Sunday, October 25, 2015

Crash Course in Grief

Create a space to mourn and connect

How did you tell me? 

It came gradually. The words slow from your mouth. He is dead. Car crash. I know immediately. Suicide. You blinked, and your whole life changed. Your eyes are open, readjusting to a new reality. This boy, we were just getting to know is gone, forever at 18. Your heart is broken, mine is broken for you and for Calvin.

I bang pots making noise, so you can hear me in your room, so you know I am nearby.

I don't know how to mourn the loss of this much innocence and potential, but here I am, taking a crash-course. Getting through the first few days was key, setting a pace. We eat regularly and take quiet walks. The time crawls by. We watch animated movies. Your friends come to visit. On the third day after the death I decided to make a simple alter in our living room, a special place I could connect with my feelings about the loss of Calvin. There is a candle to light and let burn out into the night. There are 18 smooth glass stepping stones, one for each year of his short life. There is a small plate for offerings of food, and a vessel for notes of comfort, and questioning.

Grief is a mental and physical experience. I remember this from when my mother died 18 yrs ago. I know we will need time to think deeply about what has happened, so I have decided that we should observe a 49 day period of mourning. I am borrowing the time frame from a Buddhist tradition. They believe it takes these days for the soul to be reincarnated. We will take these 7 weeks to be purposeful in our grieving, and ever gentle with ourselves in these fragile times. I am determined that we can grow through this experience, that there will be something positive that comes from it. We have passed through the first week already.

A difficult farewell

I added pictures of Calvin to his alter after the Memorial today. It was wonderful to see how many friends he had and how supported his family will be. I have never felt so sad though, it is hard to see so many broken-hearted people. Among them, my one and only child. I will not rush this time. I will savor the humanness I feel. I will hold Calvin in my heart. I will speak his name. From this emotional chaos we will make order. We will make a circle around each other. We will weave this lost boy into our soft tissue. And carry him along.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Week 2, October 5-11: SMALL

handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

When we make our own things the activity feeds us, slows us down and puts us in touch with a slower pace. For me, breaking things into tasks helps me move multiple projects along in a manageable way. I tend to sew in drips and drabs, sewing a seam here and there throughout a day. It is a pleasant and simple activity when broken into it's component parts.

When I look at the clothes I wear regularly, most of them are made by me, in fact as I make a mental list, it's impressive how many items I have produced over the years that I still wear. (taking a moment for small pat on back). This gives me impetus to try a little harder and add some new items.

This dress is part of a capsule wardrobe I'm developing for myself. The first one was made from a home made pattern based on a beloved J.Jill linen dress in black. I wore it to death. I have also worn the top two of these dresses more than is reasonable. I should really lengthen the pattern at the waist and spend more time finishing the garment. The top right is the one that I have been relying on for layering up over pants, with long sleeves underneath, or little button up shirts over top. These are mostly linen and cotton. I have considered making a version in Ponte de Roma or something a bit warmer for winter. You get a lot of bang for your buck in a simple dress, that is for sure.

So far this month I have finished the Miette Skirt in brown corduroy but honestly the fabric is way too heavy. I am thinking of deconstructing it and making it smaller, all the way around and then find some better weight fabric for the waste band and ties. Ah the joy of remaking...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Slow Fashion October

 I came across this on the internet last week and decided I would join in on Slow Fashion October, since it's something I am already doing, basically every month is a slow fashion month for me. 
The following prompt accompanied the post, so here goes.

Week 1,  October 1-4: YOU
First let’s introduce ourselves: Where are you at with all this / What first got you interested in Slow Fashion / What are your skills / What do you hope to get out of Slow Fashion October / What are your personal goals for the month / Do you have a special project you plan to tackle this month? 

Hi I'm Rowan, I am a 51yr old graphic designer and artist. I've made my own clothes on and off since I was in middle school. My mom always sewed her own clothes and also made things for us until we were at that regretful age when you suddenly can't tolerate home-made.  Obviously this is a generational thing. I was never a killer seamstress, tending toward lovely fabrics and super simple patterns that occasionally came across as dowdy but I have persevered and feel like I have a better grasp of how to make things fit better and of course my style has evolved over time.

Slow Fashion for me is becoming a political statement. More and more I feel I want to reject what fashion tells me I should like and buy. I hate how cheap everything has become. I want to dress practically for my lifestyle. I want my clothes to fit my body. I'm amazed by how long some clothes can stay in my wardrobe and be in service for years while others lose their usefulness. When I bought clothes I tried to adopt the spend more less often approach. 

My skills are varied. I sew, knit and felt. I am curious and will try just about anything once. My dad bought me a sewing machine when I graduated from high school and I still sew with it today. I just bought myself a used serger this spring, I'm super stoked about it. I am not the best crafts person but I am always trying to improve.

I hope to get inspiration to chip away at my sewing projects all month and into the future. I'm slowly formulating my wardrobe plan, taking note of what I like to make and wear and what looks good on. 

My personal goals are to finish a few projects already on the go and start a few more. 

No special goals to be stated, I just want to keep on making things. I'm excited to see what other folks are making.


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