Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What Started it All (My Studio)

It all started one cold and rainy fall morning about a year ago. My daughter’s school offered up a yard sale opportunity for parents to sell their stuff, putting all the proceeds toward a very expensive field trip to our nation’s capital. We couldn’t really swing the cost, so, as much as I am uncomfortable with these things, signed up for the tag sale.

We didn’t have a lot to offer up. We’re relatively simple people, and much of the excess we did have was donated during the move. But one thing I did have was plenty of fabric. Not one to give up easily, I decided to spend the previous day sewing fabric plastic bag holders. I made the pattern up as I went along, and found a way to eliminate elastic from them. Not only ingenious, so I thought, but cost and time effective as well.

The big day came, and the crowd was sparse. More came to sell than to buy, as the cool mist called for so many to sleep in that Saturday morning. We only sold a few things, one of which was a bag holder. It drew the most attention of anything we had, and seemed to pique a lot of interest. But at the end of the morning, we packed them all up, along with old jeans and a few baking dishes, and headed home. Not enough money to make a dent in the trip, but enough inspiration to wonder if I could sell the bags elsewhere.

Over the next few months I wondered how I could do just that. Jobs are hard to come by, and the longing to work consumed me. So, in true “Julie form”, I decided to make my own work. I opened up an artisan studio on, listing the better made bags from the yard sale. Now I find myself several months later going in a new direction. The longing to make practical art pieces works well with totes and placemats, but not so well with the bag holders. And as of this morning, they are now being discontinued.

It’s a bittersweet thing, really. The piece that started it all is the first to “go”. But I’ve learned a lot, and continue to learn. Among other things, I’ve learned to narrow down my studio’s focus and create that which gives me energy – not saps it.

And as for the field trip? In true Asperger form, my daughter decided some of the stops would be too sensory for her to handle. We couldn’t argue with that. And neither could our checkbook.

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