Thursday, January 24, 2008

Facing My Fears

Hi, my name is Holly and I hoard fabric.

I do. I love textiles and oftentimes view fabric the way others view art. I love the textures, the colors, the design. A really beautiful piece of fabric, alone or combined with others, can take my breath away in the same way that an amazing painting can. Does that seem odd? I guess I view textile arts as, well, just And paying attention to the details of textile art has actually helped me to appreciate other forms of art more. I can't claim to understand it all. I'm not an artist and have never taken an art class in my life (I opted for an art history class to fulfill my Fine Arts requirement in college). But learning about fabric has given me a greater understanding of and appreciation for design elements, color, and detail. Now I can see a perfect joint in a woodworking project that my husband has done, and I am amazed by how beautiful it is.

But back to my fabric hoarding. My fabric stash is disproportionately large in comparison to the amount of sewing that I do. I tend to save things anyway. I'm not sure if that habit goes back to my childhood, when my family didn't have much in the way of material goods. That's all fine and good, but there is a difference. When you don't have much, you really use the things that you do have. We didn't throw much away when I was a kid, but we didn't stash things, either. We used everything. Now I am an adult and there is, thankfully, no struggle to have my material needs met. I'm still in the habit of saving everything. The difference now is that I don't need to do that. Our daily needs are met without a tremendous amount of scrimping. All those things that I save...they just sit there, largely unused and taking up space. My fabric collection is no exception. In fact, it is the reigning queen of the packrat kingdom in my house.

I have fabric that I am afraid to use because then it will be gone. Classic packrat, yes? You would think I'd grown up during the Depression, not the 1980s. Well, I've recognized this bad habit and have decided to change it. So here are some pictures of things I've made entirely from my stash. The top picture is a small tote bag. I had intended it for a young friend's birthday, but I'm not thrilled with some of the details (I used the thread that was in my machine, white, when orange or yellow would have looked so much nicer for the topstitching), so I think it will be my daughter's library bag. The second picture is of some throw pillows made from a vintage tablecloth. I really love embroidery and bought the tablecloth because I just loved the careful details. Naturally, it did not fit my table. It sat on my shelf for months. Then I measured the designs and ironed the cloth in preparation for cutting it. Then it sat on my ironing board for days. I sometimes hesitate to cut into new, mass-produced fabric in my stash. Imagine my hesitation to cut into a vintage, handmade piece! But I finally did. I cut out 12" squares, added borders, and attached soft pink envelope backs. I think that this was a good exercise for me. Now instead of having a beautiful but unused tablecloth, I have two very functional, pretty pillows. I won't be keeping these particular pillows for myself, but that's beside the point.

1 comment:

Heidijayhawk said...

i feel your pain sista. i am a terrible horder of fabric. not so much anything else. just fabric.