Block 351: February 21, 2014


I don’t feel there are enough hours in the day right now.

Date: February 21, 2014

Crane: 351

Days Spent on Project: 370

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Robin H.

Robin was one of the drapers- and the assistant shop manager- in the Yale Rep’s costume shop when I went to the Yale School of Drama; she still is, too.

The second semester of the first year, the costume designers (and any other student of the school so interested) would take a draping class with her. Every Friday morning, we’d be asked to bring in a piece of research showing a garment from a specific historical period and then, over the next few hours, we’d have to drape the garment using cotton muslin on a dress form. It was my first time taking any kind of draping/patterning class; I can’t believe I was naive enough to walk into the first class that year and wonder if I’d ever learn the “right” way to set in a zipper.

I learned a lot more than that.

Even though it was only a one semester requirement, I ended up signing up for the class every year I was there. Practice makes perfect, right? For three years, I would play around with draping in three dimensions, trying to understand how to sculpt fabric from a sketch, painting, or photograph. I wanted to learn the difference between periods, how seams shifted and our silhouettes changed. I’m still not great at it, but I can do it now well enough to get me out of some design situations I place myself in.

Robin was always incredibly supportive of me. I’m not sure she ever thought I was good at what I was doing, but she would always work with me on the designs that I would bring to the table. She, she alone (!), didn’t roll her eyes at me (in front of me) when I brought in sketches of a 19th Century play that had all the characters (men included) corseted and bound and buckled into their clothes; she went with it, and asked me to go farther, especially if I was going to make that choice. She would drape several 1950s outfits for me the next year, when I did a Douglas Sirk-inspired Shakespeare. She and I went to town trying to recreate some Jacques Fath gowns.

I’ll always be incredibly thankful that she went along with what I designed, and tried to support my choices with her skill.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got Florence + the Machine on this morning. I thought it wasn’t going to be the best choice, but it’s been a good listen.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I think the crux of the matter, and this project strangely, is that I just need to relearn that I have worth. I need a better sense of self-esteem.

I’m been thinking a lot lately about how to maintain having a positive self-esteem and not seeming like an egotistical bastard.

There’s a part of me that understands that I’ve had a great education, that I’ve worked on some really great projects, that I know some cool people, that I CAN draw well and that the grad school criticism of my drawing skill was just an attempt to be better, that this project is pretty cool and that it’s kinda awesome that I’ve been doing this for over a year, that I am somewhat attractive, that I should hold my head high in my daily life, and that I can and should hold my own in this city…

… But then there’s a part of me that feels ashamed of thinking those thoughts; somehow, does thinking those thoughts mean I’m actually the opposite?

If those thoughts were actually true, wouldn’t I be in a better place with my career? Love life? Bank accounts? Friends?

How does one maintain a balance? How does one truly believe that you are a gift without seeming like arrogant or aloof?

If I believe I have a lot to offer– a lot of potential, in fact– but no one outside of me is taking me up on it, do I have anything to offer?

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