My relationship with blogging waxes and wanes. Sometimes, I get on a jag and get really excited about blogging. I've always been fond of writing and I spent many of my younger years heavily invested in LiveJournal (anybody else?!) so it makes sense that blogging as an extension of that form of writing would appeal to me. But other times, I can't muster up any blog enthusiasm.
One thing that does get me pretty excited about blogging is its archival quality. It tracks my perspectives and ideas chronologically. This makes it a perfect vehicle for year end reflections and check ins! I've never been one for new years resolutions, mostly due to the fact that my goals and desires morph and transform constantly, though I've tried to be more focused in recent years. I'm often quite surprised to see what I've accomplished when I go back to read these plans, though in some cases I've clearly dropped the ball. As I'll get into below, there's clearly something to glean from this balance.
My memory is rather terrible. Perhaps one of the few joys of having a terrible memory is that I can read a blog post from a year ago and it feels like a brand new story. So, I went back to the blog archive to check in with early 2017 Taylor and see what she had to say about goals for 2017.
At the end of my 2017 post, I listed 3 goals:
Release both a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter pattern in 2017
Do another artist residency
Find more ways/projects to connect my business with my work as an artist/educator
In all honesty, when I read this section of my 2017 goals, my heart sank a bit. I did not release two patterns this year. In fact, I barely released one. I also did not do a residency. And while I definitely brainstormed some excellent baby ideas regarding connecting my educational work, art, and business, I didn't make much concrete progress on that front.
This is the part where I would normally start to feel down and play the 'compare yourself to others' game. But instead, I'm going to look at the ways in which not meeting these goals helped me grow.
In terms of patterns, I was well on my way to release a spring pattern sometime in May, but I ran into a multitude of problems in the testing phase and ultimately had to table the pattern until further notice. This was a bit of a blow, but at the same time the issues with the pattern and the deadline were causing me so much stress that making the decision to wait was a major relief.
So I didn't release a spring/summer pattern. But my 'pattern fail' really encouraged me to streamline my pattern development process. I created a system for labeling drafts, managing pattern workflows, and keeping my pattern edits accessible and organized. This completely changed my mindset and process when working on Moderne and saved me countless headaches. My only issue that really held up Moderne's release was my own time constraints teaching nearly full time. I also came up with a concept for a fit party, which I think contributed immensely to Moderne's development!
I also had a big realization with my small business group this year. I realized that for me, creating patterns has never been about fashion with a capital F. So it doesn't really make sense for me to operate on a fashion schedule. Especially with only one or two days a week to work on the business! I also realized and wrote about how I tend to work slow. So I'm going into 2018 following this pattern creation mantra: Quality over quantity, timelessness instead of trend, art before commerce.
What I did accomplish this year
Part of the reason I did not meet many of the aforementioned goals is because I was busy doing other things I really love, like teaching! While I may have had goals to do this, that, and the other, so many other unexpected challenges and opportunities came up instead.
I taught a lot! (really)
I taught Draping 101, History of Fashion, a graphic design course on brand identity, a capsule wardrobe class, several 'Make it Fit' workshops, Intro to clothing design, many clothing construction workshops, a shirt making class, and more.
I got more involved locally
I'm now the co-chair of the town cultural council. I've also been helping out with local arts advocacy initiatives and cultural projects.
I printed Geodesic!
...which has been my most successful printed pattern to date!
I released Moderne!
After many hurdles and a tabled pattern, Moderne became real! Just under the wire.
I added more sewing tutorials to my website!
Not as many as I'd like, but I made a good start! I have a bunch planned for the new year!
I grew an awesome garden and honed my cooking skills!
Our best garden so far since moving to our country home! Tons of flowers, Pears, 7 types of tomatoes, an herb explosion, eggplant, cukes, peppers, and lots of delicious meals as a result.
Here's a paragraph from my last year recap that made me think about my 'goals' in a different way.
I feel that overall, 2016 had me going down all sorts of paths not yet traveled and the new directions I found myself in were sometimes disorienting. However, I feel like I have traveled miles outward, expanding my scope as an artist, teacher, and business owner, as opposed to miles forward in any particular direction. This was not my plan, but I think it's working out to my advantage and perhaps 2017 will be the year of convergence.
I'm not exactly convinced that 2017 was the year of convergence that I'd hoped for, but I think 2018 has the potential to be. So here are my goals for 2018:
1. Expand my teaching scope
As I've been building my presence at the college where I teach, I have the opportunity to design some of my own electives for the fashion department. This is something I've been brainstorming for years! I'm hoping to develop, among others, a semester long course on the intersections between fashion and art (especially conceptual art and performance). I also hope to bring these types of courses to you out in the world beyond the Boston Metro Area.
This also includes more pattern tutorials on the website, as well as a whole section dedicated to fit!
2. Get a few more blueprints patterns ready to release
Instead of giving myself a goal of how many or when, I'd just like to release a couple new patterns in 2018. Leavin' this one real loose and open.
3. Make more zines!
This was one of my goals for 2017 and I think 2016 too! In 2016 I created two zines but 2017 was not so fruitful. I have a few in mind and some that have already been started. I want to turn my capsule wardrobe workbook into a zine in early 2018. I have a few fun zine ideas kicking around as well. I also want to challenge myself to bring them to some sort of zine fest.
4. Continue to Hone My Wardrobe
I'm going to do the #makenine challenge this year and have some pieces I'd like to create for myself, both 100% selfish sewing and concepts that could develop into future patterns.
- Design a mini collection: Just for fun and because teaching in a fashion department has me jazzed about it, I want to create a season-less mini collection in the vein of Blueprints, but with its own identity. I'm not sure how it will materialize because I'm sort of against mass produced fashion, but I think it would at the very least be an awesome design exercise. Focusing on one solitary design at a time (indie pattern style) can feel a bit tunnel-visiony and unfortunately, I don't have the time or man power to release a pattern 'collection' a la Named patterns. So I'd like to at least sketch something fun for this year. I have some ideas.
- Get an intern! This will help with with above mentioned project.
- Exercise more! (This ones a constant, but doesn't hurt to add it in here)
- Play more music! I don't miss being in a band but I do miss the occasional jam session.
- Make more art! Printmaking, embroidery, drawing, painting, video, whatever. And maybe even integrate it into my Blueprints concept.
- Make some more historical costumes. I had a blast creating my ren faire costume and would love to take a crack at other eras, especially so I can show them to my History of Fashion students.