The Edge of Enough

In balance is a state of being that I'm always working toward. It is incredibly hard to maintain and is constantly being corrected back to. Quite a few years ago, instead of saying that something was good enough which felt like I'd abandoned its potential, I started saying that it was good and enough - meaning that I had done my best in this situation, at this time, with what I had. This phrase - good and enough - feels so much more positive. It's better self-speak because how we talk to and about ourselves, and how we choose to think whether it is positive or negative, has a tremendous impact on the whole of our lives including our creativity. For the past several years, I have been working on ever increasing holistic health. It's a life long, never ending goal to seek out the best path I can financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and in relationships. With this too, there is constant correcting back to and yet one goal over five categories has become far more approachable than many of the goals I set in the past. Perhaps that's why it's become lifelong. Creativity weaves through all the categories.

I love how one area overlaps the other - how when there is improvement here, there is also improvement everywhere. I see that most specifically with learning to use what I have, by embracing leftovers instead of always buying new as my younger self would have done. The button in the detail above left is from my stash. It's left over from a shirt I made almost forty years ago and is now on the front of a purse pocket. Underneath is a very old snap that is thick with a rounded ball. They are not made like that anymore. I repurposed it from a thrift store find. The clasp in the detail above right is also repurposed from a thrift store purse along with other pieces of hardware. These are more affordable, one-of-a-kind, and inspirational from the what can I do with what I have point of view. It saves me money, pushes me creatively, and makes my pieces unique and authentic. That's win-win.

A large component of my stash is scraps and repurposed items. Mostly, I find that stimulating and yet everyone has a set point where how much we have stops being supportive and tips into overwhelming. When that happens, our creativity is no longer nourished, it's hindered. For me, that's when my designated storage areas are about 80% full and there is no room for flow. The more they fill up beyond that, the more tense I feel. At first, it's subtle and subconscious but once I'm pushing things around and dropping them on the floor, it's very obvious. I become increasingly tense and my creative flow stutters. I may as well stop and sort things out because the emotional weight is having a negative, creative impact. Experience has taught me that I'll move forward smoother and faster afterward if I stop now. That happened about ten days ago when there was a long power outage. I was able to work through the scrap fabrics, get rid of what truly was a scrap, and divide what was left into useful categories. It shifted the energy in the studio, removed physical and mental clutter that was weighing on me, and re-acquainted me with what I had so I could utilize it going forward.

In this week's video - A Tale of Two Bags - I took forward six different scraps that were uncovered during that sorting process. The detail above left is of two muslin pieces that were the lining of a repurposed pouch. I'd used them to see what I thought of a muslin lining while experimenting with different ways to sew zipper tabs. I didn't like the muslin lining and I didn't like the resulting pouch. I am using the muslin pieces as wiping off cloths for painting. It will be interesting to see how they evolve over time. The denim in the above right detail is the exterior of the same repurposed pouch. I used those pieces on the front and more scraps of the same fabric on the backs of the bags you see below. They were painted with opened bottles of textile paint that needed to be used up before they become useless, which they are on the verge of doing. I was able to freshen them with water and heavy stirring and used them to stencil and gelli print. I now know that I need to do more painting soon if I don't want these to get thrown out. That helps me plan my time and projects. When I see myself using scraps, repurposing products, making something work out that appears hopeless, and exploring varied creative journeys, I am grateful. It exhibits learning and personal growth that I am delighted to see. In the past, I would have thrown the pouch away, not repurposed the purse parts, and discarded the seemingly dried up paints.

Fronts of two bags made from the same starting point with different end points

I learned another lesson about the edge of enough with this week's video. I started out making one bag and it evolved into two. Making two bags while video taping and editing the process is too much. It's twice the work in the same amount of time and while I'm happy with the conclusion, I don't want to experience that kind of pressure week after week. I would burn out and not do my best job and I'm in this for the long haul. It's a reality check, a nudge to set boundaries and correct back to balance. It's so important that we note and take those opportunities. Talk soon - Myrna Grateful - For ever increasing holistic health and the lessons that help me to correct back.