Monday, September 15, 2008

What if ...?t for life

I jumped back into work at the university right after returning from a visit to family in Canada, so I never really got to enjoy the end of summer.  I was thinking last week that I really wasted my summer, but then I actually sat down and listed what I had been working on and realized that while I may not have done what I thought I wanted to do, I have done many, many things.  I have woven a baby blanket and two linen table runners, I have taught a couple of groups (ornaments and mini-memory tins), I have written an article on the mini-memory tins, I have altered a wedding dress, I have attended a wedding in WV, I have visited family in Canada for a week,  I have had carpet installed, I have kept up with the laundry, I have worked at least twice a week at the barn, and most importantly, I have supervised the girls all summer.  It doesn't seem so wasted when I review it all.

For photo relief, here is the dog going to the wedding.  She is not a great traveller, but she does like fast food.
The summer has also been a time for me to contemplate how I spend my time and energy.  As much as I love needlework, I also love being a librarian, and I have opportunities now that allow me to be home for the girls while seriously pursuing professional goals.

On one hand I am inspired by Spirit Cloth and The Beauty of Life, especially Paula's fruit book ( I have been contemplating a cloth florigium book for a long time).  I want to stitch like crazy and make wonderful new things.
On the other hand, I also keep up with the science and library blogs, and I'm very excited by all the innovations in teaching using web 2.0 and the ideas of open access for all research.  I like to test all the new interfaces for MEDLINE and other geeky sorts of things.

I realized the other day that I haven't felt compelled to stitch every night.  And I realized that the work I've been doing, creating teaching materials and wikis and presentations, has been fulfilling so I don't feel the need to stitch.  Back in August, I had already cut back by finishing up at the weaving studio.  I could see the dates for lectures and meetings piling up  in my date book and knew I had to start focusing on work.

So what should I do with my time?  It came to me yesterday, What if...I put the same creative energy into my library work as I have with my needlework?  What if I threw myself into each project with the same excitement I have for a stitching project?  What if I looked at my materials (computer programs and reference sources, say) and thought creatively about new projects?  What if I started a library blog to share my ideas and get feedback and reach out, just as I have with my needlework blog?
So that is where I'm going now, to focus more on work.  I will still do needlework and blog my progress, but there won't be so much going on.  But I will keep up with all the blogs I've been following, because I enjoy seeing how all my stitching friends are doing.

This is my current project, the Tanja Berlin mouse I picked up at auction.  It was started by somebody else at a class so there are lots of starts where there were special instructions.  But I have gone back and started at the beginning.  I've learned so much about this type of work from watching Elisabeth.  I commented one time that I would have just started the animals in a piece she was working on, but she patiently explained that she was following the order in the instructions because it was important to the look of the piece. (I'm not sure the exact phrase, the message is on the old computer).  So I have done each stem and leaf and now wheat-ear husk in the correct order and I can see the layers starting to show.  By the way Elisabeth, best of luck going pro - your stitching deserves to be seen by a wider audience.  I can hardly wait to see your future work.


Paula Hewitt said...

I love your dog! Im glad you liked my fruit book. I am planning to do something similar with veggies...or herbs or something soon! I can understand how you feel about your needlework vs Librarian work. I often feel like that with working in the veggie garden and my 'other' pursuits. I think a library blog is a very good idea. I hardly get time to read anymore (if Im reading a book as I am currently, Im not doing embroidery) - its a struggle to fit it all in.
ps I really like Tanya Berlins threadpainted animals - I will watch with interest to see how you go

Gwenddydd said...

I think this project will be beautiful. I like the colors.

jude said...

stitching has taken over my life and i have just come to the conclusion that i need to make some time for other things. i am starting with laundry but i also want to do more drawing and get some of my research material in order. so i am with you on your thoughts here. what if can applied anywhere...great stitching by the way!