Friday, March 6

working for myself

You probably realize this by now, but I'm slightly obsessed with this economy. I'm sure it will bring a lot of trouble to my life, as I know it's already wrecking havoc on others. Theater work (at my level) seems to be drying up as the funding disappears, and I'm left hoping that every show I'm connected to won't be postponed, downsized, or just really small to begin with (my experience so far this year), and that I do in fact have a future in this business.

I realize that not everyone is experiencing the economy in this way. I went out with some Broadway and Off-Broadway set designers a few weeks ago, and they are very busy. Of course, one of them was doing a show that was way below her level, something a young up and coming designer (like me!) should be working on. But I guess that's life: In a downturn, people take what they can get, and those who are less established get pushed slightly backward on the food chain. (Thank goodness I'm not just finishing grad school or college this year.)

The economy is the Topic Of Discussion in most of the circles I'm in. A few months ago I had lunch with a writer-friend and her composer-husband, and they declared that we should all be seeing this slow period as a time to enrich oneself. Like, with your extra time from being unemployed, learn something you've always wanted to learn, a skill that will get you a better job when the market picks up again. Like, another language, or a software system. I suggested that I could learn to quilt, which they thought was hilarious. I guess they didn't realize I was serious.

With their advice in mind, and my disgruntlement at today's latest you-almost-had-this-design-gig-but-it-no-longer-exists, I've decided to see this as an opportunity to broaden my horizons. I will send out letters, I'll get to know the theater community better and network more. And I'll do some things for my mental health too. Like learn to quilt. And run. And spin yarn. And spend more time with friends.

Last week I started the Couch to 5K program. For those of you who don't know it, it's a running program that gets a non-runner to run. In 9 weeks you should be able to run 5K, or about 3 miles. It starts with a walking warm up, and then intervals of walking and running. I've downloaded a weekly podcast, which instructs me when to start to run or walk, and as of today I've finished week 2. So far, with the exception of Tuesday (the day after the snowstorm, when I went to the gym) I have done all of my running in Prospect Park, which is so gorgeous and just down the street. I have no regrets so far, and am really enjoying being outside (near trees) and getting into shape.

On Saturday Lisa came over, and we spent a few hours spinning together. Unfortunately, we both forgot to take photos before it got dark. But it was inspiring in the way I imagine a running partner to be, both of us there treadling away. I finally finished spinning the half pound of turquoise roving I got from Persimmon Tree Farm at Rhinebeck last fall. (I've actually been spinning it since last fall. Very slowly. Really.) I now have 322 yards from it, and a DK weight, which is a first. I am thinking of making a scarf, something warm but elegant for next fall, to go with my knitted coat. I realized recently that I haven't made much with my handspun, which is kind of ridiculous.

As for quilting... no progress yet (other than my sachet from months ago) but I am 90% sure I'm going to take a course entitled "the Art Quilt" this summer up in Maine. Two intense weeks of quilting, with no internet or cell phone reception. Sounds heavenly, right?


knithound brooklyn said...

We should do the spinning together again soon! I am also curious about the running program. The yarn looks just fantastic all plied up!

kat coyle said...

The Art Quilt retreat sounds great! I think it's hilarious, that your friends thought you learning to quilt is hilarious. I've dreamt of making an art quilt for years. I wonder why I never have.

Hilary said...

Wowza...that's some gorgeous handspun. I love how the colors seem to blend together but stand out individually at the same time.

Ami said...

Oh! Pretty spinning :)
I think everyone is noticing the economy these days, but I can't imagine what it's like for those employed in the arts. My job is suddenly feeling very secure. I think quilting is an awesome idea!
And go you on the C25K!