The need to create. We feel that need. While the outlets for creativity are endless, sorting through all the choices appealing to our own creative interests may take a lifetime. But, so what - it’s a journey and its fun. How glorious to put our hands and our hearts to work on creating a piece that is all ours, and “says” exactly what we want to say; that contains a piece of our heart and soul. Something we’re so proud of that we can’t wait to share it, especially with loved ones. The sharing and giving of that piece is the giving of a piece of ourselves; and there’s not a truer, more trusting, gift to be given. And it can be anything. A piece of writing, a piece of music, a quilt or other fiber art, jewelry, pottery, painting, photography, or a beezillion other lovely artistic, creative things. There’s no rule saying you have to find one area to be artistically creative in and stick with that one and only thing. There’s nothing stopping us from dipping into several different venues, only to walk away from some knowing that that particular art or craft is just not quite what we’re looking for. That it is just not making our soul sing. Its gotta make our soul sing. When it does, we know we have happened onto magic. It’s a pure gentleness that settles inside us. A whispered “yes.”
Sing. Now there’s something I’ve always wished I could do. I can’t. Surely and simply, I just can’t. But it doesn’t stop me from doing it. Sometimes I just let it rip. And I know my voice is as sweetly clear as Alison Krauss’. Pffft. In my own mind!! But, that’s O.K. It just feels terrific. Throwing your head back and making a joyful noise unto the Lord just feels good. And when I see Donald squinch his eyes up ‘cause I’ve hit a note that’s made his head hurt, I have to laugh out loud. Which makes him laugh out loud. Which makes Harley bark and run in circles. And you know - that feels pretty terrific too. Honestly - what’s better than a belly laugh and a much loved furry critter running circles around your feet?
Donald, on the other hand, sings beautifully. He’s more shy about it though, so when I happen upon him singing softly while he’s working, I stand very quietly and listen and let it fill my soul as tears fill my eyes. Tis a lovely thing.
Some folks may become quite well known for their endeavors, and they deserve our applause and our continued support. What could be lovelier and more agreeable than to be able to live your life and make your livelihood from doing what you love? But those many of us who won’t ever reach that particular dream will continue creating and learning and blooming by trying new outlets. Its just something inside wanting, and needing, to find a way out while proving to us over and over again that our need to express will not be denied.
I’m interested in hearing about what creative things you do. What do you do that makes your soul sing? And what have you tried, thought you’d love, only to find out it just really wasn’t what you had hoped?
I have a whole host of things I’ve tried. A few I have loved, a few I haven’t. Not many have captured my heart completely for the long haul, and some get tucked away for periods of time only to ease themselves back into my mind sometimes many years later needing to come out and play again.
Cooking. My very first "for fun" class ever as an adult was a cooking class. Ursula's Cooking School in Atlanta. I'm still, however, one of the most boring cooks on God's green earth. I leave the cooking to my friend Nan who is The Queen of Cooking. for real.
Music. Big sigh. I keep trying, but the fact of the matter is - this is hopeless. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket and I’m virtually tone deaf. Tried the guitar - ended up giving that to my cousin Bruce. We do have a dulcimer and it gets strummed on occasion - wish Donald would keep up with it a little more ‘cause he’s very good.
Basket making. I took a class and made the ugliest basket known to man. But because I just knew I was going to love it (I did not), I bought tons of basket making supplies which I promptly gave away.
Knitting. I took a knitting class about a million years ago. I knitted a sweater for a former husband, I knitted a sweater for my dad (which my mom now has and wears on really cold days). I knitted a popcorn pattern hat and mittens (which I still have). And that was the end of my knitting. Until just a few years ago when knitting made a big comeback. I love hand knitted pieces. Anything and everything hand knitted is beautiful to me. But I didn’t want to do sweaters or hats or mittens. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I just wanted to knit! Just endlessly knit. No patterns, nothing in particular as an end result. So I went to the local knitting shop (which is filled with such gorgeous threads and fibers I could move right in), and asked the young woman working there how much yarn I would need to knit (no purling) an afghan of a particular size. I just walked around the shop picking up skeins of yarn in shades of reds and pinks in different weights and textures. Needless to say, to a true knitter this was not the way things were done. The young woman was curious and a bit skeptical about what I wanted to do and asked me to let her know how it turned out. It turned out exactly as my heart’s eye had envisioned it. I love it. It makes me smile whenever I look at it draped over my favorite red chair. And my “need” to knit was sated. Who knows when it might return?
Needlepoint. I love to needlepoint. Somehow though, I’ve ended up with very little of it. The many, many pieces I did back when I was very much into needlepoint were all given as gifts, so I don’t have much of it around my own house. I do have one canvas that I’m working on. When I say “working on,” I mean I pull it out every so often and do a little, then it gets put away for awhile. This particular piece I'm working on has been in the works now for a few years. It’s a hoot and fun and colorful and whimsical. A group of women sitting around a pizza having a chat.
This canvas is from Maggie & Co., and the artist is Jerry Fenter.
Counted Cross Stitch. I love doing reproduction samplers. Or modern samplers that integrate old stitches that were in danger of disappearing. Doing just little crosses doesn’t appeal to me, but the more intricate stitches appeals to me greatly.
And I love how plain old floss has evolved into the gorgeous hand dyed works of art that it has. Just being surrounded by the gorgeous dyed linens and silks of today’s counted cross stitching is an aesthetic high.
Weaving. Took a class - several, actually. One from Betty Smith in Atlanta. Betty teaches at the John C. Campbell Folk School, or used to - I’ve lost track of her, but she is a weaver extraordinaire, and a great teacher. Took another class at the Chastain Arts Center in Atlanta, and at the Dream Weavers Studio in Atlanta. I love weaving. But I just don’t seem to “get” it. First of all, dressing the loom is not a fun thing to me. The fun part is throwing that shuttle and watching my work actually come alive. Dressing the loom involves some mathematics (eek!), and it takes a lot of time. I dressed a loom one time thinking I was going to have a beautiful, long shawl. I was surprised when I started throwing the shuttle and my shawl was done so quickly. What I ended up with was a belt. A short belt. Pitiful. The one piece I did make that I’m quite proud of is a gorgeous ivory silk boucle shawl. ‘Course, I could have bought one for less than 1/3 of what it cost me considering the cost of the silk and the class, but it is a beauty.
Pottery. Man oh man - did I ever want to be a potter. Mm mm. Let’s just say, I have a huge respect for potters. I no longer think pottery prices are too high. If you have zero strength in your hands, and if you don’t much care for mud dripping off your glasses, or stuck in your hair, being a potter may not be in your future either.
Jewelry making. That I love. I have only taken one class from local jewelry artisan Jim Rice which was a full semester long, and have some wonderful pieces that I’m very proud of.
But do I love it enough to want to take more classes and continue learning? Undecided.
My latest class was one I took last summer and I must say, I loved it. Some of you may have heard of Cathy Taylor who is a watercolor and collage artist. She did a one week class here in Boone at Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff. I’ve always had a fascination with collage art, and this was a class I loved.
Cheap Joe aka Joe Miller is quite the artist himself, and has built an unbelievable studio for guest artists to come and give classes. I cannot recommend these classes, or Cheap Joe’s supply house highly enough. Take a look on-line at his store, his set-up and the line-up of artists and classes and think about attending one. They are simply fantastic.
Truth of the matter is that right now I’m doing hardly any of these things.
And I’ve discovered I quite like writing pieces just like this one.
And I fully expect that the circle will continue and one of these days will find me curled up in my red chair with a piece of needlework in my hands.
Whatever makes my soul sing at a particular time . . .