Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things Making Me Laugh

The other day I saw a TV commercial which proclaimed: "Marijuana. The all natural painkiller." Or something to that effect. I couldn't stop laughing -- there is something quintessentially California about that type of statement ... both in taking itself seriously, and in poking fun of California's image as a place friendly to most things "all natural," and all things marijuana.

My brother was telling me his preferred method for falling asleep at night. "I start recounting the things that happened to me that day ... and I never make it to the end of the day. I always put myself to sleep." That set me off laughing like crazy, too.

Trying to round out the colors in my wardrobe!

And you know how I've been falling asleep of late? I fix in my mind some garment that I want to create. Then I mentally walk myself through every last step it would take, visualizing it from start to finish. "OK, so first I'd have to use tracing paper to trace out the front bodice. Then I'd need to widen the shoulders by 1/2" and raise the neck by 2" ... let's imagine placing the ruler down ..." And you know what? I never can finish constructing the garment in my mind. Like my brother recounting of the day's activities, I put myself to sleep through sheer boredom.

Isn't it true though? Technically speaking, sewing (or knitting) one's own garments is decidedly not an interesting activity to partake in. Frankly, one could say that there is quite a bit of tedium involved. Yet somehow it is also intensely creative, immensely satisfying, and oddly addictive. There's a reason we keep pushing ourselves forward in this pursuit. Any art or craft has a creative component and a technical component - we wield our technical skills towards a creative vision, and somehow in the process of diving into the creative flow of things it is no longer about the technical component but rather about innovation, improvisation, inspiration.

Usually when people ooh and aah over the things I make, I wave off the compliments with a flippant "You could do it too!" I guess I keep thinking about the technical side of things - it wouldn't be too hard to teach them to use a sewing machine or how to knit and purl. I don't give enough credence to the creative side as well. Yes, we could both sew a straight seam, but you and I would pick two very different fabrics for that pattern, I might choose contrast piping and you'd go with tiny buttons, I'd want a long hem and you'd opt for a miniskirt. And I'm guessing the secret behind this trick for battling insomnia is that I've already fixed on what the project will look like, so that my mind has already gotten out the "fun" components of the project, and all I'm left with is the tedium, the technical.

Hm. One wonders how I will feel about those projects, once I finally tackle them.


willywagtail said...

I really don't th8ink that would work for me but you might be right about taking the fun out first. I still find working out the kinks of a project or the how do I overcome that or turn that corner, etc to be stimulating and instead of falling asleep I can stay up for our. I need to read myself to sleep until I am too tired to think logically. Love the idea of a "natural" Caklifornia though. Cherrie
PS word verification is 'frumpe'. Hope that wasn't aimed at either of us. lol

Anonymous said...

lol - I often put myself to sleep thinking about how I would re-tile the bathroom or make a cob garden shed. Also simultaneously creative yet tedious and detailed projects. I love that projects with practical outcomes can still be intensely and satisfyingly creative!


poet said...

I know the problem you describe - that once all the creative bits have been decided, a project isn't half as interesting any more (which is why I usually draft-as-I-go, leading to some messy results) - but I hadn't had the idea yet to use it to fall asleep. Must try it sometime.

Roobeedoo said...

Is that your wardrobe? Really? It's very neat and tidy and colour-coordinated! I have been sending myself to sleep trying to do a presentation on Risk Management. Now THAT's boring!

Sigrid said...

For years I did "virtual knitting" which involved reading Elizabeth ZImmerman in the tub and imaging the yarn and the modifications I would use. Best part: the project could be finished quickly with no nasty surprises.

And now I do it with sewing too. And you are so right, we do tend to blur over those tricky technical bits that actually need a lot of processing--often as we lay in bed drifting into sleep..

Minnado said...

I agree there is a balance between the technical and the creative in making clothes. I find myself avoiding anything too technical and dry as my concentration span is so short these days. Your wardrobe looks so neat. I could show a picture of nmine but it may give you nightmares! x

Zonnah said...

I think it is interesting how everyone fall asleep differently. I have to read till I can't keep my eyes open anymore otherwise, my mind does not shut off.

Ali said...

Ha ha! I have the opposite problem: I stay awake dreaming of all the things I can make! But I agree, there's definitely a divide between creative and technical and I'm way better at dreaming about sewing than sewing itself. I do love problem solving (it's that INTJ!!) which probably gets me through the technical bits :)