I’ve been having difficulty with my current projects. I think the biggest problem is that there’s no room to fail. In about a month and a half I will be sending five hand-knit accessories down the runway in front of around 2,000-3,000 people who are expecting something conceptually challenging and/or lovely. There will not be my safe 10,000 Hours umbrella over my head. The idea that I’m just pursuing skill development doesn’t matter here; no one cares how long I’ve been knitting or designing. My fear centers are activated and my fingers are frozen.
So today I took the time to sketch. And tonight I will swatch. And with any luck the model will email the measurements I need before tomorrow morning so that I can dive back into the fashion show ocean.
This week has been hard. To be honest I haven’t knit a single stitch. I haven’t been able to. Instead, I’ve continued looking inward and I’ve begun to focus on where I want to be and what my path beyond 10,000 Hours should be. All the while the pile of golden knitting sat on my desk patiently waiting. I am where I need to be and I will get where I need to go. And tomorrow I will knit what I need to knit. The practice is unfolding as it should.
The West 18th Street Fashion Show has asked each of its garment designers and accessory designers to fill out a questionnaire. I didn’t expect it to throw me for a loop…
How long have you been designing?
I had to laugh about this one. Can I answer it in hours? But these aren’t just plain old hours, these are 10,000 Hours hours! Edge of my abilities/comfort zone hours!
What is your background or design training?
I paused briefly here. Then I simply explained how my 10,000 Hours journey has led me here. Ok. That one wasn’t too bad.
In general, who or what are your design influences?
Uh… Gee… Well. Ahem.
In general, how would you describe your design aesthetic?
Ack! I don’t know! I just got here a minute ago!
So, I quick contacted Shay and Dana, two of my trusted friends, and said, “Who am I?!” (Well, I’m not having that much of an identity crisis. It’s more of, “Who am I as a knitwear designer?”) Shay assured me that I do, in fact, have a distinct design aesthetic, that these are just the growing pains of the 10,000 Hours creative experience. So we all cogitated a bit and through texts messaging and Facebook we conferred, drafted, and polished:
I’m inspired by stories and exploring how I can translate a tale into hand-knit wearable pieces; interpreting a narrative until it becomes the fabric in which we wrap ourselves.
My approach to accessory design is conceptual and part of my larger process as an artist; abstracting stories from the broader culture into simple, elegant hand-knit pieces. The result is wearable art ranging from lovely functional items to high concept couture.
I’m now finishing one full week of the stomach flu. Which means, nothing else was finished this week; I am exactly one week behind. So here I am with a half-completed lace shawl that was supposed to be finished yesterday and today I made a mistake. Faced with a choice of undoing the mistake (and undoing hours of work) or leaving it be… I left it. This was a decision I would not have made outside of the 10,000 Hours project context. If this was a work for a commission or someone else, I absolutely would have gone back to fix it, but it’s for me and 10,000 Hours. Here I am on a deadline to have this lace completed for project documentation and I just don’t have the time to turn back. I’m not sure just how obvious the mistake will be yet, but you can bet it will be well documented.