My mother pulled out the first thing I ever sewed on a sewing machine the other day asking me to stretch it or frame it so that she can hang it up in the house.
I actually created it for a final project in a painting survey in college. Looking at it now it is so bad, but it was so revolutionary for me at the time.
When I first started art school, I really wanted to be a painter, but I favored watercolors, and the painting faculty at the university kind of had an antipathy toward the medium. So, I decided I wanted to be a printmaker, which I quickly found out required me to spend too much time (and money) at the school. I liked to work from home, so it just wasn't a good fit.
Then, I took a textiles class and fell in love. I had always been fascinated by fashion design,fabric, and pattern creation, to the point where I toyed with the idea of being a costume designer. But, I didn't know how to sew. That survey class taught me how to sew by hand, but I still had limited abilities. There were so many cool things I saw other people doing: fabric manipulation, free motion stitching, and I couldn't do them. It was disheartening.
When I enrolled in the painting class, I was incredibly frustrated. I consider myself a decent painter, but nothing I did was ever good enough. The composition wasn't right. My use of the materials wasn't proficient enough. And it drove me nuts that the grad student teaching the class was really more of a mixed media artist than a painter. So I decided that for my final that was what I was going to do too. And since it was going to take me forever to do it by hand, I was going to learn how to use a sewing machine to do it.
So I bought one, and I sewed line after line after line. Then I bought a darning foot and sewed circle after circle after circle. Eventually, I had a collage of blueberries using acrylic, watercolor, organza, wax paper, and stitching. And amazingly, the teacher loved it.
Looking at it now, it is a completely terrible piece. The stitching is clearly amateur and I must have had tension problems I didn't know how to properly fix. But I did it, and it opened a bunch of doors for me.
The piece is spread out over one of my chairs in my living room, and I have to look at it all the time. Even though it isn't the greatest thing that I have ever made, I can't help but being inspired all over again.