It's a topic that came up frequently when I was attending school for fine art. It's not personal. I'm critiquing what you've done, not who you are. Your work is not you. This is a difficult concept for most creatives because they feel they've birthed forth these ideas or objects and the time and effort put into perfecting the skills to produce. It is intimate. And it's particularly difficult getting the point across to a bunch of young adults with the expanse of the future filling their eyes. They are the most vulnerable.
I keep those days close to my breast because I like to remind myself that my creations are not me. I like knowing there is space between us even if it's small. Working these past couple years has not hardened me to my creative spirit, but softened me to accept the space even if at first I feel like a cringe may be crinkling the corners of my mouth. Working for publication will ultimately do that to a person. I normally have a clear idea of colors and fibers and styling when I design a piece, but to be a designer-for-hire means releasing it all to the people in charge. This is a great thing. For me. Releasing that level of control encourages the space to grow and I'm not as exposed to that vulnerability of being too close to the project. And, in this business, designs aren't formulated solely of my head space - it's a creation in response to a demand - filling in the pieces of someone else's concept. That in itself is a challenge and one I enjoy.
I didn't always feel so pliable in the hands of the publishers... in the beginning I worked up a sample in this bright, multi-colored wool selected by the publisher that was so far removed from my original concept I thought I was never going to be able to finish the piece. It seemed nonsensical at the time. When I got the sample back I just tossed it in one of my yarn bins - I couldn't stand the reminder of the summer lost under the weight of that wool stole. A year or two has passed and I find myself going back to that stole now and again. I've worn it a couple times and dare I say, am beginning to like it. It is this slow turn that made me go back to more of those early designs. I've begun re-knitting a few of them in different yarns or colors and in a way, taking them back - making them mine again. I feel like this is a great new revelation - reclaiming.
I was chatting with the amazing Allyson from HollaKnits.com about a week ago - catching up and discussing some of the progress with my book. She reminded me that the book can also be reclaimed in some ways. Of all my designs, the book collection is the one I feel most connected to and so, it will be nice to see it in its finished form and revisit some of the designs when I have grown in perspective over the two years of production.
I've been working on two pieces for publication and I have yarn headed in for two more. In between the relentless repetition of math and knitting and counting and ripping I've been taking time to knit the Textured SemiCircle Shawl for that joy of reclaiming (designed for KnitPicks Sock Yarn Shawls Collection).
I used 2 hanks of Tanis Fiber Art Yellow Label and US9 needles. The only edit to the pattern is that there is a section of chart that is to be repeated, and I knit just as charted without the repeat since I knew the shawl was going to be plenty big in the heavier yarn and larger needles.