When I was growing up in the middle of nowhere, I was a member of a youth organization called 4-H. For 10 years, every summer, I sewed a project (dress, suit, whatever) that was judged at the county fair (and sometimes at the state fair). When I went to college I got a job doing alterations at a tailor shop, and then later I used my sewing skills to make scenery out of fabric.
Reading and understanding blueprints for a set has always been easy for me. In fact, I have a hard time comprehending how anyone could not understand a ground plan. I think it is so natural for me because I began learning how to decipher a pattern when I was 9. That early training in how to read a pattern has been invaluable to me in my career. Like the man said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards…”
Sewing in my mother’s dining room, we tried to keep the thread on the floor to a minimum. When I worked at the tailor shop we were always in such a hurry that we just snipped off extra thread and dropped it wherever we were working. At the end of the day one of the closing jobs was to sweep the floor. Sometimes a small wastebasket would be full of thread after a busy day.
Andre Petterson is a mixed media artist based in Vancouver, Canada. He makes these beautiful works using a combination of photography and paint and ink. I am particularly drawn to these images of sewing machines and piles and piles of thread. Sewing can be very frustrating when things are not going well. You can feel tangled up, and it can be very isolating. These images bring that back for me, but in a lovely, nostalgic way.
All images from here.