Sunday, May 12, 2013

How to Learn New Things and Make Other People Happy In the Process

There are two types of making that I do: things I make for myself, that I concept, design and build, and things I make (sew, specifically) for other people. Lately I’ve been doing that latter, doing sewing alterations and commissions for other people. Right now, I’m making a pair of curtains for someone else.

Even though I have to give away the final product, sometimes this is the most therapeutic type of making because, since it’s not my design, my design brain can rest and my making brain (and hands) can be most engaged.

The problems are different. Instead of asking myself 'how do I want this to look?' I ask, 'how can I make this work?' With some Internet searching and problem solving, I can usually fix any problem I come up against. It feels so good!

Another problem it fixes: sometimes when I make things for myself, I get in a rut and start making the same things. I use the same processes, because they are the ones I am use to and know will work. But when I make something for someone else, they often ask me to make something I have never made before or add details that I have never tried. I love the challenge of this and I always learn something new that I never would have otherwise. 

It feels great when I look at the finished product and  get instant feedback and visual confirmation that I successfully figured out a problem. It's also a great feeling you get when you hand over the finished product and it is exactly what the person wanted. Those feelings are addicting.

If you want to learn new skills and make other people (and yourself) happy as you go, I would suggest making some things for friends, family or anyone else who has a need. Their input will first make you nervous because you don’t know how, then excited to fix the problem, then ecstatic once you finish. I want to do it more. Any requests? -Alice

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