The House of Tatterdemalion


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October 20th, 2007 by tatterdemalion

I’ve kind of been Absent Without Leave, haven’t I? Though I prefer to think of it as M.I.A. (Missing In Action), because just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing things and thinking things. I was doing so well, for a while there, keeping up on posting once a week. But little things kept piling up and piling up, and after a while, you have to stop what you’re doing and deal with the anvalanche of little things. I don’t know exactly when I’ll get back into more regular posting, besides saying “when I get my boat back on an even keel”. In the meantime, here’s a few brief (for me) comments.

The largest, most time consuming thing I’m working on right now is cleaning my sewing room, and please feel free to send sympathy to me. It’s a highly unpleasant task, and one that I have to do with dreadful regularity, usually about once a year. It’s not that I have trouble cleaning up or being organized. I’m very good at cleaning up and getting things organized. People pay me to help them get cleaned up and organized. I’d pay myself to clean me up and get me orgranized.

There is, of course, the issue that all creative spaces are messy. That’s basically a necessity. Creativity is drawing meaning out of chaos, and basically the more creative the endeavor, the bigger the mess that’s left behind. But that doesn’t mean one can’t clean up after one’s self.

The real problem is that I have limited time in which to involve my sewing room. I can spend that time sewing, or I can spend that time cleaning my sewing room. And after spending the majority of my time doing all sorts of practical and often times very boring things, it just doesn’t seem like a very hard choice. I push away the pile of creativity-leftovers, and do something. And the next time I get a chance in the sewing room, I am faced with the same question and invariably make the same choice. And the piles grow larger and larger, and sooner or later I am ankle deep in rubble and out of space to work in for all of the stacks of stuff.

In other words, eventually it all comes to a head. I must either clean my sewing room, or give up on sewing. I might do the latter, except that if I don’t clean up the sewing room, I don’t have the space to do anything, leading to a life sitting in front of a flickering screen while my brains dribble out me ears. And that thought is one of the few things that is more distasteful to me than cleaning my sewing room, and so the dreary task has been begun.


Another thing I’d like to say a few quick words on is the Corning Museum of Glass, which I recently visited. Although it’s terribly cool and watching the live glass blowing makes you desperately want to become a glass-blower, it really doesn’t have all that much to do with the normal, textile related content of this blog. Except for, I guess, this piece, although that’s certainly pushing the definition of textile.

glass dress

glass dress from the front

glass dress from the side

glass dress from the back

Curiously, the items that I spent the most amount of time on where the ones that were, well, the most primitive (I was far to rushed to be able to take notes; it will have to be sufficient to say that the glass displays were arranged chronologically and these items were very, very near to the beginning):

old glass jars

more old jars

even more old jars

They’re lopsided. They have ragged and uneven rims. They’re tilted. They look practically childish. Or at the very least, perhaps someone’s first attempt. And yet, the little placards tell you how valued they were, how expensive and rare and treasured any glass work was. Which I don’t doubt. But it made me think.

My first thought, of course, was the machine made glass of today, how it is formed so much more “professionally” but is of so much less worth, which I suppose is an obvious train of thought.

But beyond that, and especially as I continued to look through the history of glass, I thought of what it took to get glass making started. It took swallowing one’s pride. I have no doubt that the original makers of the glass realized how misshappen and lopsided their work was. Imagine trying a new method of working with glass, and seeing such obviously tilted and off-set results. Imagine your frustration and embarrassment, and the temptation to give up since the glass seems so uninclined to give promising results.

But they didn’t. Obviously. In my mind I am sure they continued to work in glass, to improve, to continue to strive to higher levels of skill. Some might say that they were working for future generations to build off of, and in some ways I suppose it’s true. But I guess I take it as a more personal challange to those of us with a perfectionist bent (naming no names, but namely me).

What things are we held back from simply because we “can’t do them good enough”? And is that really any kind of a good reason? Is it really better to stay within in the confines of what is known, what has already been studied, what can be taught to you by some other person? Or should the same thing that drives us to desire perfection—or at the very least, a high level of skill—also drive us into the unknown, the things we do embarrassingly bad at? Or even to the things that other people can do—and do far better than us. Is there any worth to avoiding the embarrassment of reaching beyond our skill level? Or is that something that serves only to hobble us?

Posted in Contemplations | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. Linscee Says:

    “Creativity is drawing meaning out of chaos.” I love that. Can I use that?

    I sympathize with you having to clean your sewing room, but I’m jealous that you have a sewing room. I am trying to claim space in a spare storage/office area to move my sewing equipment into.

    I am a huge fan of glass. I really enjoyed seeing all the glass pieces. The glass garment was amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    Welcome back. 🙂

  2. Tatterdemalion Says:

    Hi Linscee,

    Thank you for the welcome back. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    The glass museum was really cool, and I’m sure I could have stayed there longer. I do have some more pictures, but it’s really hard to get pictures of things behind glass. If you remind me faithfully, I can post more glass pictures. . .

    Thank you also for your sympathy. I’m pretty impressed I have a sewing room, too, but least you think I have a grand old studio with lots of natural lighting and plenty of space for cutting things out, I have to tell you that it’s only 8 feet by 10 feet. And the ceiling slopes down to a little over 5 feet on one side. And it’s on the north side of the house so it doesn’t get much light. Nonetheless, it’s a space I can leave my mess until I can get back to it, and I’m very glad to have it.

    You may certainly use my pithy saying, though it would make me feel even warmer and fuzzier if you credited to me; that way I can feel all famous and important.

    Hold your breath for another post next weekend!

  3. Linscee Says:

    I will absolutely give you credit for your words!

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