As a woman in my fifties and rapidly ascending towards my sixtieth year, (the actual number is 54 but 60 just feels like it is looming), I have been reconsidering my dreams and aspirations.
Yes, even us ‘old-uns’ still have them dontchyaknow!…
It is only in the past year or so that I made a conscious decision to turn my yarning skills into a business …(Some regrets that I didn’t do it in my thirties, but life then was a different life) … and this last year has been spent trying to build up my pattern library, develop a ‘brand’ and immerse myself into social networking …This very Blog is my ‘next step’ on that journey.
The social networking, I think, has been moderately successful; I have certainly ‘met’ a considerable amount of fabulous people. The pattern library is just a woolly fledgling still and I envision at least two more years to get that to a viable catalogue. And the ‘brand building is ongoing with a ton of ideas scrawled inside a stack of, not very pretty or organised, notebooks.
My ultimate aim is to be able to support myself and to not rely on the ‘disability’ benefit I currently need to survive on… (I have one, in fact more than one, of those enigmatically ‘invisible disabilities’, where people constantly say to me, ‘You look really well.’ I smile; whilst screaming silently inside my addled head!) This post isn’t about that though, maybe another one will be one day, just not today.
For now, my thoughts are filled with the perceived image of knitters. I say that in the full knowledge that we are NOT an homogeneous clump of makers. Media portrayals range from the Granny in her rocking chair to the ‘punky’ art student type. Then there are the male contenders, who’s foray into the craft always appears to be taken that much more seriously by the media, just like male ‘chefs’ when compared to female ‘cooks’.
And I am very well aware that, just as artists of other mediums, we all fall into a myriad of different ‘groups’.
This isn’t a feminist rant by the way, my all time heroes from the textile world are Elizabeth Zimmerman and Kaffe Fassett, both geniuses with their gender being completely irrelevant.
No, my dilemma/concern/issue, is how do I, as a middle-aged, overweight and not particularly photogenic woman, obtain the interest in my brand to achieve a modicum of success?
Not yet a Granny, despite being the right age to be one, an ‘almost’ ex Goth … (that black eye-liner has left an indelible mark that just HAS to be repainted over regularly for appearances sake)… art college does not, regrettably, feature on my CV and none of my friends write for any useful periodicals.
So what to do? Do I dye my waist length hair purple (again!), knit a chess-set where all the pieces are depictions of genitalia or maybe lose 8 stone and pose naked behind a crocheted bolster? … Or do I just keep plodding along and keep my well-worn fingers crossed that, maybe one day, a forward thinking publisher will contact me with a dream of an offer?
Please don’t misunderstand, I do LOVE what I do. Originally I gave myself a five-year deadline to become ‘viable’ so I really should be feeling positive about the things I’ve already achieved…perhaps the drizzly and foggy weather today has made my mood a little sombre. The clocks went back last weekend which means the darkening of the afternoon requires a work lamp to be shone across my lap as I work. And as I design my designs and scrawl my notes, I look down as I crochet or knit or write.
As I do this, I see my mother’s hands and wonder just a little, if perhaps, this time, I really have left it too late…..