Kim McMillan, The Artist Emerges

Kim McMillan
Kim McMillan

I wanted to make a toast, clink our water glasses over lunch at the Round House Cafe.  I wanted to thank Kim for sewing my potholders for the past three years.  For being my first employee and helping me learn how to work with someone, for all the good work she did for me.

But we got talking and I forgot all about the toast, the reason we were having lunch.  Which is that Kim won’t be working with me anymore.  She’s moving on and will be using her creative time to do her own work.

I sold Kim’s felted wallets and handbags each with its own  vintage button at the Bedlam Farm Open Houses.   And I  plan on selling them again in this June’s Open House.  So Kim will still be around,  but in a different way.

The first time I met Kim she told me she never made her own designs and wasn’t interested in doing that.  She always followed a pattern or copied what someone else did.  At the time, I knew she was perfect for what I needed.  Someone who just wanted to make some extra money sewing.  Which is how Kim has made a living most of her life.  (She started  sewing in an underwear factory  when she was a teenage).

Yesterday Kim told me she realized that she can draw.  It’s just a matter of looking and focusing she said.   She always thought it was cheating to use a photograph as a reference, that her drawings had to come right from her head. I could make a collection of all the  excuses I’d heard  that  stop people from doing the work they really want to.  One of mine was  that I thought my work had to be original.  That kept me from working for years.

So no more factory work for Kim.  The artist inside her is emerging and from now on Kim will spend her time creating.  Although I’ll miss her sewing my potholders and Vintage Hankie Scarves,  I couldn’t be happier for Kim.  This, after all, is part of my work, part of my place in this world.  To encourage creativity.   I don’t think I so much actively encouraged Kim as just did what I do, which allowed her to see the possibilities.

I’ll keep you updated on Kim’s work and as for me, I can’t wait to see what she does next.

One of Kim's felted handbags
One of Kim’s  hand embroidered, original designs, with vintage buttons,  on her felted handbag.


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