The party’s over; the work’s done.

Empty wine glasses. Three cashews in a bowl.  An abandoned sweater.  When the guests have departed, I remember bits of conversation as I load the dishwasher.  The owner of the sweater will need to claim it; I don’t know whose it is.

blog and arboretum 002Stencils on the table.  Fabric tossed in a bin.  Invoice filed.  When I deliver the large commissioned work, I am at a loss.  I want to play with color and texture on my own terms.  Just for a day.

I make sketchbook covers.

What do you do when the party is over, when the work is done?


Evaluation and Commissioned Work

camera upload 016I began accepting commissioned work over 40 years ago; it remains an important part of my textile time.  Two weeks ago I found myself praying for the courage of my gifts.  I was in the middle of a custom table runner in which I was combining favorite techniques, new tools, and an unfamiliar size.  The delivery date was less than a week away, a tighter time frame than I usually provide for myself.  Fear began seeping into the studio work.

The fear was irrational.  I had stopped evaluating my efforts and results and started listening to that inner voice of judgement. I had provided myself plenty of artistic cushion: two extra linen runners, practice samples with paint color and new stamps, a sample pillow to give a better sense of design space.  I had been true to what I needed to bring the project to completion.  Even with all that spread before me, I doubted my abilities.  This is a dark place for a creative soul.

I prayed for courage.  I also read the quote from William Stafford that hangs in my laundry room, a highly visible space in my daily routine.  It is advice to poets: “Lower your standards.”, given in conjunction with the assignment to his students that they write a poem every day.  I moved beyond doubting the placement of the grass around the bunny.  I stopped second guessing the color of the flower.  I inked up the stamp and pressed the final bee into place.

The client received the runner on time, appreciated the work, and paid the invoice.  I like commissioned work because it involves communication as much as craftsmanship and design.  I enjoy the skills I have honed in these areas.  I evaluate my creative process and product.  I end excessive fear with appropriate standards.

How do you overcome irrational fear in your creative endeavors?