January 16, 2008

Process vs Product

I am really in the thick of reorganizing our home. I'm now tackling our bedroom where a lot of my sewing stuff and yarn has been stored. You know what I'm finding? A LOT of unfinished projects, many even going back to my college days - a lot of textile art done to a certain stage, but not a finished product. (That's why at quilt shows there can be so many fine, very old quilts - because someone finished the quilt top and tucked it away in a box, but never finished the quilt.)

I've researched it, talked on it, and written about it - so I'll ask you, "Are you a process person, or a product person?" I am a process person. I love learning about how things are made. I've done it with cooking too, which I've written about in my book Hearth & Home. Like how were things made before we had canned cream of mushroom soup and instant Jello and pudding and Bisquick?

So I have tried my hands at a lot of stuff. I know how to quilt. I know how to tat and do hardanger. I want to know how to make fine lace ... but now I know myself! I've read about the lace process and I could very easily start buying all the materials to do it - all the pretty bobbins (but oh, the choices!), the pillow, and patterns ...

The tools, the materials, the skills, the mechanics, the designing ... these are what attract me. I guess you could say they represent the process. I love the journey more than the destination. I think this idea is part of my attraction to Heirloom art - art done by hand. You can buy handmade items, but to make them yourself, for me, is a spiritual experience. I'm creating, and I feel a comradery with God's creative Spirit in me.

Anyway ... I've collected so much stuff! And I can do lots of stuff. But once I've done it, it doesn't mean I'll keep doing it. I've stuck with some things that I love to do the most, like knitting. I'll take periods of time where I'll do a lot of sewing. Having done my weaving again, I'll probably keep doing it.

What's best to do is take classes. Someone else will own the tools and provide the materials for you to learn the process and finish a product. AND THEN you'll better know whether it's something you want to invest time and money into.

Like I've always wanted to try making stained glass ...
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