Early last summer, I suffered a catastrophic failure of creativity. I’m not going to try to get into the causes (if I can even understand them myself) but the simple fact is I stopped making thing. As someone who has always made things, this was pretty traumatic. No photos, no journal pages, not even doodling in a sketch pad. None of the arts or crafts that have held my interest for the past few years. Worst of all was not being able to write.
As someone who has always practiced one craft or another, this prolonged involuntary hiatus was troubling, to say the least. I’d go to the craft store and wander around aimlessly, looking for something to fill my hands and my time. But inspiration eluded me. Nothing interested me, not ink or pens, paper or paint, yarn or beads. I was one big… blah. Intellectually, I missed the thrill of creating, but the urge to create something myself was missing.
What to do? That’s where the yarn came in. Sometime in June, it dawned on me that I never used to sit in front of the TV without having something in my hands to do. Maybe, I thought, if I just get something to work on while I watch TV, the rest of it will start to click into place. I figured crochet, which is mechanical enough not to require much in the way of creativity, but results in lovely and practical items that – bonus – happen to make great gifts. Creating something for someone else is a great inspiration for making something.
I wouldn’t say that my inspiration experiment was an explosive success, but I am finding some spiritual relief in crafting things again. I’m even working on a new novel, bit by bit.
I made chocolate chip raspberry swirl ice cream. Does that count?
Now, the bottle is something else. The bottle was an act of pure inspiration I can, ultimately, blame on the cats. Maybe I’ll tell the story some day, but for right now the important par of the story is that, in wanted to ornament this bottle (and a couple of others that are in progress still) I ventured into the realm of chainmaille jewelry.
Now, I’ve done beading before, but this chainmalle thing is quite different, and fun too. I think the challenge of learning something new has piqued my interest in a way that other crafts haven’t been able to do for a while.
These are my first two bracelets, in what’s called a Byzantine weave. They’re made of aluminum rings and about 8 inches long (I have big wrists).
This one is bronze, which I choose because I wanted something to hang my dad’s pendant on. I love this weave, though I kinda wish I’d chosen a slightly smaller size – this is pretty heavy around the neck!
Anyway, I just wanted to check in here, and do a little show-and-tell with what I’ve been working on this summer. What about you? What new ways to express yourself have you discovered lately?