Friday, July 17, 2009

Solitary in the workroom

Yesterday when I ventured out into the 100+. (Turn off the sound because here comes a whine. Another endless day of sun and sweat, but enough of that, can't change the weather we just must endure.) I ran into a friend who inquired how the change from retailer to crafter was going. My standard answer is... it is as expected. I knew there were going to be an adjustment period as I got used to working alone. And it is true. What I find most challenging is the lack of face to face contact with people.

I knew when I started this new venture that I was going to miss seeing people. But it's not only the conversation and energy of shoppers coming in off the street. It goes even deeper than that. I miss having people around who I can bounce ideas off. Even though I don't always play well with others, I need others. Often I need to talk an idea out with others to have it gel or evolve. Bouncing thoughts back and forth is part of my creative process. So now I struggle without having this. I struggle with self-doubt and worry. Do others see these as colorful and whimsical or are they too much, too busy?
When the store was open, I would take dresses in to get feedback. I could note which color combinations customers would remark on the most. If I altered a design was it noticeable? I got to see reactions and chitchat about what worked and what didn't. I would love it if I got some reactions on the blog, but that doesn't happen often. Plus I don't want to bore everyone with posting new dresses too often. Should I post every new dress or skirt to see what you all think or not?
The transition continues from working with the public 50 hours a week to 0 hours. I imagine that what I'm progressing through is common for most as they begin working at home. I have faith that I'll eventually find my balance. But the journey is not easy or comfortable. Does growth ever come easy or comfortable? So to answer the friend who asked. Although I love my dresses and skirts, although I love the process of sewing and creating, although I love the challenge of a new business - I'm finding it difficult to labor in solitary. ( I write this I realize that the many pluses by far outweigh the single minus. Note to self, concentrate on the creative pluses!!!)


tskross said...

Hi mom,
I can relate to what you are saying. Spending so much solitary time can be difficult, especially when you may feel that you aren't 100% sure of what you're doing, whether its good enough, if it will survive out there in the world, etc etc. But with time and patience eventually one finds in this place that the ideas flow more easily. I'm convinced that this is the place where truly original ideas come from, and that once you get used to working and settle into a routine they come faster and almost effortlessly. I believe that as an artist (and that is what you are, you have a unique vision that you are putting out there, in both your product and in how you are trying to market it) this is the most important part of the process; to find and tap into the thing that makes you you. One's inner weirdness if you will. People will respond to it because it is true and pure, and that sincerity will shine through everything you make and do. Sincerity is not something that can be measured, but anyone can tell when it is and when it is not present. And it is this quality that differentiates something that is really good from something that is great.
As far as asking if change is always difficult, well I'd think so, otherwise the world would be a much better place and life would be far too easy to be enjoyable. But whenever I find myself in a painful position (physically or mentally) I think of this quote from Haruki Murakami, which is actually a quote from someone else. When asked if he had a mantra that he recited while running he responded no, but he always remembers what another runner told him once 'pain is inevitable, but suffering is not.'

ellie said...

Wow, Ty, what good insight. I especially relate to "inner wierdness" which is something I have a hard time owning. And the quote about pain is inevitable, but suffering not. Life is such a mental game. Thanks for your comments!

susan said...

I know how you must miss the interaction. Almost as much as I miss not seeing you 'on the Square'. You are a people person! How grateful we are for that! But you are also what you love most ... an artist. Believe in yourself. You are creative - in your craft and thought. I too love the inner weirdness concept. That wonderful notion is recaptured in a favorite quote of mine 'you're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it!'. So don't doubt yourself, embrace the uncertainty ... and add a ruffle! Twirl on!