So what is 'Normal' anyway?

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I always thought I was fairly mainstream, but it's been brought to my attention that maybe I'm actually a bit weird and quirky. Or at least my taste is anyway.

It was suggested to me by an 'old hand' at business (although he would say less of the old!), that I need to think more 'NORMAL.'
To quote 'Mr Entrepreneur', "Your ideas are inspirational, but I think your fabric choices will scare people off.." He had shown some of my products to his family: It wasn't 'um that fabric doesn't do it for me', it was a 'I really don't like it' reaction from both of them........"

This came as a shock. The problem is, you see, as I explained to my learned friend, I always thought I was normal. The question I ask myself (or anyone out there who has the answer,) 

What is normal anyway?

From the explanation I was given I deduced normal equals boring!

Now, for a creative person with lots of ideas, normal; also known as boring now, does not get the imagination flowing, so to speak. So what is an artisan to do?

Being someone who likes to have all the information on a subject so as to make an informed decision, I thought the best way to tackle this was research.

If in doubt, read a book. Or have a cup of tea. (Made in a teapot of course, but that's an entirely different discussion.) Or both.

The first book I thought might help in my quest for Normal knowledge was the good old English dictionary. So with cup of tea in hand, I read:
Normal .... 1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected .... ORIGIN .... (see NORM.)

Conforming. Standard. Usual. Typical. Expected; all words I understand. But then I thought I understood normal.

This was getting far too wordy and complicated. The dictionary was not going to give me the answers I was looking for. What was I looking for? Normal. That's right.

I was always told by my dad to ask questions, it's supposedly the only way to learn. I've since discovered that there are three main learning styles and not one of them is labelled 'question asker'.
But they say respect your elders, so I asked some questions. Call it market research but it turns out normal amounts to gentle pastel colours. They fit in with everything and are kind on the eyes, so as not to look out of place in any situation. Normal doesn't have to equal boring. I quite like pastels...sometimes.

 I am a Kinaesthetic learner. I learn by doing. All this came about because of my questionable choice of fabric. So what better way to settle this then to get creative and go fabric shopping. (Shhh.. Don' tell my Husband.) It was the only way. 'Do Normal' all in the name of education.

There was pink with teddies, blue with teddies, other nondescript cute things on white backgrounds, gingham in various bright cheery colours, but I kind of liked them so I thought they wouldn't be normal enough.
Then there it was.
Pale Yellow gingham. 

This had to be it. I'll take two metres please.

After much consideration, looking at my new acquisition later on that afternoon. I couldn't do it, I just couldn't bring my self to use that fabric. It was all wrong. It reminded me of baby puke. Where were the bright cheerful colours? Or the feel-good factor? It was my Feeding shawl that started this journey to discover what normal was. I had chosen a fabric that was a beautiful peacock pattern. Blues and greens and browns on a beige background, that had a very earthy feel to it. Stunning.

Suddenly I realised a large part of my enjoyment from sewing comes from choosing the fabric I like. This is what fuels my creativity. Patterns and colours, mainly being somewhat bold. Creating useful things just seems to be a bonus.

So I have come to the conclusion: I don't want to be normal. I just want to be me. If that's slightly quirky and weird, so be it.

I will gladly follow any advice that my wise friend would like to bestow upon me and would very much like to continue working with him to get this right, but surely I can be forgiven if I choose fabrics that 'Do it' for me during the product development phase just to get the creative juices flowing? Otherwise I fear, that these apparently inspirational ideas of mine, that I thought were normal, may just dry up.

         Normal, or Not. Does it matter anyway? What do you think?

(All pictures for this post were sourced from Google Images.)

1 comment :

  1. Debbie - you are right. Nothing pukey, nothing pastel, nothing cutesy.... Go for it! Tasha x