A new adventure

“Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life” – Mary Oliver

Sometimes inspiration can arrive quite suddenly out of the blue, with no invitation, and you are completely taken by surprise. Sometimes it is just a little thought, the merest whisper of an idea, but as it lingers and distills in your mind, it grows, it takes on a life force all of its own and sweeps you up with it in its enthusiasm to be explored. That is how I found myself a few weeks ago, sitting in front of my sewing machine (which I had to look for – its been that long) making bags.

Let me start from the beginning. I had been feeling at a bit of a creative slump.  I love drawing and painting – but what to do with all of my art. I have paintings and drawings lining the walls of my home and the Bed and breakfast. I have sold some, I have given away some, I have sketchbooks overflowing.  I had reached a point of ‘now what’ – creatively speaking.

So the idea that found me – just the littlest seed of an idea, was to print my art onto fabric. This fabric would then be used to make various items, perhaps…. ladies bags. I had purchased many years ago a ‘tote’ and ‘shoulder’ bag pattern – and never used it. I rummaged through my drawers, found the pattern, along with my sewing machine, and began making prototypes.

Being the ‘stubborn – lets just wing it’ creative that I am,  I redesigned the patterns – they were not exactly what I was wanting to create and needed improving. After much head scratching, cursing and re- takes, I was happy with the new looks.

I first painted the designs onto the fabric with fabric paint. This all though effective, proved to be way too time consuming. I wanted a different look and I wanted to be able to do more than one a week! I approached a local Screen printing company and after many painstaking instructions to the poor printer – I left my pieces of fabric in his hands. I held my breath and tried to be patient. The result was lovelier than I had anticipated.

So to cut a long story short, I have started a small bag making business. I have called it – ‘Nyoni art’, ‘nyoni’ being the Zulu name for ‘small bird’. ‘Nyoni’ was my childhood nickname and as you know, if you have been following my blog, I love to draw the beautiful ‘nyonis’ around us.

As with any venture or project, I know there will be obstacles to overcome and things to learn.  Apart from growing my venture, my next challenge is finding a seamstress! As much as I have loved doing all of this sewing I cannot possibly do all of it. My first batch of ‘Nyoni totes’ has almost sold out! Okay, so it was a small batch I admit.

I have decided to blog about the process and I would like to share it with you. Writing about something you love and want to do, and sharing it publicly – holds you accountable. It is making the commitment to ‘show up’. Whether this succeeds or fails I am going to give it my best shot.

I will end with a quote from my favorite author, Brene Brown – “You have heard the whisper, now stay the course.”

Nyoni tote bags

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