Have you read Austin Kleon’s book? I remember when it was first going around as a blog post, which he uploaded after he very first gave it as a commencement address at a small community college. And now it’s a New York Times best seller, and available for your Kindle. I just re-read it while waiting in the vet’s office for our dog’s check-up, and remembered how much I like his voice and the quotes he’s chosen. And then I came home and saw this on my wall:
Same idea. That you ought to keep your eyes on your own paper, but only in the sense that life and art and creativity isn’t a competition, it’s an adventure. We’re not trying to make something NEW that’s never been made before; we’re trying to honor those who have gone before us by taking the ideas that inspire us and making them one step better, one bit more a reflection of who we are, one fragment greater a snapshot of our worldview. Running your own race is like that. It’s a way to be surrounded by others who share your passion, but still making things and creating something that is unique to who you are, and to what you see when you interact with the world around you.
I’ve had lots of very kind compliments on this piece. And now it’s available as a free PDF pattern to download! Great stitching project for the car, and such a good time of year for it, too: as the weather changes, I always get a new burst of inspiration and become more motivated. Maybe it’s because when the leaves turn, the world seems like a different, unfamiliar, more exciting place, and I’m ready to explore it all over again and learn it anew. I hope that’s happening for you this week, too, and that you’re filled to the top with energy and enthusiasm and ideas and creativity. And if you’re not, maybe reading Austin’s book (or his site) will help give you a kick start. Or maybe you just need to explore the work of others to give you the spark to get going. Whatever you do, run your own race.
This is a stripped-down version of the pattern, printed in black-and-white. You’re free to add color wherever you want color, or to do a stark, minimalist interpretation. I’ve included the floss colors that I used for the original, but seriously, take ’em or leave ’em as you see fit. The chart for the cross stitch shows black, dark grey and light grey; the black is the main color, the dark grey is the lowlight, and the light grey is the highlight. Or you could ignore all that and make each letter a solid color. You know, run your own race, y’all. You don’t have to make it from scratch, but you can still make it your own.
Hearting you guys today. Hoping you’re sewing something awesome.