I recently had the privilege of speaking on the telephone with my eleven-year-old grandson (not twelve, eleven). The conversation ended with me being inspired by him.
Initially, our conversation included clarification that he was calling from his own flip phone; I was invited to call him (almost) anytime. He also explained some of the steps involved in playing a video game he enjoyed, which he was also attempting to play while we talked. The game soon ended, however, and he returned his focus to our conversation.
After getting me caught up on end-of-school dates, planned summer activities, and family happenings (more mine than his), he asked me what I’d been doing recently. I told him about the beaded embroidery project I’d just finished, a raven with wings spread wide against a blue beaded sky border.
I explained that, while I was proud of this bead project, my first such endeavor, I was confused about what I should do with it next. On what type of clothing or utility piece could it be applied? I told him that I thought about applying it to a blue denim jacket, a white denim jacket, a backpack, or a purse. Or should it be stitched to something else? I wanted it to be on something that wouldn’t need to be washed too frequently as that could loosen the beads or dilute the underlying glue that helped to strengthen the internal structure. And I wanted to wear or use the piece so I could show off the raven beadwork.
He suggested a tote bag, which was definitely a possibility. In fact, I explained how, earlier in the day, I had dissected the bottom of an old and unworn men’s leather coat to create a small tote or book bag, including making a trip to the fabric store to purchase leather sewing needles and heavy-gauge thread, neither of which seemed to work when I tried to sew the pieces into the form of a tote bag. I expressed my frustration about the sewing machine not doing what I wanted and the pain in my hands when I took up needle and thread to do it manually. None of my ideas seemed to work.
He paused in the silence, sensing I had run out of words to say about the situation. Then he said, “Well, grandma, I trust you’ll figure it out.” He turned next to sharing what his dogs were doing around the house… and eventually the conversation came to an end so he could fix himself something to eat.
“I trust you’ll figure it out” is a slightly modified statement of one I used to say years ago (and taught) as part of a parenting program toward raising self-reliant children. Now it was gifted back to me by the son of my daughter on whom I had used this very same technique when she was his age. While it might be an example of turnabout is fair play, I was grateful for his input. Also, I truly felt inspired and empowered to resolve my dilemma, to figure out what to do that would best utilize this artistic creation. By the time I went to sleep that night, I had a plan.
I’m now on the hunt for a women’s black leather jacket. I had one years ago and I loved it. I am due for another, but this time, with some beaded embellishment attached. It’ll be interesting to see what shows up.