I spent the week before last in San Francisco filming for Creativebug, a video streaming DIY/educational website that features all kinds of amazing artists showing you how to make stuff (it’s subscription-based, but they have a free two-week trial). Which makes me one of those artists, too. Which feels a little crazy.
that’s my set! fun, huh? I love these little swatches of my fabrics
I should back up a little bit. I’ve been a subscriber on the Creativebug site for years, and I may have even been one of the first users, though I’m not sure. Heather Ross first introduced me to the site when I was in New York for her Fabric Design workshop; over cocktails one evening she mentioned she had been filming for them, and she was clearly very excited about it. “You should do it, Rae!” she said. I remember feeling incredibly flattered that she would say that, but I didn’t think that would EVER happen; the Creativebug artists (Heather, Anna Maria, Natalie Chanin) were definitely in a league above my own (sidenote: ultimately I think it is useless to think this way, but hey, this is my blog, so you get my insecurities along with the rest, which, let’s face it, is mostly shameless self-promotion anyway). I signed up right away. Even from the beginning, the video was super high quality and fun to watch. The videos are really beautiful, the content is great, and the artist intro clips are one of my favorite things about the site (and, incidentally, are free to watch; you can click on any artist on the instructor page to see their intro).
So when Creativebug actually contacted me last summer about filming a kids’ clothes class series, I was excited. Still, I wasn’t sure it would really happen. For one thing, I found the whole idea of standing up in front of a camera crew absolutely terrifying, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to go through with it. Another thing: they would realize I was just a self-taught sewing imposter with a blog sooner or later, right? Fast forward to last week: after months of work and discussion, I was in San Francisco, looking at a studio with my name on the door.
Filming ended up being really fun. I was definitely nervous at first, and it was hard, but I had two camera guys (Matt and Brian) and an artistic coach (Christine) in the room with me the entire time, and they were incredibly positive and encouraging. They’d brainstorm with me first about what to say and how to say it, and then they’d yell “ACTION!” There was no teleprompter (another surprise for me). Everything was filmed completely off the cuff, but it makes sense: it comes off more conversational and less stiff that way. I knew I was messing up and nervous, but they were super patient, total pros.
I was not prepared for how LONG it would take to film something that takes me less than a half hour to sew. Like, all day. Start, stop, freeze (so they can zoom in), OK, go ahead and say that again. I’m glad, because there’s so much footage they should be able to edit it down to something that conveys what I was trying to say with some degree of lucidity, but still, when they said I would need four days to film I thought, oh well, at least I’ll have a bunch of free time to putz around the city! Insert laughing-crying emoji here. Hilarious. I ended up filming right up until about 5:30 on Friday afternoon.
One thing I thought was cool was that nearly everyone I met at Creativebug was also an artist in some other way. Many of them were working on artistic projects on the side or on weekends in addition to their full time job at Creativebug. The entire place has a really fun and (at the risk of sounding really cheesy) creative vibe as a result. They are clearly having a good time and enjoy working with each other. You get a sense for this when you look at the Meet the Team page on their website, but seriously, what a fun place to work.
I filmed three classes which will be released some time in April as a multi-part class called “Sewing for Little Ones.” The focus is sewing clothes for babies and kids geared toward beginners, so it starts with basic sewing and pattern-reading, and goes from there. The classes are a series, with each class building on the one before so that when you’re finished you have a set of skills and techniques for sewing baby and kids clothes, and there will even be some free pattern templates thrown in there as well. I’ll post some more details when the launch date gets closer. I’m also supposed to get an affiliate link so that if people subscribe from my blog I earn a small commission but I haven’t gotten that yet (so WAIT until I do heeee!!).
One thing I really loved about doing this project is how much it pushed me and made me grow. It was such a change of pace for me, so different from Normal Life with three kids, and I don’t even think I realized how much I needed something like that until it was all over. For one thing, it’s been ages since I’ve even been on a plane without my kids. Just the plane ride was like a spa vacation, and going back to my quiet hotel room at the end of the day without having to fix dinner or do dishes was a real treat, I’m not gonna lie. It was hard for me to be away from my family all week, but it was good for me to have a week to remember who I am as a professional, as an individual, and an artist, without the distractions and constant tasks of home or the little hands and voices always at my side. Before I left, I just wanted to get it over with so I could be back home. And now, I’m really happy I did it and if I get a chance to do it again I will snap it up. It was an awesome way to start the new year.