slowly surely + xyz : a journey of (re)discovery

I AM. Flowing

 By InspiredJourney


Picture me:

Seated in an office chair, tucked left should directly next to the sea blue colored wall, behind a portable sewing machine. Though there is ample florescent lighting hovering over the five slot screen-printing machine and huge dryer, my corner is fairly dimmed.

No problem.

Having received what I labeled a boot-leg speaker (purchase ‘new’ from one of the local members of the homeless community) from Tchad, I had Padora set to Hiatus Kiayote station. Tunes were blasting at a more than moderate level. I like to feel music, plus my speaker competed with the musical choice for the shop. I don’t mind listening to reggae, but I tend to mix up my listening, and these DVDs were The loop day in and out.

I’m in the middle of stitching my first or maybe second creation when I notice I’m being watched. There, standing on the other side of my purposeful and intended barricade the printer, Baba. With his usual and self-described cautious dispostion and look, he canvases the space.

I take it that I’m only trusted as far as I’m seen.


I carry on.

With the ever-so-slight side eye, he gives a bit of a nod and half smile. The music didn’t really allow for conversation. Design the space to maximize it working for and with you, I say.

He leaves.

I resume.

Given the African centered consciousness of the people and business, the remnants I’m using are primarily what are described as African print. I’ll leave the conversation surrounding the origins of the prints, as I understand the origin is not from the continent.

I liked the first bag I produced. It was large with a bit of depth; designed deep enough so that one could fill it and not worry about the contents falling out. Being that I wasn’t capable of more complex designs beyond a simple front, back and strap, this design was all I could muster. The size, print, colors of vibrant green and red-orange lent itself to a ‘girthy’ three-quarter oval shape and strap. I fortified the lightweight fabrics with various heavy-bodied materials
found in my new stashes.

I sew.

I rip.

I sew.

This new dance of spot correcting my errors was to become the bane of my existence. However, I endeavored and eventually found success.

First bag done.

Several more to go.

The bag I kept.

The bags were simple, however I bumped into a few humbling glitches; one being the shapes of the remnants. UGH! As interesting as each piece were, they were a problem. Yes, I could create true one-of-a-kind pieces. But(!), that meant each bag would take FOREVER. Foreeeeever. I’m not exaggerating. I couldn’t create a pattern or system that would shorten the production time. This was a problem,
because being efficient meant more product and less cost per labor hour.

We carry on because it’s enjoyable and no one is immediately dependent on getting these bags sold.

In addition to creating, there were moments I’d fill in and assist, or smother a potential fire ready to rage. No problem, that’s why I came.

There too were times I was in the middle of some needless shit drama (Read: Carmen made upset when Baba decided to announce that Wynton had ‘a thing’ for me), and I didn’t appreciate it.

Granted, Wynton and I had encountered and fancied one another a decade prior to my sitting in this room of brewing shit. But it had been several years since I’d last seen him.

Carmen wasn’t having it. The look on her face as I quipped at Baba to “NOT SAY THAT!”, spoke volumes in screeching tones and an evil side eye ever known to mankind. More on that later.

My bags.

My lovely bags were coming together nicely. Ideas for
additional ones flowed effortlessly. The stack of finished sacks grew enough to be ‘showroom ready’, even though I was hesitant.

As I completed every other bag, I’d show it to gauge the response. Primarily positive, I felt like they made the cut, and fit, in terms of the overall theme of the store.

At one point Baba asked when I would put them on display. This struck a cord with me because all my years of making, fine art or whatever, I realized I don’t ever make things with the intent to sell them. Yes, making money with your skill is fantastic, but I realize one of my faults is that I could care less if others like the things I make. I make them from a place of genuine interest and expression of something
deeper than getting a sale. This is something of a perpetual issue, as my natural aesthetic of producing things in abstract form don’t readily resonate with the masses, and thus I shy from promoting them.

But this task of creating bags was different. I made serious effort to ensure they worked with the ideal customer of the shop, and there were affirming moments I’d succeeded in my effort.

Day three: shit brewing overload.

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