The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Quotes from MAAP (Making Art A Practice ) 2

Here are some more juicy tidbits from Cat Bennett’s Making Art A Practice:

How about this…..

An art practice is a way to nurture and grow our creative spirits.

The she gives five basic aspects:

The first is to declare our intentions to make the art we can and commit to our practice

In the second aspect of our practice, we explore art-making in all its dimensions, in whatever manner we feel called to do.

The third aspect, perhaps the most important, is where we work with the mind.  How many of us have felt afraid to do something we felt called to do?

The fourth aspect of our practice is growing our art.  We come to know who we are and what we want to do.

The fifth and final aspect of our art practice, as outlined here, is connecting with the world.


Well that’s a mouthful if I ever read it….although these are written and meant to apply to artists, they work just as well for sewists…’s how:


This can be really valuable to set out a clear plan and intention of what we want to do – yes, this sounds minor, but think about it.  Once you have a clear vision of what you want to do, either through research (clicking on fashion sites, or visiting stores or whatever to get a cadre of ideas and then selecting from that what this project will require), or through your own creative mind, maybe seeing something on the street or someone else wear or just a thought that this would look good with that – whatever it is.  This will set in motion a clear path for you to take.

Another thing to consider here, which I like to do is block out a set of time….if you are in a situation in which you can not accomplish large projects in one block of time, then set out blocks of time – a day here, an afternoon there, but so that you can not only accomplish what you need, but SEE the accomplishments and the progress of your work.


I love this part – this is basically educating yourself to all the methods and skill tools you will need to accomplish your garment or outfit.  It’s that simple.  What do you need to know to make your garment.


Oooooooooooooh Boy!  Ain’t this a stinger!!!  How many times have you felt, “Oh I can’t do that, cause I don’t know enough,” or “I wouldn’t dare do that outfit cause I can’t sew that kind of seam,” or “I can’t sew with that fabric; it’s too hard.”  The mind is doing some really dirty work on you, and in this step, Cat Bennett talks about this.  Actually this is a little like AA – admitting you have the problem is half the battle.


And know what we can’t do and how to find out how to do it can not be overshadowed by realizing that we do know how to deal with a certain fabric or a certain garment or a certain assembly technique.  This is realizing that you know more than you think and then being able to be comfortable in doing those garments that you thought you couldn’t.


I think this is great in art.  Art is funny in that you do inevitably expose yourself, particularly in writing, but also in drawing/painting.  You sometimes pick a subject that is so difficult that it’s hard to choose it knowing how gut wrenching it will be to see or think about.  Clothes do this to a certain extent.  I think that’s a lot of what the Grunge period was all about – throwing out all those über glamorous clothes of the late 80’s and 90’s into something that was ugly where ugly became the new beautiful.

And you may not think this pertains to clothing, but consider this – if you are working on chores and needing a widget to finish your job; take off to the local hardware store to buy the widget wearing your work clothes, how much attention are you likely to get, than if you changed into something cleaner, neater and went to the same hardware store.  I will guarantee you, you will get more and better help in the cleaner clothes.  This is how we connect to the outside world.

Then there is this scenario, you walk into an antique shop in neat but very simple clothes and start bargaining with the owner over an item.  Say you walked in the store with your latest French quilted jacket on, how anxious do you think the owner would be to bargain with you.

You set the tone for how you want to be received in this world (more than who you really are) by your clothes is set by you.  This is you connecting to the world through your clothes.   You’re conducting a business conference and wear an attractive suit, you look responsible and people will listen.  If you wear a short skirt and skin-tight low-cut top, you won’t be taken seriously and half of the guys’ eyes will be rolling all over the room.  That’s funny, but it’s true.

You are making a proposal, even an artistic one, and you wear a tailored tunic top and skirt, and you will be taken seriously.  You wear a bathing suit, and no matter how artistic or good your proposal is, it won’t be taken seriously and at best you’ll be working from a deficit position.

You’re mother of the groom at a beach wedding, you wear some colorful outfit from the local mall but it’s too big, and made of polyester so it’s hot, or you make your own out of silk, fit it to your body, height, size, shape and style, and folks think you look spectacular and you end up making your son not only proud of you, but your friends are elated for you.  Not that they wouldn’t be in the other outfit, it’s just that you really do seem more popular in the nicer, better-made and more tailored to you outfit.


OK – this is a lot to think about. Hopefully you will have some time to let these digest and really sink in.  These really do translate well – more coming tomorrow.

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