I am an artist, loving and honing my craft. And I was given an amazing gift at Christmas and last night. I am covered with goosebumps right now ~ and that is a very good thing.
My brother-in-law has shared his love of music with me over the years and has introduced me to some amazing artists and music that I probably wouldn’t have found on my own. And along with his gift of music, I received an added gift. He gave me the CD The New Basement Tapes , which the music itself is incredible, but the backstory is even more so. As luck (or Serendipity) would have it, the Showtime special documenting this collaboration was on last night. That and what I took away from it was my added gift.
It was very interesting to me to see how these amazing artists working in the same craft, came to the collaboration with such diverse ways of creating. Some of them came with several songs already written. Some of them came with maybe only one. Some of them worked better within the group and others, Marcus Mumford in particular, worked better on his own, perfecting the song before he would share it with the group. This is where the words insecurity and fear come in to play. I love this quote from Marcus and his words really made me think. “I think it’s really good to have the fear, the fear of failure and the fear of not being able to do your job properly. In this career I think it’s good to be close to the edge all the time. I think it keeps you somewhat fresh and hungry. I think when people stop getting hungry, especially with songs, then they start writing shit songs, you know.” He also said “there are some insecurities that may never go away and I guess your question is whether, as an artist, you need to have insecurity, I don’t know. Maybe.” And something Rhiannon Giddens said struck me “I fully admit that I bring a lot of my own baggage, but I can contribute. It’s amazing what the difference in having somebody believe in you – will do.”
That made me look at my own insecurities and fears. And made me appreciate them. It made me realize there is a place for both of those things in an artist’s process. I know I am a great knitter and I know that I am growing and becoming a better designer/engineer. The fear and insecurity keeps me reaching for more. They keep me searching for better techniques and cause me to rip out a neck edge three times until I get it just right.
Being paid as an artist is an interesting thing. It is amazing and I am still in awe of the fact that I get paid by Shibui Knits to do what I love. But it is a job and I have strict deadlines and strict guidelines that I work by. There is so much more to this knitwear designing than I ever imagined and I love every aspect of it. We as a team are creating approximately 20 pieces a year – a Spring/Summer collection and a Fall/Winter one. We have multiple yarns that need to be represented. Each piece has a multitude of deadlines that have to be met, from design concept and approval, to knitting it and writing the pattern, through photography and pattern design and layout. I won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty details, but you get the idea.
I get nervous every time I submit a design idea for approval to the team. I get even more nervous when I submit a finished piece to the team. But I now appreciate those nerves and my fear, because they cause me to strive to create the best design with the best techniques possible that will represent Shibui Knits in the best way possible. We adhere to a very specific aesthetic. We strive to produce pieces you will not only enjoy knitting but will want to wear for years to come. We also strive to provide you with the best fibers and yarns available.
And when we nail it, I get goosebumps, and that is a very good thing.