Maker Profile: Tara-Lynn Morrison, Owner of Good Night, Day
Hi Tara-Lynn! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am the owner of Good Night, Day-- a one-woman independent hand-knits brand that offers minimalist and sustainably-made items made in limited, small-run batches. I am personally committed to the slow fashion movement-- everything is hand-knit by me in house, and my wool is sourced fairly from South America. I live with my partner, my daughter Enid, and our cat Link in our apartment in Hamilton, Ontario, which doubles as my studio space. I am a 42-year-old Scorpio, and I would describe myself as the type of person who finds strength in vulnerability.
What is your background (i.e. education, previous jobs, experiences that led you to create)?
I am not always comfortable sharing my background, as it was not typical in terms of having a solid education or what might be considered worthy job experiences. I moved out when I was 17 and shortly thereafter I had my son. Both of those experiences taught me so much about what I am capable of and set me on the trajectory of how I came to be where I am today.
What led you to begin Good Night, Day?
Good Night, Day developed out of exploring what could happen when I had nothing else left to lose and committing all of my energy to my creative endeavours. It was terrifying to have absolutely no safety net, and yet it also felt like such a natural progression -- it was just the next logical step in the direction that I was already heading. I have always stayed true to my own vision, and in that sense it can never be a failure, because I always remain true to who I am.
When did you begin knitting and when did you decide to start selling your pieces?
I came to knitting in my late twenties as a creative outlet that really resonated with me at the time. I was drawn to the empowerment I gained from learning such a solitary and hands-on skill, one that I realized I could manipulate as I wished. The ritual and the process of knitting is also deeply meditative and I am forced to slow down in this space of introspection. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and I use knitting as a form of self-care.
As the sole designer and knitter of your pieces, how long does the process of each item take you?
The designing and knitting process can feel daunting to me, especially in the early stages, because it is such a personal, hands-on, and slow process. It begins with narrowing down the many ideas in my head, after which I design the pattern from sketches. While it is tedious to write the knitting instructions, I find that doing so leads to the actual knitting and the finished item.
I am never not knitting-- there are never enough hours to knit because the process is a such slow one.
Why is it important for you to shop small and local designers?
It is absolutely essential to consciously support small and local designers because doing so makes a future of ethical and sustainable fashion possible. We need to be bold and outspoken in our support of those leading the way towards transparency and responsibility in the fashion revolution because the fast fashion industry is extremely exploitative and exacts violence on particularly vulnerable environments and populations.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
Even on the days when I am like, “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” I can’t imagine doing anything else. The ability to make something of my own that-- even in some small way-- has a positive impact is a driving motivation for me. I am passionate about sharing my knitting patterns in my self-published books and online because it is an empowering tool that I can offer other people, that not only contributes to them making their own clothes but also to their sense of self-care.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face with your work?
Financial limitations are a constant struggle. What I do is so personal and it directly affects my family, which can be scary. I have to remind myself that my worth isn’t reducible to my rate of production and that I haven’t necessarily failed even if my endeavours don’t pay all the bills. It is always hard to defend what I do to people that don’t see my knitting as real work or to those who don’t understand why I work all of the time.
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other?
I have always felt the strongest and most inspired when I am in the company of other women. For me this kind of community is a totally unique and powerful system of support. I always seek to collaborate with other women, and I feel dedicated to working together towards helping one another and holding each other up. I never want to compete with women, I only want to work alongside them. I am so awe of all the women I have had the opportunity to work with and to become friends with.
What creative women do you find inspiring?
The name of my shop comes from the book Good Morning Midnight, a modernist novel from 1931 that was written by Jean Rhys. I have always been inspired by her writing-- her words are deeply personal and for me, her fragility is the source of her bravery. I am inspired by her ability to share her feelings of loneliness, her unapologetic and unconventional choices, and her timeless embodiment of female survival.
How do you manage your time?
I will be the first to admit that time management is a constant struggle of mine, as I generally take on way too much and as a result am often overwhelmed. I am learning to say no, which is a positive exercise, but one that has never been easy for me, as I am prone to thinking that by saying no I may be letting myself or others down. I have found to-do lists to be the easiest and most helpful strategy for organizing my work, and I can reduce my stress by writing detailed, daily lists for myself. I am also learning to be less easily distracted by the outside world and I generally try to avoid social media because it can make me feel anxious. All in all, my time management is still a work in progress.
How do you deal with moments of self-doubt?
Self-doubt is such a real thing. It can be so debilitating, detrimental to creativity, and it can undermine our sense of self-worth. I have often succumbed to self-doubt because I am so emotionally sensitive, a characteristic which over the years I have come to view as a source of strength that keeps me going. A lot of self-doubt derives from a lack of self-care, so I try to focus on being gentle to myself, reaching out to those I trust, and finally, realizing these feelings will pass too.
Is there something that has really resonated with you recently?
Although social media and Instagram can be such traps for me, they are also surprising sources of inspiration when I come into contact with women committed to their passions. Some of the accounts that get me through include @jaiessasipress @brass_arrow @gretchen_jones @alexandrajacob @scorpiomystique @women_artists @linascheynius @lisesilva @oroma.elewa @gurlstalk @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y @ingridsilva @words_of_women @17.21women @sadgirlsclub @the.atlas.of.beauty @girlsatlibrary @pollynor @broadly
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
I want to continuously be learning how to see the parts of myself that I feel ashamed of, or that are seen as weaknesses, instead as wells from which I can draw strength. I constantly want to learn to be a better mother, a better partner, a better friend, and an ally to other women.