About two years ago I started a book detailing the projects I was working on, more than anything as a reminder for myself of measurements and designs. I was attempting to get away from the habit of scrawling measurements on the back of an envelope and then losing said envelope! Looking at the book today I’m delighted with it. It’s become so much more valuable than I realised when I set out.
Making notes the book this morning, I was looking at the wardrobe that holds my ever-growing fabric stash and wondered if I’ve actually ever finished ANY projects?! And where are they if I did? But a quick flick through the book reassures me that I’m getting somewhere and it also serves to chronicle the development and how I’m now attempting more technical and ambitious projects. It doesn’t have details of everything I’ve made, but it shows a real progression in my work and ideas.
The book also helps me realise where I have stumbling blocks – the pages with notes on a project that have been there for a long time with no update mean there is something wrong with the idea that I’m not able to finish the project. Then next step is to then identify the problem and solve it.
Take this screen/paravent, for example. We found a great frame in the street, made of solid wood and the hinges were in good condition. We already have one screen and wanted a second, so we can screen guest beds when we use the living room as a guest room occasionally, and things like that. I painted the frame and we found beautiful black fabric – an opaque cotton and a lace – to make an opaque but ornate screen. But it’s been in the book for ages. I just can’t get past trying to figure out how to hook the fabric onto the frame when the central fabric screens are made. I can’t find anything in Brico or the other DIY shops to serve as a bar on the top and bottom. Looking at it again now, I think I need to rethink how to put the fabric onto the frame. Back to the drawing board!
The photo above is one of my favourite pages in the book. It’s the very start of the idea which became the main focus of a Crowdfunding project I ran two years ago. And the photos are also of the first items I produced in this style. When I think of the textiles I’m now producing in the same style, the development of technique over the last two years is so encouraging!
I think also in the back of my mind, I’m anxious to have some sort of reminder of all of the work I actually got up to when I wasn’t officially working for a recognised organisation. It’s proof to myself that I am moving forward and learning, even though my professional life was on hold at that time. When you’re on your own in a workshop all day (and at that time I didn’t know anyone in Brussels so there were no wonderful Crafty Sunday‘s!) it can be difficult to see where you’re making any real progress.
I also have a few pages at the back of the book detailing my fabric sources; where I found the fabrics, how much they were and the size of piece I found. These pages are soooooo handy! These fabrics above were once-off vintage finds in a flea market. I have to be careful about how much I use because they’re unique and I won’t find the same again!
I recommend to anyone who works on their own projects, whether creative or otherwise, to keep a log of their development, whether achieved milestones or works-in-progress. It will come in very handy for those treacherous moments of self-doubt and help you answer the question “What am I doing here?!” Just open the book and the answer will be right there!