Sunday, January 27, 2008

If I had not made it...

I've come to the conclusion that I must really be honest with myself about the things I create, especially where clothing is concerned.

I must ask myself this question and be brutally honest with myself as to the answer:

Would I want to wear my items if I had NOT made them myself?

In other words, if I had seen it for sale on a store shelf, would I have grabbed it up and headed for the dressing room or register with a silly grin on my face, or would I have passed it right on by without giving it a second thought?

I feel that I sometimes work with a material that I would not normally use simply because it is what is on hand. If I do have fabric or yarn sitting around that is not my style, it was either 'too good of a deal to pass up', inherited or it was given to me by a generous friend. Most of the time I try to only buy or accept the things that I know I'll use, but sometimes the 'pack rat' in my loses touch of reality which can lead to the creation of a garment that I myself would not usually wear. I do understand that not everyone has my tastes and that someone else may want to buy it from me, but then it's sitting there in my shop, regarded by viewers as a direct representation of my style and taste.

As hard as it is for someone like me who loves to 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' to not stash any and all supplies away for a future project, I must be truthful with myself about my materials.

Will I use that which I do not love?

Then, an even more important thing to think about is...

Is it fair to my loved ones and friends to make them something handmade if I myself am unhappy with the materials that I use?

Yes, the hat that I knitted in the photo above is pretty cute, but my daughter would not have worn it if I had paid her off in ice cream! (I tried.)

How many coarse, ugly-colored knitted or crocheted hats must people have hidden away in their sock drawers since the invention of acrylic yarn? How many people have hand sewn items in their closets that will never see the light of day because all their moms or wives buy is cheap, unfashionable, discounted fabric prints which in all honesty, had they been seen in a garment on the racks of a department store, would have certainly been passed over by the same women who buy it by the yards?

As someone who has just packed up a box of fabric that she herself has bought at discount prices, I urge you...

"Don't walk away from the store with cloth or yarn that you're not thrilled matter the price!"

I really don't want to sound harsh, and I'm not saying that I wouldn't be pleased as punch to find a $1.00 fabric table or even a gently-used cotton bed sheet with a fabulous print that is just perfect for a project. It just seems to me that we, as artists who display pride in the skill and dedication to the quality of our workmanship, should be willing to seek out the kind of quality in materials necessary to maintain that high standard.

Now, remember...I am Recycle Micol! So don't worry about any supplies currently in my stash going to waste, of course. I do like to use a lot of vintage and repurposed fabrics and materials which I feel represent me perfectly in my crafting. When I do have to 'weed out' some undesirable supplies for lack of storage space, I would never let anything that can be useful to someone else just go into a landfill somewhere. I have wonderful local artist friends who work in costuming for the theater and others who design their own crafts who always benefit from donations of my fabric and craft destash sessions.

So, I hereby vow: I will not create with materials that are not thoroughly pleasing to me.

With all due respect and love for myself and others,

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