Sewing was a childhood hobby. I collected craft magazines, borrowed craft and art books from the local library. I made lots of things.
As a teenager I belonged to a needlework club, which was run by the school sewing teacher, once a week during lunch break. It wasn’t considered a cool thing at all. It was akin to chess club or computer club. It didn’t bother me.
I learnt to make clothes in junior and high school. I talked a little about it in this post about a baby dress I made.
Although I stopped sewing after high school, over the years I would continue to explore stitching in different forms. I would knit scarves, baby cardigans and even had some freelance work knitting neckies (neck warmers) for a small company. I also made art work which crossed the division between craft and fine art - making big quilted pieces which were exhibited in traditional gallery settings. I also made paintings based on lines and shapes from dressmaking patterns.
I started making clothes again at a time when I was feeling lost and jaded. Building an art practice takes a lot out of you. It’s a competitive world. You’re only as good as your last painting. There are always new artists coming along. You really have to pause to stay in the moment - because at opening nights, people are already asking when your next exhibition is.
Returning to sewing felt comforting and a refuge. I could be creative without the judgement. I didn’t need to submit an essay explaining and justifying why I’d made it. I could just enjoy.
A few years now down the line - I’m finding a balance (not perfect), but better. I’m still making paintings consistently, and I try not to get so troubled if I’m stuck.
Although sometimes, I find myself thinking, maybe, sewing could be another career. I always try to balance that thinking, knowing that sometimes, making something you love into a job can also dampen that joy. It’s a risk.
For now, I sew in my spare time. It’s my hobby and I get to play. I’m allowing my interest to grow in an organic way, mindful of pacing myself.