand, and I have loved it. There is so much scope for playing and expressing yourself in quilt-making, and yet there is a simplicty that I'm drawn to as well. I have plans for a lap-quilt, a wall-hanging and an already-mentioned bedroom quilt (on which I would like to experiment with all sorts of techniques!).

A very simply-hand-quilted lap quilt I made for a friend's wedding, using plain linen on one side and this patterned echino double-gauze on the other.

2. Making ONE garment in 2010, and doing it well!
Yep, I'm really lowering my ambitions here... but I'd like to hang up the 'Hack Refashionistaapproach for a bit and work on making something that will fit me well AND LAST. I am going to do this with the help of Thread Den Sewing Lounge, who run a heap of classes from basic techniques to pattern drafting. My Christmas gift this year was a voucher to cover a few classes here, and I'm VERY excited! I've not had any professional sewing help and I can't wait to check out the timetable and decide which classes to take.

3. Developing a 'clutterpunk line' of simple things to make for gifts and swaps
OK, so this is the most vague of my goals. I haven't made many repeat items in my time (apart from Swineys, but that joke was over a while ago...). I guess I would like to have several 'something up my sleeve' items to make for friends and crafty types which is useful for them, fun for me, and at least a bit unique. Hmmmmmm. At the moment I'm thinking about aprons - but kind of more wear-out-of-the-house-if-you-dare aprons than clean-the-bathroom types. Hmmmmmm again. Thoughts?

OK, so writing this down is clearly of more benefit to me than to you. But if you have read this and drop in regularly, perhaps you'll be able to prod and poke me during the year, to say 'hey, how's that garment coming along and are you fudging the seams there missy?', or 'boy you need to do something other than quilting, it's getting boring', or 'hey, if that decoupaged-macrame-scrapbooking thing isn't part of your quilt/garment, drop it NOW!'. Because that's what creative friends are for, right?


  1. I think that your 2010 goals are so fascinating. It's clear that you have really thought about the relationship of crafting to your life. Really gave me food for thought about me and my crafting.

    Thanks so much!

  2. There's a WHOLE lot of potential in the quilting goal. I can't wait to see what it produces!

  3. Oh...Gina you and I have so much in common when it comes to taste. You know how much I love echino and that kristen doran screen print....I have one of those here sewn on to a red tote!! Hilarious!! Great to see you back!!

  4. Interesting and thought provoking. A great idea to hang inspiring objects where you see them a lot. Cherrie

  5. I hope you fulfill all of your creative goals. I always make myself at least 1 craft goal for the year and if I accomplish more than that, well it's been a good year! Can't wait to see how you approach the quilting, coming from you it will be interesting for sure!

    Selina xx

  6. Putting up my hand to poke and prod (with the crochet hook that seems glued to my hand), BUT can you come by my house and be my creative coach to get even one TENTH of something like this list down for myself!? I love the amount of thought that's gone into this Gina (I'm guessing lots of it done in the wee small hours of the night?). Looking forward to seeing it all come to fruition ... or just the journey will be good enough really ;)

  7. Hi Gina! i'm so surprised you are taking your craft so seriously. i know you are a crafter-extrodinaire, but you sound a bit like me planning for uni assignments. But I get marked and you don't. But that's cool, i see you really want to get something out if it.

    I also think it's a bit different that you are trying to find your own style/signature craft. this is something an 'artist' would do. and you are not even selling your work! that is cool too, cos sometimes I hate myself for always thinking 'oh, i could sell this'. you are just doing this for yourself, good on you :)

    i used to get all worried about my sewing not being perfect, but then i got a grip and realised clothes are just cloth covering us. they don't have to be perfect and the only person who knows that your zipper is not perfect is you! have fun at threadden, they are lovely girls

    and i think you are going to feel really satisfied using up your fabric stash. it's hard to let go, but let those beautiful fabrics have a life!!

    hhmmm, this is almost long enough to be a post in it self! oops

    one last thing: i love your inspire wire

    much love, looking forward to your crafty escapades this year x isis

  8. Hah ha, I've realised that what you realised about yourself as a crafter is pretty much identical to the conclusions I came to about myself when I looked back over last year... we have however come to different goals from it. I'll prod you if you waiver, don't worry! (& btw I'm not wearing any shoes!;))

  9. First off - love the inspire wire - I feel the need for one of my own! Second - good for you with the goals. Looking forward to seeing what you produce this year! Nic xx

  10. Congratulations , I think you have set yourself achievable but fun and interesting goals , good for you !

  11. When you write about wear-out-of-the-house aprons, do you mean something along the lines of the obi/apron thing you were wearing at the Kris Kringle market? That would be a fun signature item, because you could use pretty fat quarters with bits of screenprinted fabric and lovely other things and it's all be wonderful and you'd win tonnes of friends.

  12. So smart to find a focus - in all areas of life (sigh) wish I could do that... Coincidentalismie, I have found a number of going out aprons in some old sewing books from the 70's, think headscarf and skivvy, and yes there are some macrame belts in the same books. If you'd like I could get my high-tech kids to scan it and try to email you.

  13. Thanks for sharing your goals. I think deciding not to sell is a wise idea (although i'm certain your stuff would have sold well)....otherwise you only have time for 'sewing' and not 'creating'. Since recently giving up on the 'sewing' i'm enjoying having time to 'create'.

  14. I love your posts that are like a peek into your mind! All sounds very thought-through and very thoughtful. I look forward to watching and chatting and celebrating and prodding (if needed!).

  15. Great goals Gina, we must be on similar wavelengths as I've been sewing for myself and returning to some unfinished quilts.

    I'm half way through my "sewing room" (baby room if he were ever to sleep in there) clean up and I'm inching my way towards the perfect skirt pattern (a few more adjustments needed) so I can churn out a zillion skirts for myself (or at least 3!)

  16. P.S. but I'm not wearing any shoes

  17. Yay yay yay! She's back! And thinking quilts for 2010! You should check out for lots of nice Tokyo quilt show pics from this week, including lace edging and other textures. And William is being frequently requested here - park rendezvous anyone?

  18. Great post - last year I wrote a VERY broad list of things I wanted to achieve as I knew it would be a busy time and it was a great feeling to cross them off one by one.
    They also challenged me to try new things and extend myself a bit and that is also really important in how it makes you feel about what you are doing/making.
    I look forward to seeing your new creations Gina - the texture thing is definitely you, and I can't wait to see what you come up with in 2010.

  19. Hello creative friend... what a lovely post to come back to :) I'm woozy and jet-laggy but very much loving this idea of sorting out creative goals for the year. I've been thinking along the same lines myself... a bit more structure and discipline is needed here. Yes, focus is the word. I love your ideas - there's something about quilts, isn't there? I picked up a card at the V&A announcing a Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition they have planned for the Spring. So it seems you are in touch with the vibes of the creative universe, as always ;) Happy New Year and best wishes for a fabulously creative 2010. Kylie x

  20. You've got me inspired...
    I like your idea of keeping on hand a bunch of handmade things for giving. I don't have any great ideas, but I always have a stack of handmade gift bags and tags on hand to put the "whatever" in.

  21. Another fabulous and thoughtful post Gina. You really set me to thinking about things when I stop by your blog.

    Really interested in the idea of signature items and can't wait to see what you come up with. I have to put a vote in for the gorgeous linen sacks you made last year, and I'll definitely put my hand up for a swap of some sort.

  22. thats a brilliant idea - trying to gather together some ideas about crafting and trying to be a bit more focused about it. clever.

    as for me, i am realising there are a few themes going on for me too - its a nice thing to realise. that i don't have to be able to do every type of thing. i seem to be gravitating towards sewing (although still in a hack kinda way - i really need to get me an over-locker) and crochet. i like the idea of focusing, but i think that wouldn't want to commit to focusing on too few things. i think its that i don't want to feel hemmed in. i like experimenting, even in disastrous ways.

    it will be great to see how how your plans pan out for this year. bring on the quilting!

  23. Thanks so much Gina. I have been following your movements closely (online, don't worry, I'm not stalking you) and I am keen to see where 2010 will take you! I am going to start a little handmade wedding blog on the side to trace my thoughts and ideas - and so I won't bore my 'regulars'!

  24. Sounds like a very well thought out strategic plan you have there. I like it! Much better than me who has chickened out of making any sort of commitments at the start of the year, for fear I won't acheive them. That said, I'm happy to provide some 'timely encouragement' when needed... An inspire wire sounds slightly achieveable though. As for a garmet, I'd go a coat - they are very rewarding to make, winter is soon, but not too soon, they last for ever, and you get to use some beautiful fabrics. I'd be happy to help out with sewing help if needed. Good luck!

  25. Hey I've got that exact same birdie fabric panel! I'm still trying to decide what project is worthy of it. I was thinking along the lines of a wrap-skirt/apron-style garment (I love your idea of an out-and-about-town style of apron by the way - do it! I LOVE your ideas!) I just don't dare to use this gorgeous fabric in case of disaster...

  26. Wow, the more I read your posts, the more I am convinced that we were separated at birth and you are my long lost twin on the other side of the world. I also have so many badly done UFOs sitting around, I dabble way too much in a zillion different crafty modes, and I am also overhauling everything about clothes, food, etc.


“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
~Albert Einstein