There is a thing that happens when you decide to shift your hobby into your business. Suddenly what you do for pure enjoyment has an agenda attached to it. It can feel kind of good at first, like you are a real grown up artist, but after a while that “agenda” feeling starts to drag you down. It’s like a tiny gnome hanging out on your shoulder all day with questions about “the value of your time” and judgements along the lines of “shouldn’t you be taking more pictures?”. It turns everything into work. What I have discovered is that every once in a while I need to do something completely different to shake that little gnome off my shoulder and then I can come back to this work I’m so passionate about with a renewed calm. Indigo dyeing, I have discovered, is one of my favorite ways to get back to that glorious feeling of just simply making something. Indigo and creativity go hand-in-hand (that and block printing…something about surface design, I suppose).
Indigo dyeing is kind of the opposite of garment sewing and also a lot like it. Unlike garment sewing, the results are unexpected and the process has to embrace that uncertainty. Indigo is a living plant and when I’m dipping fabric into a big vat of it it feels so crazy and weird and messy and fantastic. I’m totally focused and immersed but not worrying about being exact. At the same time, it has the same rush of creation that comes from sewing clothing and the gorgeous thrill of seeing results emerge.
Of course, indigo dyeing creates fabric and what is better than that? I’ve had so much fun to turning mine into tea towels and plant holders. I haven’t used any of it to make clothing yet, though. Kind of want to keep those two things separate at this point. :).
Do you ever need a creativity recharge? What do you do to get it?
I love this! I haven’t done indigo dying…I’m always impressed with anyone that can keep it alive. How long have you kept yours alive? I’m admittedly a bit intimidated by (and ignorant of) the process.
I totally get the need to put creative energy someplace else a bit to bring it back home. I make soap, or sour dough, or recently have got my yogurt recipe down. I try to draw a bit, and fail (flail?) at knitting here and there. Usually end up with a lovely knitted washcloth! haha. oh, and gardening if we ever get spring… I’ve learned to not take on something super big…it’s got to be a TNT creative process, or something that can be a short venture if it’s going to serve as a creative recharge, or I’ll get overwhelmed and just stick my head in the sand completely!
Melissa Q. says
Hmm…I want to say I’ve kept mine alive for 2 weeks. I’m not great with living things (other than children, of course!) but I kept it warm-is and stirred it methodically every once in a while. Soap, drawing, knitting and cooking, huh? Those are great places to recharge, indeed. I’m developing a deep love of gardening. One of my friends is an expert and she is helping me fall in love with my garden.
You are SO RIGHT about keeping it short and simple…and kind of a guaranteed win. When I need a recharge, I often need to feel competent and uncomplicated!