Limits & Boundaries

I've discovered over the course of recent years that I'm more creative when hemmed in by boundaries and limits.  If I can't have more, I have to make what I have feel like more.  Sadly, I wasn't as good at this when I was a broke first-year teacher, but I'm making up for lost time now.

I often cook this way.  I am collector of cookbooks, and also of ingredients that appeal to me while I am grocery shopping.  The collecting occurs more in order of inspiration rather than of necessity.  Then, when I actually want to eat or drink something, I look at the ingredients or recipes already at hand, and build from there.  I am a late bloomer, learning only in adulthood many have known forever: that fresh food tastes better and is better for me.

Cooking this way has caused me to learn how to use and enjoy foods with which I was not formerly familiar.  Similarly, sewing clothes made with organic and sustainable processes feels tricky and unclear, but still, I have more luck when I honor my boundaries.  I make an effort to sew garments that are responsibly sourced, comfortable to wear, are made of materials that pollute less than others, and do not require dry cleaning (at least until more Mulberry's-type dry cleaners surface).  These rules, when combined with my nascent sewing skills, mean that it takes a very long time to actually make something I want to wear.  But think of this...how often have you made an unplanned or very rushed garment purchase, and then never worn said garment?  Or only worn it a few times?  What a waste.

Every item of clothing requires the growing of fibers.  After that long and tricky process, the fibers are spun, dyed, knit or woven; they are cut, sewn, and then transported, possibly across oceans.  Even worse, if the fibers didn't originally grow in the ground, they were cooked in a vat after the oil was extracted from the bowels of the earth, or they were culled from animals that were most likely treated far less well than our pets, and then all of those other steps happened.

There is no way that most of the clothing sold today is priced in a manner that reflects the true cost of all of those steps, and until we change our habits collectively, we are not close to living responsibly.  My boundaries and limits do not stop me from shopping as much as I want them too, but they definitely slow me down.  And whether I make clothes for just me, or to sell to others at some future point, those boundaries also make me better at my craft.