August 2016 Newsletter

Summer continues with the hot dog days of August. My daughters began a new school year two weeks ago, and the cycle of the calendar continues. The energy shifted from home to school, and I find myself a bit freer to create, write, explore, and seek.

Those of you who sew, craft, identify with the concept of RIO: rip-it-out. It's a frustrating reality to creating, when you make a mistake, must correct, and re-do a project. It's a fact of life, and how we learn, and how we pay attention. It's how we get in touch with the fine details of our work. But rework can lead to serendipity, to finding out the meaning of the myth. We see the unexpected, and can be surprised by the end product. We experiment, see the science behind the scenes, and glory in the satisfaction of success.

Since I released my last message, I completed several more of my Baggy Bunch purses. I also completed a new pattern for a Gothic/Halloween banner. From various fabric remnants, I produced several zippered pouches. It's a pleasure to reuse a pattern, to perfect the creative process, and wind up with a quality item for others to enjoy.

The key to most projects is perseverance.  It's tough to stick it out when you want to quit. Sometimes quitting is the thing to do, but in other situations, you must hang in there. You've got to work through one failure or setback after another to get the sweet reward. Again the process can be more important than the product.  

Grit might be the life-long quality that gives the individual the edge and the will to keep going in the face of adversity. This summer, I read Angela Duckworth's "Grit" and Andy Weir's "The Martian." One book explains the power of perseverance while the other exemplifies grit.This month, instead of food for the belly, I offer food for the mind in the form of book synopses of both texts.

Whether you have family starting school or not, I think most of us sense the beginning of something new in autumn, of gaining more knowledge, and of the infinite possibilities that lie in the future. I urge you to take on a new hobby, learn a new skill, complete a project, or find a challenge this fall.

Camille Sommer
Owner and Crafter
Orange Moon Studio

Quote from sculptor Carl Andre:

A man climbs a mountain because it is there. A man makes a work of art because it is not there.

Food for Thought:  Grit
In Angela Duckworth's bestselling book, "Grit," the  author takes a look at the power of perseverance in the cultivation of success and survival in a challenging world. She examines the reasons that some West Point cadets, spelling bee competitors, cartoonists, and others achieve their goals while others do not.  A key factor is continuing to strive forward, of fighting the desire to give up. The book gives the reader tips for assessing grit, growing grit, and for teaching your kids how to be gritty. My only gripe with the book:  the lack of stories of people who have grit yet have not reached, or never reached, the apex of success they coveted.

For a fictional example of grit, consider reading Andy Weir's debut novel, "The Martian." Stranded on Mars by his NASA crew, presumed dead and cut off from communication, astronaut Mark Watney relies on all of his knowledge and resources to stay alive. His resourcefulness helps him establish contact with Earth and survive on a desolate planet until he has a chance at being rescued. The text reads a bit like a handyman's how-to manual but the reader receives the reward of cheering on this everyman hero to the story's end. The reader may develop a new reverence for the simple potato, roll of duct tape, or the DVD collection of "Three's Company." Even if you have seen the movie, the book engages the imagination and the enthusiasm for our fellow human beings.