I’ve been seeing pigeons in my dreams for weeks – not real pigeons – stitched pigeons – they insist on being made. You know how pigeons are – always insisting on things. I have to trick myself into starting a new shape – I love the process when I’m in it but there is always anticipatory anxiety – it’s knowing I have a series of failures ahead of me. I don’t mind them as they happen – it feels like process, progress and discovery, I get immersed in it. But still, even though I know that – starting – taking the very first step – is always hard, even for stuff I’m pretty excited about. So I start with a baby step and it’s almost always the same. I give myself the gift of putting it off for one more day but it goes on the list for the next day – first thing. I also gather what I need to start so it is handy and ready to go. I usually wake up ready to dive in. Who knows what magic my subconscious works overnight or maybe just the simple acts of putting it on the list and collecting the supplies gets me past the onerous starting line.
New creatures start with a drawing. I like charcoal on drafting velum – messy and spontaneous. From there I can trace out a profile and start to guess at gussets. Next I sew up and stuff a series of drafts – marking them up with sharpies and making adjustments. The first draft was less pigeon and more small sad turkey with issues….. I made about a half a dozen more, making a little progress on each and eventually getting close to the shape I want – the pigeon shape below.
I’m pretty happy with this shape – it needs a little more fullness in the breast so I’ll probably do one more draft and then try it in good fabric. Hopefully pigeons will appear over the weekend.
One more note on starting – I’ve been doing something new for a while and it’s working well for me. Historically – I have kept things on my worktable – tools, notebooks, fabrics – a perimeter of stuff. As an experiment I got rid of it all – found other nearby homes for everything. I also began emptying the table of whatever I’m working on at the end of the day. It seems counter productive if I’m just going to work on the same thing in the morning but it has a magic effect. Emptying the table ends the day. It feels official. And when I wake up there is just my list and an invitingly empty space. It feels like a fresh start. I make clear and conscious choices about what to do without an overwhelm hang-over from the previous day. I start the day more peacefully and feeling in charge and since I work by myself I am, technically, supposed to be the one in charge. Putting the stuff away is extra work but the benefits have out weighed that.
And please meet Edmond. A contemplative rat – like his brethren the mosquitos, pigeons and spiders – one of the less loved creatures.