Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Conquering the Dreaded Miter Box

My pile of unfinished tapestries has been growing, awaiting their frames for some time. I bought a miter box and saw a while back with the intention of making my own frames but its been sitting on the work table in my garage ever since. I found I was just not able to start to do it. I just knew I would make a hash of it or it would be too hard for me to do so I ignored it, hoping it would go away.

But I finished this piece, "The Matterhorn" for Mom and it needed to be framed before I could send it to her.

In addition, I wanted to do justice to "You Must Sing Their Names, Hollyhocks," a fun little tapestry I did when I returned from the ATA workshop with Lynne Curran last July. Every time I showed my work to friends I thought, “I really need to get that miter box out and tackle the frame. I want this to be finished right.” But the days passed and the box remained where it was.

Well finally I decided to either conquer the frame or go down in flaming defeat. What could it hurt to give it a try? So I got out the as yet virgin tools, measured the wood and clamped it into the box for cutting. Well it was easy and it worked! Who knew? Once I did the first one I went crazy and did two more. What fun. What else could I frame I wondered as I patted myself on the back for a job well done. So I found "Saturdays at the Met"and framed it for good measure

At times we convince ourselves that we can’t do something and so we just don’t try. I am not good at exactitude, I am a close is good enough type of person so doing something that needed math to work out stumped me. The same thing used to happen to my sewing. My corners were never quite right, my seams didn’t lie perfectly as they should. So I thought making a proper 45-degree corner four or eight times would just be beyond me. It wasn’t.

It makes me wonder what other things I am stopping myself from doing just out of a lack of confidence or fear of... I'm not sure what. I am willing to jump out of planes, dive to 100’ with hammerhead sharks or take a chance and move to a different country couldn’t seem to get myself to pick up a saw and make a corner. How strange and powerful our minds are to be able to trick us in this way.

So, the next time I think “I can’t do that,” I will think of the miter box and just give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen? I won’t be able to do it myself. But the best is that perhaps I will succeed. That is the scariest thing of all sometimes.