Does Dreaming of Clouds Mean Your Creative Business Will be Successful And Three Other Unique Tips From a Fashion Writer
In 2016, my French visa just got approved. I was launching a design and shopping business highlighting sustainable fashion in Paris and Moya Stone was going to interview me for her blog. It was a warm Bay Area day and we were shaded under the awning at a suburbia Whole Foods. I usually remember what people wear when we first meet, even 5 years back but Moya’s smile was the thing that stands out now. Ruby lipstick, wide, welcoming, punctuating a ginger bob. When she’s not writing articles about Lady Gaga’s Schiaparelli Inauguration ensemble for example, she might be covering an event for Glamour magazine, all things vintage or chewing over something she recently sewed.
It’s winter now and years have passed. Today our roles are reversed and I ask questions around the word “start” for the blog series. I’m excited to hear what Moya, the great fashion observer, sees.
“If you were to think of start as a color, what do you see?”
“...it leads me to think about the sky-the openness of the sky.” She explains that she likes the visual aspect of it and develops its context. “I'm not fond of just one big open blue sky. I like weather. I like clouds, overcast and rain. I prefer that over a sunny blue sky. The clouds give me something else to look at, against the blue.” Moya is somewhere else when she describes their texture, color. She describes the white light that outlines the clouds against the bright blue sky. It reminds her of the luminous part of a candle flame illuminating the back of each cloud.
“I love puffy clouds. Sometimes their formations and fullness remind me of cotton and textiles. Moya has studied textiles in depth. “You know it's still grown in the South, south-east of the United States.” She is right. India and China grow most of the cotton in the world and the US (Texas especially) is third. 27 tons produced a year equating to 27 t-shirts a person. I was surprised at that statistics.
The Big Ball
“You mean the a-line pleated skirts?”
“Yes, I have a ball gown made from an 1831 pattern. You have to wear a crinoline under it and that’s very...bold.”
“When was the last time you wore it?”
“I hadn’t worn it for years. I used to go to Victorian dances and after, it just hung in my closet. But...last year I took an online fashion history class. We studied the mid 1800s and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show it off a little bit! I certainly would not have worn it to class or brought it to change into - there’s too much of it! Instead, I just put it on and showed it in front of my laptop!”
“We are living in this virtual world and I find people are more interested in trying things they wouldn’t have before, being more experimental. Do you find that too?”
“Yes, they have the time and attention to thinking differently. People are bored. Now, they have more time and realize how structured their lives were - the drive home, work-home. Taking them out of that structure can open up other ways of living and thinking.
Moya also said that the word “start” feels like the start of a new day. “In order to not lose my mind, during this pandemic, I consciously set up a regular routine. It really feels like a -start. I get up, eat breakfast, read, take a walk and during the week is work time. That’s when I write, submit to agents and weekends are for house projects.
“What’s on your desk right now to read?”
She says she’s reading the current issue of Harper's Bazaar and a book called "Minor Feelings" by Cathy Park Hong. Hong is a Korean poet that blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. “It's about how experiences, especially in high school, affected her. I have an interest in Korean history and Korean arts in particular.” I like to get a better understanding of the culture.
“What was intriguing about Korean arts?”
“In 2018, I heard about a textiles tour of South Korea and couldn’t resist the opportunity. I was captivated by their arts and their history. It was a small tour of about 10 people by the Korean American artist, Youngmin Lee and opened up a whole new interest for me.
I was struck between the new and old. Seoul is very modern and the youth are motivated by western culture. Do you know there is a french cafe on almost every corner?! They love french coffee, baguettes, croissants and are learning how to craft them, themselves. On the other side, Seoul is quite traditional. The Masters are consciously trying to teach other generations and other cultures to keep their arts alive. The stark contrast between the people and architecture was also fascinating - there are big modern New York style buildings next to the traditional asian architecture.
Moya and I continue our discussion on her next blog, sewing projects and her journalism career. Over the course of our chat I was amused by how we fell into “sustainability” by just diving into the word “start”. Here is our path: start - blue - clouds - puffiness - cotton - art - sustainability. How can Moya’s path inform us about starting projects or an easier way to initiate something this year?
Shaking things up.
We’ve talked about being stuck before during this series. What does Moya do to inspire her writing? Travel! Ok, we know we cannot all do that during the day of Covid BUT...when our brains associate one with another stimulus, it can result in the same reaction...right?!
If we can’t travel how do you shake things up?
She used bojagi art to stimulate memories from travel. Patchwork takes time but we can think of another art form or skill we discovered from travelling. Have you heard of habit stacking? We can work on it for 20 minutes a day and attach it to other 20 min activities like doing laundry, shopping things for dinner, etc taking advantage of this productivity hack. What a great way to get out of stuck to “start?”
Does Dreaming of Clouds mean your business will be successful?
Remember when Moya described what she loved about the sky and cloud formations? She seemed to be off in dreamland! So, of course I had to ask our online dream interpreter, “Aunty Flo” what she thought about clouds and dreams.
She says, a cloud symbolizes a range of interpretations - according to its texture and color. White clouds signify happiness, joy, equilibrium, setting clear goals and career contentment in your life. It's a sign of your self-conscience and can also signify something being attained in your waking life. White fluffy clouds represent a spirit of happiness that is an expression of joy.
I keep a dream journal so I need to go back and interpret my recent dreams. I will say though dreaming while you are asleep and awake have very similar interpretations. What do you remember about your last day-dream? Can your latest night -dream tell you more about your own transition into a new business idea or an easier ‘start’ for example?
Is an "Open Sky" like “the Blank Canvas Syndrome?”
I happen to love an open sky but that sense of big openness can feel uncomfortable at certain times. It can feel like the infamous “blank canvas syndrome.” This is a paralysis you face as a creative when you’re starting a new project. If you’ve ever found yourself staring hopelessly at a blank computer screen at a loss for where to begin then you know how debilitating blank canvas syndrome can be. But...can moya’s fluffy clouds be a cure?
Moya fills her sky with things she can look at, like fluffy clouds. Did you notice she didn’t say cirrus or stratus clouds...but buoyant puffy ones like cumulus. This makes me think, why Do We Love Fluffy, Puffy Things So Much anyway? We go goo-goo over fluffy kitten videos and love touching soft textures like cashmere, flannel, sheepskin on jackets or for me, organic cotton tees.
Fluffy things capture our attention, bring a smile to our faces and we will more than likely feel compelled to rush up and touch it. This is because it stimulates an area in our mid-brains known as the mesocorticolimbic system. This is the part of the brain that is associated with the processes of motivation and reward. Not only puffy things like clouds and cotton but soft things like babies’ cheeks and puppies have these traits. When we look at a sweet bouncing baby, our brains recognise the features that make us relate to our own young (as outlined by the baby schema).
This causes a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine (one that’s involved when we fall in love) and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. They flood our brains with feel-good chemicals. If you’re having a bad day, just do an internet search for a baby llama or simply go out and buy a cotton plant and you’ll feel better and be off creating your best work in no time!
[Although problem solving is necessary, it’s just not sufficient. If you’re just in a problem-solving mindset, your imagination is going to be shrunk. The interpretive possibilities of action will be smaller. You have to have a mindset that says yes to the possibility that something new and interesting and creative can emerge.]
Certainly, routine has its benefits—it keeps us on task, eliminates distractions, and gives rhythm to a hectic life. But take time to drop your routine and embrace the unfamiliar by trying new things; the mistakes along the way may just lead to your best work yet.
Now I'm curious what effect this had on the article Moya wrote after her class that day?!