last weekend, i worked on some baby duvet covers as a gift for a friend who recently had twins--a boy and a girl. we're sending husband's oldest daughter (she's 17 and a half) to the US this week, to spend the summer with my sister and accelerate her english, so i wanted to finish the baby duvet covers to send along with her in the otherwise empty suitcase she's taking for all of the loot she'll bring back. as i was putting them together, using fabrics i had on hand, i realized how much my taste has changed since i made baby duvet covers for sabin when she was a baby eight years ago.
here's the most beloved one that i made for her (it's really falling apart now, as she still uses that little baby dyne (as it's called in danish) as her hugging blankie and with her bears and such). but this photo was on a plane in 2006 when it was still in good shape:
it was a bright cotton check that i bought at the dreaded wal-mart (before my vow never to set foot there again). it's soft and smooth and she has always loved how it feels. i sewed on a ribbon of rainbow-colored cord on the front and it has cute heart-shaped buttons. i remember i made it the summer when sabin was a baby and i was home visiting my parents while husband stayed home and tore out our kitchen and redid it. i sewed a lot that summer on my mom's sewing machine.
and these are the covers i made this weekend (#53 and #54, by the way, in the journey of creativity in 2009):
i feel there has been a major shift in my taste. and it's not only to do with what fabrics are available and in style today vs. then. although sabin has loved her little duvet cover--i made several that summer and the one above is the favorite above all--i wouldn't choose that fabric today. as you can see, i wouldn't make it all with just one fabric either.
my favorite colors are in evidence here. i love that i had all this stuff on hand--anna maria horner fabrics, some lovely hand-printed fabric bits with helicopters and cars on them from this etsy shop. the prints and colors i'm attracted to today are just different than they were.
some super cute japanese fabric with matryoshki on it from this etsy shop.
but aside from sourcing on etsy, what has changed? my taste, for sure. the available materials/colors, for sure. my entire sensibility? i think so. i think we cannot help but be influenced by the place in which we find ourselves. did it make a difference that i made sabin's little duvet cover when i was at my mom's house in the US and that i made these two here in my own little creative house in my garden? i think it did, so location is surely a factor.
of course, there is the intervening 8 years of input, inspiration and influences as well. all of the things i have done and seen have brought me to here, where this is what i make today, rather than still being there where i made what i made 8 years ago. we evolve creatively. we change and grow.
i've been seeing a lot of great embroidery out there...on flickr, on blogs, in advertisements...and so it influences me. i wouldn't have thought of embroidering on sabin's cover 8 years ago, but it was exactly what i wanted to do on these two.
but it also has to do with the availability of inspiring materials. like this ribbon from here. and choosing to use ribbon as a closure had to do with time pressure and not being there where my mom knew how to use the buttonholer on her machine and not having tried it yet on my own new machine. but it was also because i had such great ribbon at hand.
but mostly, i have a feeling that my eye has improved. 8 more years of living in a scandinavian design mecca has had to have some influence. the colors, the lines, the entire sensibility i have now is vastly different than it was then. there are so many factors that go into our design choices. it's really interesting and rather mind-boggling to try to consider all of the ones that brought you to a particular point at a particular moment in time to create a particular thing. with all that's swirling in us and around us, it's a wonder we get anything created at all.