Marilag Lubag's Blog

Simple Taste

March 10, 2016
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I love simple design. They might seem understated but the more I study them the better I like them. Some people might think they’re boring but there’s beauty in simple patterns. They don’t go out of style. Some people might love trends but one minute they look good and the next, people wanted nothing to do with them. I prefer the classics.

Simple design would suit a simple person like me. I would rather pick clothes that would look fashionable even after a year or two rather than pick something that would be hot right now and not the next. It’s a matter of sticking to the basics and picking accessories that would make your outfit stand out.

Similarly, we don’t need to be ornate in creating anything. It would be just as beautiful even if it’s not as ornate.

 


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Back to the Basics

March 9, 2016
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The basic stitches in crochet builds into one another, creating a more complex design. The combination of chains, slip stitches, single crochet, double crochet, and treble crochet creates different shape that would eventually become a bag, a sweater, a top, and other things. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to use less combinations and develop your skill of reading a pattern. Often, one false step would result in a product that’s way different than what was written.

If you’re serious about your craft, you should start with something simple. Even if you’re no longer a beginner, simple is the way to go. A true master is able to create something exceptional—even if it involves very simple elements. In terms of crochet, my stitches are going to look a lot different than the beginners. Mine are even and had the right tightness. A beginner would look crooked and have uneven tension.

People often want to try more complex patterns when their skills are not on par with the pattern they pick. That’s like me trying to play a Bach when I don’t have the ability to do it—something I had done before. Not only did it not sound like Bach, I spent the entire two hours staring at the page trying to play the note but totally lost with what I am doing. Technically, I had managed to finish the piece. However, it’s not Bach at all as the notes are too far apart.

There is nothing wrong with simple. Simple allows us to develop our skillset before we have the ability to develop a more complex skillset. In fact, I prefer simple especially when learning a new technique. Simple is a way to get results without being frustrated about it. If you want to learn something, simple is the best way to do it.

What’s the basic elements of your craft?


Keep It Simple

March 8, 2016
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The beauty of using finger crochet was that it requires simple stitches but produce lacy effect. Whether it’s using a straight out single crochet design, or a double crochet, the stitches were so huge that it couldn’t help but create a lacy look when using a regular yarn.

My point is that we don’t need to use complex design in order to create something beautiful. Even when using only single crochet, we can create something that looks intricate. Simple doesn’t mean boring. It’s only boring if we don’t have the necessary skills to perform the task well. It allows us to practice and gives us ways to experiment without going overboard. The basic crochet stitches would look a lot different depending on what types of yarn we’re using as well as the hook size.

Another reason for me to use simple and basic crochet stitches was when using novelty yarns. You can’t use complicated stitches as the stitches is hard to see. It would be easy to miss stitches if you’re not careful. In addition, there’s no point of using complex stitches—the yarn would obscure the design. If someone had the gall to use a more complex stitches (as I had done when I first started using this yarn), the person would realize that it’s a useless exercise. The design won’t be easily seen.

Wedding Shawl in Fur

One of my obsessions–creating scarves and shawls using only novelty yarn

Basic design is not boring. What we need is to look at things a little bit differently. What if we construct a scarf using single crochet sideways instead of creating it from up to down? It would look unique instead of boring.

What do you think of simple designs?


The Best Ideas

March 7, 2016
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The best ideas are the simple ones. They are easy to execute and easy to follow up on. In addition, they require the less energy. The less complicated the idea, the more successful they can be.

Sometimes, people get so caught up in the moment that they would come up with a lot of complex ideas. However, their skills are not on par with what was on their mind. When it’s time for execution, it can cause disappointment because what was on their mind was clearly not what was seen on reality.

When I was eight or nine years old, I wanted to learn how to embroider. So, I decided to practice on one of my maroon handkerchiefs. Looking back, I think it’s a bad idea as the fabric already has an ornate design. Still, I was trying to make a really ornate design of an angel. I hand sewn white thread on maroon fabric. It looked like a child had done it. My stitches were very crooked and there were large gaps. My execution was expected—I was a child back then and this was my first embroidery project.

I should’ve started with daisies. Or even letters. It’s still going to look awful but it’s easier to execute. It’s a lot simpler than starting with an angel when my skill isn’t up to that level yet. Now, I could actually create more ornate designs. That angel would look better now if I did it today.

Simple ideas are not boring. The simplest ideas would look exceptional in the hands of the master. In fact, it showcases the skills of the master. A lot of people had complimented me with this particular scarf that I crocheted. They said that it looks simple but it’s beautiful. Same goes with my broomstick lace beanie. Both are very simple projects but they showcase my skill—something that I had been perfecting for 20 years.

We don’t need complex ideas in order to create something beautiful. Simple ones would do.


The Pie

March 4, 2016
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The battle to get better is with ourselves. The moment we find someone better at their craft than us, we often find ourselves so intimidated that we would throw our hard work out the window. We find ourselves giving up. While that reaction is understandable, we shouldn’t give up just because we think other people are better in their craft than us. When that happens, it’s better to retreat in our corner and perfect our craft, doing what we enjoy doing. After all, there is always a corner available for us in our craft.

Our weapon for insecurity is more practice. We can’t do our best if we compare ourselves to the person right next to us. We might see them as being better but we don’t know what kind of insecurity they’re battling themselves. If we only know what’s going on in their head, it’s unlikely that we’re going to be as insecure. They are fighting that invisible battle too.

We need to worry about our own projects. The good thing about crochet is that I’m either searching for a pattern or creating one myself. Some I like more than others but it’s a matter of personal taste. Similarly, just because we like one creation a particular artist doesn’t mean we’ll like thing they did. What matters is that we’re doing our best with our chosen craft. No matter how good you are, there would always be a place for you in your chosen art form.

We need to remember that there would always be people who are better than us and there would be others that are worse. We shouldn’t worry about how they perform. There is a space for everyone in our chosen medium. The key is to let go of our insecurities and do our best.

What are your own insecurities?


From Terrible to Greatness

March 3, 2016
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The more you try to push yourself, the better you’ll do. It will be awful at first but the more you practice you have, the better you’ll get. Eventually, you will learn the skill that you would become an expert.

As a kid, I love music but I sing out of tune. I sing everywhere I go that I’m putting Donkey (Shrek’s best friend) a run for his money during long trips. Eventually, I learned how to sing. I’ve been asked to do solo ever since.

The key is not to give up. Just because you’re bad at something doesn’t mean that you won’t become good at it if you work hard. There are a lot of things I was awful at doing at first but I keep on practicing them. I eventually become good at a lot of things. People might think that I’m a Jill of all trades but they didn’t see the countless hours it took me to master the things I’m good at now.

Just because you’re awful at something doesn’t mean that you can’t become good at it. With practice, you can become better than those who have a natural affinity for such activities who don’t practice at all. Practice makes perfect. It happened to me and it can happen to you.


The Double-Edged Sword

March 2, 2016
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Sometimes, it’s easier to learn the craft when we’re with a lot of like-minded people. At the same time, it’s easy to feel insecure. If someone could do what you’re doing ten times better, it would make you feel insecure no matter how self-confident you are. Nevertheless, I find it easier to learn when I’m with people who are good at what they do. It makes me want to strive harder to learn just to keep up. Despite my insecurities, I’m better for it.

For example, when I was in grade school, I wrote some poems that got published in the school newspaper. In high school, I joined the school newspaper. While I’m average at what I did (I didn’t win any contest), I still learned how to do things better because of the education I got from my teacher. I’m a good poet but even then, I had to admit that there are others who are better writer than me.

On the other hand, it causes me to feel insecure at my classmates—they were better writers. Still, I write and improve in my own pace, even if I’m not as good as they are. Eventually, things even out. Some people had stopped writing. Others are now writing for a living. We improve in our own pace. Our growth depends largely on whether we want to write or not and how much practice we’re having. We shouldn’t feel insecure if people are better than us.

People that are better than us in our respective crafts should inspire us rather than hinder us. If we can see the good side of working with other people, we would be able to have new ideas to incorporate in our craft. On the other hand, if we let our insecurities to get the better of us, it would hinder our progress.

When we’re around other people who are good in our chosen craft, it’s easy to feel insecure. However, we need to let go of our insecurities so that we can become the best artist we can be. It’s time to do our best and let others inspire us instead of letting our insecurities get the best of us.


Away from Prying Eyes

March 1, 2016
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The best thing about being self-taught when it comes to learning my craft is that there’s no competition. I don’t have to compare myself with other people and I could just perform happily doing what I need to do, incorporating what I learned from other people and just be. It allows me to experiment without the fear of judgment even if they turn out horrible to the end.

Being self-taught allows me to practice away from prying eyes and with full confidence that I’m the best at what I do simply because I have nobody to compare myself with. Of course, by the time I show my finished product to others, I had practiced so much that I’ve actually become quite good at it. When people finally see my finished product, all they could think about was how good it was. They didn’t see the countless hours I spent perfecting and experimenting on my craft.

Practicing on my own lessens my performance anxiety as well. I could practice the way I wanted and the only people who would be affected are myself and people on my immediate surroundings like when a child wants to play the violin (the parents just have to grin and bear it). With enough practice, the child eventually becomes so good at it that they would be asked to play in front of others.

My point is, it’s easier to practice if we don’t compare ourselves with other people. In my case, I used to do a lot of scarves in mismatching colors and in no particular order. While I still make them, I had learned over the years to stick to one or two colors. At the very least, they’re complimentary.

When we’re just starting to learn our crafts, we need to practice on our own. It is easier to develop our skills when we don’t have other people to compare ourselves with. Eventually, we would be good at our craft and develop our own style. Practice makes perfect. It would also be easier when we don’t have to look over our shoulder to have somebody to compare ourselves to.


The Battle In Our Head

February 29, 2016
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As an artist, it’s easy to get intimidated by someone whom we perceive is better than us at our respective crafts. This is true whether I’m talking about singing, writing, crocheting, or any other artistic skills I decided to try my hands on. While it’s true that there are people who are going to be better than us in terms of our craft, it’s also true that we would be better than other people.

In Stephen Covey’s Everyday Greatness, Dolly Parton has revealed that she was insecure of Reba McIntire. While people consider Dolly Parton a legend, she was also battling insecurities of her own. Similarly, there would be people that would make us feel small just by standing right next to them. In the case of Dolly Parton, it’s when she was standing right next to Reba. We need to battle that feeling of insecurity so that we could become the best that we could be given our capabilities. We all work at a different pace so we shouldn’t let other people’s progress hamper our own.

The battle is mostly in our head. It’s easy to feel insecure standing right next to someone who’s so good at their craft that we feel like what we would do is useless compared to them. Not only is that mindset useless, it’s also particularly harmful. We need to do our best despite the insecurities we’re feeling. We don’t have to be the best in order to be recognized at what we do. Otherwise, half the famous artists wouldn’t be as famous as they are. What matters is that we keep working on our craft. The battle we should have is whether or not we did better than last time.

It’s not easy trying to learn our craft when we’re battling other people in our head. Often, I find them as a distraction as I try to do my best in my craft. They might be good in other people’s eyes but it shouldn’t prevent us from performing our best. Dolly Parton had to battle her own insecurities. If she let her insecurities, there wouldn’t be a legend that we know. Similarly, you and I shouldn’t let our insecurities get the best of us.


How to Train with a Master

February 26, 2016
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Sometimes, I like to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace) and would try to sing the way she does. Of course, it would always end up with me yelling aloud. My voice isn’t designed to be that of Whitney Houston. Mine is a cross between Broadway and Classical. I’m not designed to sing like Whitney Houston. Nevertheless, I like to sing and to pretend that I’m Whitney Houston when I find the time for karaoke—an impossible task these days.

Pretending to be someone who’s good at their craft is a good way to learn the craft. Whether it’s trying to imitate Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting or trying to write in the style of J.K. Rowling, trying to imitate a master is a good way to learn the basics while we’re developing our own skillset. Eventually, we would develop our own preferences until we know our craft enough to have our own style.

While some people would argue that we need to develop our own style, it’s not easy to develop our own style if we don’t know what style we like. It would be better to have your top five favorite authors, try to imitate their style, and keep what we like about them and throw away what we don’t. We won’t know what we want until we have an idea of what it could be.

Imitating a master is a form of training. Anyone who says otherwise either wasn’t very good at what they do or are lying. Every world class artist have other artists before them that influenced them. It’s how they learn what works for them and what doesn’t. Don’t be hesitant to imitate other artist while studying our craft. What’s important is to use them as a guide—to take what we like about them and to set aside what we don’t. Each individual is so unique that they cannot fully imitate the master. Sooner or later, the artist would know himself or herself enough to have his or her own style.

Who is your favorite artist on the medium you enjoy?


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