Accumulated observations: creativity

Seems like creativity/making something/working with my hands is something I use to lower my stress level.  This winter Will & I took a metal jewelry-making course.  Although I felt icky from chemo most days I went, it was great fun.  We used the lost-wax casting method to make bronze jewelry and then did some simple metal-working and soldering.  I made some earrings and pendants.

Later in the spring I followed a tiny tendril of interest and ended up with my friend Lisa’s beading supplies for a while.  I’ve made some bead earrings and a necklace and bracelet.  I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s fun.

I remember back when Jesse was a baby I got this crazy idea to make a quilt out of old clothes and leftover fabric.  Not a crazy quilt, though–a very organized and thoroughly pre-designed one.  Someone I knew from La Leche League in Newtown was a quilter and wanted a project, so she mentored me with the cutting and pinning and did the sewing.  I did the picking of the fabrics, the pairing of the fabrics, and the semi-obsessive considering and laying out of the resulting many squares into a queen-sized quilt.  It was extremely awesome until many of the fabric pieces (which were old, used, well-loved clothes to begin with) fell apart.  But what I’m remembering is not just the great feeling of the Making, but the question a friend of mine asked me when I mentioned I was staying up at night to work on it on the floor of the dining room, after Will & Jesse were asleep and before baby Jesse was scheduled to wake up again once or twice in the night: “You are so busy, you have so much to do.  Why are you doing this too?”  Well, I was doing it to stay sane.  To not just feed and nurse and change and tote and drive and buy and eat and sleep and work, but to Make.

I’ve also needlepointed a bunch of pillow-tops in the last decade or so, all of which have eventually been turned into pillows with the help of various people more skilled than I with a sewing machine.  (Sewing machines and I do not get along.)  Those I do mostly to give my hands an occupation at times I need to sit still and listen: conference presentations, meetings, long conversations, sometimes parts of long labors.  Otherwise I have a hard time focusing.

Since cancer came back into my life I’ve noticed also that I am feeling like putting a bit more energy into my clothes and what exactly I wear, and being more interested in clothing items that express a little more about me, or how I’m feeling that day, than do the perfect pair of jeans.

And of course getting this house designed and built felt like a huge, 3+ year multi-faceted creative act.  At least on the best days.

Some pictures! (scroll way down for all of them, and click for bigger versions if you’re interested)

4 thoughts on “Accumulated observations: creativity

  1. Gina Qualliotine

    I’m glad you posted this. Such beautiful things! I remember you working on the iris needlepoint but don’t think I ever saw it sewn up into a pillow. It’s great!

    I love the quilt idea. Shame it didn’t hold up well. You should have shellacked it right after you made it : )

    Interesting to hear about your fun with clothing too. It’s my inner four year old’s favorite medium. She is the one who I try to let dress me whenever I can.

  2. M....

    I’ve had three compliments on that bronze pendant in the last two days! It’o great to read about the pleasure of making it–and the other things too. xoxox

  3. Shelly

    Wonderful creations! Love the earrings and pendant. 😉 I think making things is such an important facet of life. It’s a way to celebrate life simply by the basic act of creation. It’s a way we can allow our deeper minds to organize themselves–at least, I feel that is part of it, kind of like dreaming. It’s a way we can feel we’ve made our mark on the world. It’s a way we can feel we’re giving a little beauty back to the universe. It’s a lot of things I mostly don’t think about much and basically take for granted. I appreciate your post and your photos–you remind me NOT to take things for granted.

  4. That’s exactly why, all these years, I always have a knitting project going. Or four. I don’t always have time to work on them consistently, but I love the feeling of Making something. Plus I like the tactile sensation of the yarn slipping through my fingers. Which is why I never knit with scratchy yarns, never ever.

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