Phew. THAT was a lot of work.
I was chatting with Michelle at Green Kitchen about the experience of writing my book, Weekend Sewing, and found myself sounding a little bit like a self help pamphlet, going on and on about being "pushed out of my boundaries" and "evolving as an artist", but it's really a pretty accurate way to sum it all up. Initially, I believed that writing a book about sewing would be familiar territory. I could design patterns, I could teach. I had a fabric line. Good to go, right? Not so much.
Here's the thing about me. Most of my life has passed without the benefit of supervision, critique, or authority. I was essentially raised by wolves, every job I have had has either involved a leadership position or working for myself (unless you count my years as a very bad waitress: I'm the girl at that cute little ski resort restaurant who brought out your dessert but forgot your dinner), and I purposely married the president of my own fan club. Even though I had worked as a designer for many years, it was mostly for my own company. Nobody told me what to do, which I guess I believed was because... I was always doing everything right??? Oh Dear.
Enter Melanie Falick, perhaps one of the best editors around today. Heading into one of our first days together, I expected to wow her without even trying. Instead, I sat stunned and horrified as I listened to her sort through my fabric swatches and sewn samples, responding to her comments with the much more agreeable voice in my head: Too "cute"? I'm all about CUTE. Too Waspy? What the $%#@ is wrong with Waspy?? "enough with the gnomes" EXCUSE ME? gnomes are the new black. She tossed out words that I had never heard before, at least not to my face.
"Eew". "Yuck". "Sister Wife".
Panic set in then, and took a relatively strong hold. I cried a little. Wailed, really. And then, perhaps out of a sense of submission (and a bit of fear), I really started listening to her direction, and that of Brooke Hellewell, my extraordinarily gifted graphic designer, and things began to take shape in a way that made me really happy. Instead of taking every comment personally and responding defensively, I applied their ideas. The results were amazing, really. Me, but stronger. My voice, but so much more clear. Excited, I turned to other friends, asked their advice, and then actually TOOK it. My husband saw the change and HE began to offer me advice. OK, that actually landed him on the sofa once or twice, and hasn't come up since, but still. This was very new for me. Ultimately, I was pushed so far beyond my comfortable little rut that I could barely see the starting point... and I loved the results.
I realize now how lucky I was to have been given such direct and effective direction, and to have worked with the such talented people. Their talent and skill, however, would have done very little good had they never had the courage to tell me what they really thought, and had I never listened.
OK, enough about that, here is the final cover and some photos of projects. The photos are all by John Gruen, an exceptional photographer and without a doubt the most relaxed person on this project.... not that the bar was set very high by the rest of us. Weekend Sewing will be in stores early next spring, and amazingly, to be notified when this book is available, you can sign up at Amazon.