So. This is my first post in how long? I have no idea where the summer has gone.

That’s a lie. Time passes as it always does, and I continue to be oblivious to it’s passage until a big enough chunk of it to be noticed has slipped away. I also am aware of the things I’ve been doing or otherwise occupied by that have used up that time.

Today is another day in a long line of days like today: too many things I want to do, too many things I need to do, too many things others want or would like me to do, and complete inability to focus on any one thing and feel productive. It’s basically been the story of my summer. What was supposed to be a week or maybe two of finally making my “dream” bag seems to have consumed the entire summer between planning, pricing out supplies, buying supplies, making the bag, and fighting the sewing machine. I finally have all the original intended components done, but I’ve added a fourth idea, which I can’t really work on until a few more supplies I just ordered arrive. Which is frustrating. I want to wrap this thing up definitively so I can focus on something else. I’m also not sure if the fourth piece will integrate with everything, require adjustments of the just-finished pieces, or make some or all of the bag obsolete and require similar but new components to be fashioned.
I’m not entirely content with the way my bag turned out, either. It has some really cool qualities, but falls short on some of my intended goals for why I wanted to make my own bag in the first place (which is what has inspired the fourth component, which has lead to guilt about how much time this whole project has already taken, whether or not I’ve “wasted” time and supplies, whether or not I will ultimately make use of some of the parts of this now four stage bag or not…self-doubt, guilt, frustration…my constant companions).
Making things has become less of a hobby and more of an obsession. It has grown out of being an artistically inclined human, certainly, and I can trace the desire back to being very young. I used to design my own transformers (among other things), from the concept to the packaging to the actual steps the toy would take to transform (I wonder if I have any of those drawings kicking around somewhere still?). I lacked the tools and materials and know-how (and/or the drive to overcome those limitations) to do anything about that as a kid. I got small tastes of making my own stuff whenever I carved something or pieced together a small leather belt in scouts, then again while silk-screening my art onto shirts in high school, but I have forever wanted to make all my own stuff.
Probably the biggest “make my own stuff” kick happened once I became a home owner. I grew up with a dad for an architect who did a lot of stuff making around the house, and a grandfather who not only built his own house from the foundation up but was the family “Mr. Fixit” when it came to just about anything. They obviously were inspirations for my desires, both from watching them work but also hearing the stories and family “legends”, so when I finally had a home (and even more amazingly, a wonderful wife), I finally had the opportunity to “do it myself”. That has proven fun, rewarding, but also extremely frustrating and overwhelming. Whenever we need something or to fix something, every fiber of my being wants to do it myself. I can barely bring myself to call the plumber, or an electrician, let alone hire a contractor for bigger jobs. I feel compelled to do it myself, even if I lack the tools, the skills, or general knowledge, because I will acquire one or all of those things, dang it!
I think it’s a defect, honestly. It’s not entirely logical. I’m not getting any younger (not that I feel like I’m getting older, mind you), I have very specific things I want to accomplish. Should I really spend my time building custom cabinets, or a shoe bench, or a mud room storage system, for example, when we could just buy something? There’s that annoying part of me that says I have to do it myself, it has to be custom, even if it doesn’t look quite as “good” (which is in the eye of the beholder) as something store bought. In fact, I prefer hand-made to store bought, usually. I’m just compelled to make it all and do it all through my own means.
Sometimes I need to punch that me in the face.
Anyway, in case you haven’t noticed, this post is a ranting, venting, check-in to let everyone know that I am, indeed, still alive. I haven’t even posted very consistently to either my business or personal FB pages. The bag has consumed my summer so far, as has scouting. I did just wrap up the annual week at summer camp, complete with a handful of new moleskin sketches. I don’t have the motivation to scan them, edit them and post about them yet. It was an emotional week for me, as my middle son’s anxieties, compounded by the mental weight of his diabetes (in my non-professional opinion), overwhelmed him on day one and I ended up bringing him home. I became a volunteer and a leader because of him, I knew he wouldn’t get involved at all if I wasn’t. This was the first summer he and I haven’t camped together, and I missed him terribly. Hopefully I’ll have my head screwed back on straight enough next week for the annual moleskin sketch round up.
As I said, I finished the intended components of my bag, but I lack the motivation to take the proper pictures and film the video I’ve been intending. I used the two main pieces during my week at camp (the third wasn’t done yet), and aside from a few poorly executed stitches coming undone in non-key areas, it worked pretty well. My perfect bag that now exists is being challenged by a new idea, though, so I’m not content. I don’t know if I ever will be. I hope I’m wrong.
I started a PMD drawing in Photoshop weeks ago now, testing out my new Razer Orbweaver thingy. It’s an awesome device that in the short time I was using it really sped up and streamlined my desktop-based digital art making. I’ll have to finish that drawing before it becomes irrelevant.
As always, there are a handful of new shirt ideas kicking around my skull. I haven’t had or made the time to do any real marketing and promotion, so it’s tough to conjure up the drive to continue to churn out the ideas right now. The bag obsession totally sidetracked me this summer and has completely clouded my judgement and thought process.
Of course, there’s the “sequential art” stuff: IPMDT, Inside Toby’s Brain, and Revery. They are getting higher on the list, finally.
And yes, there are still a bunch of different things I want to make: the fourth bag component; a lightweight, multi-function rain poncho that can be worn a few different ways and turns into a hammock; a wool poncho with some separate wool sleeves…if there’s not more on this list, there is bound to be before too long.
If you’re still reading, I’m impressed, as there isn’t much exciting to keep your attention in this post. No pretty pictures this time, which is probably not good for an art website. School is starting back up in the next two weeks, which will hopefully help me get out of my fog and back focused on being productive. I still have that goal list kicking around (which, if I’m honest, this bag project was on). I’ll do my best to make things interesting again soon.