When you decide to go to design school, you basically sign yourself up for 4 years of sweat, tears, late nights and long hours getting to do what you love. Which is great! We’re all given gifts and talents and I believe that God intends for us to use those to the best of our abilities to serve Him. But I feel like often times when we do what we love all of the time, we lose the liberation from everyday life into the escapist ventures we seek. Too often it seems that what you love becomes what you have to do to keep good grades, pay the bills, or put simply: “work”.
When I’m sitting, I draw -> I should go to school where I get to draw a lot! -> Drawing for assignments makes me not want to draw anymore -> All I wanna do is just sit -> Why have I been sitting here for ten minutes drawing a baby rabbit with doodley boxes all around him with this crumpled receipt and a faded sharpie when I’m just supposed to be chillin’?!
This catch 22 is something that I’ve talked about a lot with friends, coworkers, classmates and mentors who’ve made a life out of putting their creativity to work. And I have found that I’m not alone in the need for intentional, selfish, creative outlets. We work ourselves to death doing what we love, and for me that usually results in not wanting to do anything at all.
For a long time, I let photography be my outlet. I bought my first “real” camera the summer after high school and lived a face-in-viewfinder life for quite a long time. Snapping pictures of anything and everything just for fun, just for me. Until this one day I had the ridiculous idea to start taking headshots, ya know, still just for fun… right? It didn’t take long for me to have a shift of perspective and no longer see photography as my hobby.
Several years, and a bunch (bajillions?) of pictures later, I still love photography and do it for myself, but have created an extended laundry list of subjects I did selfishly, then quickly handed over in the hopes of making a buck or two. And let me just say this: I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with making money doing what you love. But doing it just for money or for business has proven to drive me legitimately insane at times. Which is probably why it took me so long to ever want to make things for myself. Coming back to work after the first Craft South summer series really got me thinking. Seeing so many ladies who were just genuinely happy to be together, and creating was really inspiring to me. I looked up to realize, uhh HELLO, you work around fabric all. the. time. Make something just for fun! Having a brief breather from the crunch times, deadlines, evaluations, and competition was what I needed to remember that creating is a really incredible feeling. And more importantly, creating is what I was created to do. Almost two months after graduating from one of the most stressful and growing seasons of my life, I realized that I like to make stuff! Crazy, right?
So here it is! The first two items of clothing that I have made specifically for myself in… years? Making these really brought me back to the love I have for sewing- a love I haven’t felt in a really long time. These are both variations on two patterns I made for my senior collection, and I’m having fun shifting and altering these patterns to fill different needs. The lack of a dress form in my life is forcing me to get creative with the foundational patterns I already have, which has been kinda fun for me.
I’ve made a bunch of variations on the Netanya tank to serve different functions and I have a new one in the works, so I hope to be doing a blog post about that soon. Until then, keep fightin’ the good fight, and stay selfishly creative, friends!
xo, Anna Michelle