No, not literally. That phrase best captures where I am right now (for the whole 5 of you wondering). With the closing of a brick and mortar and a return to the home studio process, something happened. I think I retired (for now anyway)…. from the career which defined “me”.
In October, I was presented with the Alumni Gallery of Achievement (Hall of Fame if you will) Award from my high school. 5 of us were inducted. On stage, giving a speech, doing a recorded message for the in school TV station (sure a long way from the nerdy AV guy who hid in a dark room and knew how to magically work the film machine), engraved image on the wall for perpetuity, intro at the homecoming game…all those bells and whistles one would expect for being honored to have been busy and very successful for 35 years in a chosen profession. It was great….but it felt like an ending. Not a bad thing, but like an “okay, you can put the brushes down now.”
Couple that with the timing of empty nesting 6 years after the fact…..I was gone before the kids were….and it just feels weird. Now don’t go thinking I am going to go back to serving on committees and boards and special events and all that time absorbing activity…I am rather enjoying the emptiness.
But nature abhors a vacuum so I hear and down time has never suited me. Now I sew stuff, or rip it up and remake it, or cut things apart, try something new and may ending tossing in the dumpster. It is like creating a painting but without the cleanup. Some may think that rearranging garments is not as “impressive” or “worthy” as creating something on canvas. Perhaps. But at least I don’t have canvases stacking up along the walls waiting to be disposed of by my kids if nobody wants them. Someday they can just drive a van to the local clothing donation center and say hasta la vista baby with no guilt attached.
Textiles (fancy word for garments and clothes so I sound more impressive) still require an understanding of line, shape, color, texture and space….especially when one never uses a pattern or guide. The elements of design still exist, only in a different form. I am still working with my hands…more so now than ever before. My brushes were always between me and the surface. Now I am in direct contact with the media…I can feel each stitch and how the fibers are reacting. The colors, especially in denim, have subtle variations that can affect the look of a piece on the human body. Textiles have different weights to them just as watercolors are different than acrylics. The only downside is the number of pins and needles I lose on the floor, in the carpets, on the chair cushions……and the times I stick myself with various sharp objects. Sewing is far bloodier than painting!