The Pleasure of Sewing for Others
Naomi's tallit was essentially done. I worked on her brother's last night and almost until they came to pick up their tallitiot. The "Not Met's" tallit kept presenting me with new challenges. Some of them I was able to solve elegantly. Others, with a bit less finesse than I would have hoped.
That discussion made me think about working with this set of twins. I enjoyed meeting with them several months ago. I liked seeing how each of their minds worked. I like the process of learning what matters to them in a tallit.
As I worked on their tallitot during these many weeks, both of them were very present in my head. I kept thinking about what they wanted and what they liked as I made each decision. Pieces of our conversation kept floating around in my head as I worked.
Today as they tied their tzitzit, they and their parents recalled bits of that conversation and noted how I had incorporated comments the kids had made into each of their tallitot. My job is to take ideas, parts of ideas and turn them into something visible and tangible. I love seeing the look of recognition where a client sees that I have heard them.
While I work on a piece, my clients are living in my head. Once the piece goes home with my client, I am present in their lives for a long time. When I work with clients, their needs push me in unexpected directions. I never would have thought to make a tallit in blue and orange. I never would have selected the colors Naomi did. They are beautiful on her.
Working with others helps me to see beyond my own needs and my own taste. A tallit, so often, is a way of expressing one's relationship to the divine. It is so difficult to put words to that relationship. When I meet with a client we study the texts about and around putting on a tallit. So, when I then pull out lengths of different sorts fabric for my clients to drape around themselves, they understand intuitively that they need to select a fabric that helps to express that relationship. I don't need to hear why they chose a specific fabric. The fabric that is right is evident in how they hold their bodies.
When I make a piece for a client, the piece isn't about me. It is about my client. When they come to pick it up I love seeing that moment of recognition , when they see that the piece is about who they are and about their needs.