Let me tell you a story.
Years ago, I came into a little money and I set out to buy some new art supplies. I was so excited to buy something nicer than the student grade stuff to which I had become accustomed. I bought a tube of beautiful ultramarine watercolor. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it felt scandalous to hand over that much money for one tube of paint. I took it home, thrilled with the idea of future artworks that would surely be elevated by the addition of this brilliant color. But somehow, no project seemed good enough. After all, I had spent so much money on this small amount of paint, I had to be sure I knew what I was about to use it to its fullest potential. The story ends with this tube of paint going unused until it dried up. And so, dear reader, pay heed to this hard-learned lesson. Nothing is sacred.
There is no tool that is better served by going unused. No material better served unworn. Use what you have to the fullest extent. Now, I’m not saying that you should spend money you don’t have on supplies, nor am I saying that expensive materials lead directly to better art. Rather, don’t get too impressed with the raw materials you already have. As soon as you start treating your tools with more reverence than your own ideas, your creative process and growth will slow to a halt.
I still struggle with this idea, and by way of confession, I offer these two recent examples:
The blue shirting I purchased from Mood Fabrics. It’s a limited edition material, which is unfortunate because now that I see it I would love to make a skirt of it as well. This is the first time I have purchased fabric online, and I was very anxious about that. I’m very pleased with the material, and I can’t wait to see it done up in a shirtwaist.
My camera did not do this material justice, it is a much more reddish/rusty brown in person. I know the rayon isn’t historically accurate for the skirt I’m making, but the color and weight is exactly what I was looking for. I love the weave of it and I have some embellishments of my own planned for the finished skirt. Very exciting stuff, yet still anxiety-inducing.
Before coupons, the material for the skirt would have cost me about $50 and the blue shirting cost around $30. Far and away more money than I like spending on anything. I know it’s not right, but to my thinking, it makes a certain kind of sense to leave this material untouched. If I never start, I can never make any mistakes, and if I don’t make any mistakes, then my money wasn’t wasted. If I think about it too much I’ll drive myself crazy.
I just have to trust that what I have imagined is much better than two piles of very nice fabric. If all goes well, I start pinning and cutting tomorrow. Wish me luck.