love, loss and the unfinished

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes work never begun

– Christina. G. Rossetti

All adventurous sewers have one. Mine is currently in the form of a large blue plastic laundry basket

Every year in that fatty bit in between Christmas and New Year I challenge myself to sort it out, i.e. finish or chuck items, but then the year rolls on and I move on to real projects, needed, wanted, loved things.

Mine is normally overflowing, I start by listing all of the items, this normally fills an A4 sheet, easily 30 plus items.The plan is to cross each one off as I deal with them, mostly because I like crossing things off lists.

Some of them are quite old, some started as something for a client and were discarded or replaced, some where personal projects not finished in time and similarly discarded, some got boring or became a challenge all ending up in the same space, some are just in need of mending and thus ignored if at all possible

Only this year, having I have cheated and continued my quest into January and filling my space moments I have finally toppled it. Maybe I just got feed up of selling the same old bags of fabric every year.

Yes, My unfinished sewing projects basket is empty, having inherited USP ‘s including discovered projects from as far back at the 1920s and found some in museum collections I am fully aware this is quite an achievement.

I felt quite chuffed for about ten minutes, then a little empty, like my life had lost a little bit of meaning, I think there’s a reason we leave projects unfinished, but keep them on hand, I think I might have messed with sewing karma. Perhaps they are a talisman for long life and continued craftiness? I can’t die or get a proper job, what about my USP’s?!

And now what have I gone and done? Now I am left with large pile of quite random finished items I have no use for, and have created a whole new job in re-homing them, and we all know any money I make from selling them will be re invested in more fabric.

Just as some people distrust those with clean desks, I think there is a good argument for being wary of those sewers who do not have USP’s, In fact I fear the projects we dont finish tell us more about ourselves than those we do.


About lholmes4keats

I have worked with Museums across the UK for the last ten years making costumes for exhibitions on everything from The Titanic to Tyrannosaurs. I have Run workshops and lectures on costume both nationally and internationally, my work has featured in exhibitions, films and theatre productions both nationally and internationally. In 2011 I curated The Needle is always at hand, an exhibition of dress based on Fanny Brawne's life while she lived at Keats House.
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