Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Judging from the comments you all left on my last post, it looks like we are all in the same boat! Glad to have you aboard! Heh. Boy, do I know it. Bethany, you hit on the second thing I hear (we all hear) often - "You know, you could sell that." I guess it's meant to be complimentary, indicating that the project is so well done, it has monetary value. That people would actually spend money on it. They would willingly buy it. But we all know the truth - no one would pay what it's really worth, when you factor the time that went into making it.
What I want to talk about, actually to mull over, in this public forum, is work. You see, I've been thinking through lots of stuff when it comes to the idea of work. What work is, and what it means to me.
Four years ago I started knitting. I was initially attracted to the pretty colors - that's what drew me in to the local yarn store. Then it became about the tactile experience, the idea that I could make something with my hands. It was empowering! It was FUN! It was a way to channel some energy into something productive. And it represented the opposite of the tech world I live in 9 to 5.
Very quickly I also realized it was a fantastic way to shut out all the turmoil going on around me. Believe me when I tell you, there was much turmoil. Which we can maybe cover in the future, but not for now.
Throughout this time, the little voice was asking, 'Is there a way to turn this into a new career?" "How can I make money at this?" "What's the new and unique thing I can bring to market?" And I had other voices saying the same thing, "You know, you could sell that." "You should open a Yarn Store!" "Why don't you sell what you make, then at least you would be doing something."
And of course, the entire Self Help Industry is/was touting the notion that earning a living at doing the one thing that makes you happy is the key to all salvation. There is the implication in all of this that a person is somehow a lesser human being if she hasn't cracked the code on melding the passion with the money making. I recall a conversation in which a painter told me he was struggling to find a way to be a full time 'artist'. He scorned the notion of being a "Sunday painter". His identity requires he earn a living from his painting and anything less appears to be unacceptable.
You see, I had allowed myself to be convinced that if I felt as passionately about knitting and spinning and fiber then I needed to find a way to monetize it. To earn my living off it. That it can only be considered real if I could translate that passion into earning a living. And this notion got me tangled up for about three years, causing me great angst. I questioned my choices, and asked myself how can I make change, change what I do with my time.
And then I stumbled across this, which made me hit the pause button. What is work? What is fun? What if the thing I have fun doing becomes work? Would it still be fun? What is more important? Work? Ego? Identity? Fun?
Many of you asked about the bobbin I posted yesterday. It's 4 oz. of Spunky Eclectic hand painted South African Fine wool, called Istanbul Sunset from Club offering in November 2009. I spun it up on Saturday and Sunday, and intend to Navajo ply it after it rests a bit. I like how it looks so far. And this isn't the first time that the spun singles are nicer than the fiber, to my eye at least.
Posted by knithound brooklyn at 1:54 PM