I learned to sew as a young girl – first with Barbie and doll clothes and then moving into my own wardrobe as a teenager and eventually sewing for my own little family. But in junior high school the first item I learned to make was an apron to use in the cooking part of the class.
For Chrismas that year I made my mother an apron, I was very proud of my accomplishment and thrilled by her response. A few years later she passed away and I found the apron in a drawer – still looking lovely and unused. I was crushed … I understood that she wanted to keep it in good condition and perhaps it was a special treasure to her. But she totally missed the point of the gift – it was for her to use.
Perhaps you have had a similar experience, the quilt gifted to a friend that gets put away “to save it for good”, a pretty vase that is put in the cupboard for special occasions and never seen again? How sad that is!
Another phrase on my studio wall illustrates my feelings about this – “it’s not precious” As a dyer, printer and painter of fabrics that are used in my artwork, sometimes I make a fabric that is so beautiful that I want to save it … for what? Eventually I will use it, so why not use it now? It might be the same with an expensive paint brush or gorgeous hand spun yarn – the potential of the product has not been realized – it must become something in order to fulfill its purpose. The item was created for use – not to be stored away in a drawer!
A second part of “it’s not precious” is “there will be more”. It’s not precious, there will be more. More fabric, more brushes, more paint, more yarn. And it will be waiting there for us to use, to make it real.
A brush may be hand made, from the rare wood, special sable hairs, hand crafted with care and attention but it is a brush, designed with a purpose in mind. My brushes are not beautiful but they are used, over and over and over again…there will be more!
Then I start thinking about how I’ve lived my life – my life is precious and sacred, not doubt at all. But what happens when I say “no” to something because it might be too special, or I don’t feel worthy? It becomes a road not taken, an experience not enjoyed. Isn’t that rather selfish – the door is open and I can choose – close it or walk through.
I always want to walk through…and use the good stuff!