Nancy W.

A.  I did a lot of writing this past week.  The inventory of skills (not necessarily talents) was very illuminating.   I realize that I have many talented friends who have introduced me to a whole host of techniques. I have tried a LOT of techniques.  So my list was long; however I was able to identify things that I tried but am no longer interested in, and some things that I thought I would like, bought the supplies for, but then did not care to pursue.  Time to let things go as a "past" project.  My skills are too wide, but not deep enough in some areas. A bit embarrassing!  I won't bore you by reiterating the whole list - too much stuff.   I do have deep interests and skills in a few areas, and this was helpful to allow me to pinpoint and identify where these are.  I am also continuing to set aside things for Goodwill;  this is a nice reminder of why I so need to do this. 

B. My loves: "desert island test" 

1) Weaving remains right up there.  Here I have deep skills, although I sometimes gravitate toward an easy project for a mental rest, or to use up stash.  And I have passion.  Now, I'd like to figure out how to be more creative in this arena.  

2) Second, Surface design is a love:  but here I am mainly a novice.  Not a rank beginner, but I have a lot of learning to do.  I think this area fires up my passion and I would like to learn more in this area where I can be more artistic and creative. 

3) Third:  I have been making some fiber and bead jewelry for a while, combining fabric beads, beadwork, and some metalwork. I sell these pieces along with my handwoven scarves in a local craft Co-Op Gallery.  This is still a love. I was very fired up last year and produced many new ideas; my skills are increasing, but I still have more to learn. I am spread thin even in my "loves category"  the desert island would be full of supplies. 

C. Wannabe skills:  I am fascinated with art quilts.  BUT I have no skills in this area at all. I have been looking at online video classes, and got my sewing machine tuned up, so maybe I will keep that on the list.  

D. Perfection was interesting. I had no trouble identifying a few peak moments!  What a thrill to recall these times.  I remembered immediately a favorite scarf (that I wear a lot) woven from natural dyed "warp painted" silk in a braided twill pattern.  It was so beautiful to weave that I felt sad when I completed it. Here it is, below. It had a couple of errors, which I corrected, and when I hung it up to photograph it, I found a few things that I would change about it (now almost 10 years later), but I still love it. 

Perfection.

Perfection.

Perfection, detail.

Perfection, detail.

A second peak moment was a doll that I made about 5 years ago. (What Lies Within, see below). Not perfect, in the critique I found things I would like to have the skill to do differently.  I am not really a skilled doll-maker,  BUT the theme and execution of the theme really means a lot to me.
Finally, the shawl that I wove and felted for my daughter's wedding is another thing that I am particularly proud of. The concept and execution all came together as I planned. Here I am modeling it, before I sent it overseas to my daughter. 

Wedding Shawl

Wedding Shawl

Wedding Shawl, detail.

Wedding Shawl, detail.

I hope that showing pieces that came to mind as "perfect" doesn't sound too much like bragging.  I am a little hesitant to put it out there in this category. My definition of perfection is not the "My work on that thing is perfect" but it is more a definition of "did my plan work out the way I intended, did I pull off the concept?  Does the piece work for the use (wearable for example)? Is it well crafted?  I was a little bit surprised to find things I feel this way about.  I am so self critical (my committee is usually working overtime).  But something about either the course so far, or Jane's invitation to think about perfection lead me to recall these 'peak experiences" of making. This is why I am still passionate and fired up about my work.

I have the committee quieted down a little bit, so the critique was not as painful as I might have thought.  

I started with one of the pieces I put out there in the "perfection" category.

What Lies Within

What Lies Within

Detail. 

Detail. 

 The concept:  I used zippers on the body which open up to reveal items of value such as charms, beads, found objects and mementos.  The Title "what lies within" is from a quote "What lies before us and what lies behind us are tiny compared to what lies within."  I am referencing my work as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in which I am most interested in the "insides" of people, not the outsides.

Critiques:  The doll is a beginner pattern, without articulated hands or feet.  Her face is too pointy.  The clothing is rather primitive:  I was too much in a hurry to finish, and didn't give the clothing as much attention as the body. The zippers are too hidden by the clothing to the casual viewer, in fact you may not be able to see that design feature in the photograph.