The series where we talk about having a thoughtful stash.
We were talking about stillness on this here blog last week and it seemed to be a post that resonated with quite a few of you. I'm sure this struggle is probably something that many of us face, especially in our society, at this time, and especially at this time of year. Your comments on that post got me to thinking about how I craft, why I craft and how much I make, and whether that crafting fulfills its purpose. See I think that mostly we craft to satisfy our souls. Creating feels good, and I truly believe it is one of the most deeply satisfying activities we can take part in as humans.
BUT ….then we add all these very human layers on top of it. Layers of pressure about what we are making, how much we are making, and judgement about how well we are making it. About whether we can make what we see in our minds eye and practising in the gap. And it complicates what should be a simple and joyful process. It should simply be about getting into the flow of creating and taking that joy with us into the rest of our lives.
Belinda's comment on the stillness post really hit the mark for me.
The buzz we were talking about in last week's post; the idea of creating beautiful things, adds up to a lot of possibility roaming around in my head. Part of Stash Less for me is to be more conscious about how I make, what I make and hopefully calm the buzz down to a dull roar so I can be more mindful in the rest of my life. I really think Belinda is onto something. For me the sheer volume of ideas and things I want to make are the problem, and not the actual crafting.
And although the context is slightly different (Seth was asked a question about status anxiety), I've been thinking how discontent and the quest for more, impacts on my making. And how our culture definitely plays a part in creating that discontent, and from a very young age.
I'm currently avoiding (boycotting!) one of Australia's two big supermarket chains. Their main marketing approach in the lead up to Christmas is all about marketing to kids. After you have paid for your goods they hand you cards with animals on them. The more you spend, the more cards you get. So the kids beg (yes beg!) us to go to Supermarket X rather than Supermarket Y, when we are buying our tinned tomatoes and toilet paper. And here is the hook. Not only are they giving out cards, but they are selling folders to put your cards into. The animal folder details ALL of the possible cards you can collect. So not only are they giving you something for free to collect, which kids love, they make it clear that there are many more to collect and you don't have them all. When you put the cards in the folder there are all these gaps. The folder (which could be fun if you looked at it from a particular point of view) makes it clear what you don't have!! The whole marketing plan is around telling you that you don't have enough. You need more! You aren't finished! You aren't complete until you have them ALL! And my kids fall for it hook, line and sinker. Chasing cards - not happy with the cards they do have, full of desire for the ones they don't have. And I hate it and have been actively seeking out Supermarket Y wherever possible.
We have been trained to respond to the "more is better" "bigger is better" song. Fear of missing out and wanting to own the pretty. Add the internet to mass marketing and it is no wonder people are leading lives filled with unnecessary desire. And even if one of our main family values is "stuff doesn't make you happy", I know I am affected by it and need to be conscious. I go through my pinterest page of pretty frocks it's like the idea part of my brain goes into overdrive. I would love to make this and this and this and this. I would love to wear. I would love to…..
I never feel like I have enough time to make all the things I want to make. I often feel dissatisfied with the amount I achieve. The sheer volume I expect to make is totally nuts. Totally unrealistic expectations and making that is filled with underlying pressure for more. A fine example is the picture at the top of the post. That is about half of my frock fabrics. I have ideas (and the fabric) for at least twelve frocks for myself. Twelve frocks. Really. Who needs twelve frocks? Why am I wasting time and energy thinking about that many frocks. Each one of them takes up some brainspace; a tiny corner filled with the niggle of desire.
Reading Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed's blog post a few days ago I saw this;
I am invested and I am definitely passionate about making my own, but I've been thinking that maybe my view of how much I want to make for myself is more akin to buying fast fashion. I want to make ALL the things, in the same way I could buy ALL the things. I don't just have one or two ideas, I have thousands of them, and I don't rein them in by consciously dumping those that are less worthy or unrealistic from a time perspective. So I am left wanting. It's almost like my craft can't fill me up the way it should or could, because my expectations are so out of whack with what is possible, and would make me happy. There will never be enough time to make all I want to make. BUT nor do I need all I want to make.
Maybe setting some realistic goals of what I could achieve next year and working hard to make those as beautifully as I can - getting them right? - will lead to less buzz and more satisfaction. It will mean letting go of some ideas but I'm game. I feel excited that Stash Less is making me more conscious.
Any thoughts on this post my friends?
Previously Stash Less - Why Restrictions Rock!