Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A life more creative

 It's occurred to me in recent weeks that while I spend my career encouraging creativity and creation by and for others, I do very little in the way "practice what you preach."



And honestly? I kind of don't have a very good reason for this fact other than the fact that my life, my time, my overall efforts that I have to do exert on a regular basis, well... it's pretty much all "spoken for" and that leaves me with little to nothing.

As it has happened, I've recently been visiting some health practitioners in order to complete some diagnostic testing in an effort to put names (officially) to some very challenging issues I've had of late. One of the results that has come up with that I need to do a lot better job with "self care." Basically: I do a great job taking care of everything and everyone and I am rarely (or rather never) a priority. *shrug*

Well, all of that being said, I'm really working on doing a better job with self-care. It was suggested to me that I do yoga but I've tried that at least half a dozen times and it just doesn't work. What does work? Invoking divine inspiration that doesn't just drive me to create but throttles me forth into the realms of creativity and creation.

My challenge with getting into this mode of making things is that I have a hard time with it mostly because I struggle with the whole thing of art vs. crafts. While I definitely appreciate crafting, I much prefer to do things that are much closer to art. As I believe, it's heavily debated that the area that separates those two realms is pretty grey and hard to define where one ends and the other starts. This alone keeps me from either finishing things or even starting to make them in the first place. Lame-O, eh? I think so.

If it's not painfully obvious enough, I typically suffer from "paralysis by analysis." I'm so in my own head most of the time that I have been and always will be my own stumbling block, obstacle, and worst enemy. (I know right! Who would have *thunk* it?!!)

This past weekend I got it in me to just get over all of this. I mean, who cares if what I'm doing is technically an art or a craft? WHO CARES??!!!! Because the fact of the matter remains is this: when I am being creative and actually creating things, I am less stressed, feel more active in my faith, happier, and just plain more balanced overall. And this is where I need to be in order to be a better artist, art teacher, wife, mother, daughter, HUMAN BEING, etc. *fist pump of resolve*

Friday of last week was one of my first times in way too long that I gathered some real inspiration and got off my duff and made some things. Both of them were elements of a gift for someone I am close to who is having a really difficult time right now.

The first item is a corked bottle with the Emily Dickinson quote "Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in your soul..." written on the outside. Contained inside the bottle is a white feather hand stamped with letters that spell out the word "hope" and it rests on a bed of fine sand and the most beautiful gold glitter. I made it to symbolize the whole idea of some much needed bottled up hope that can sit wherever it ought to and be a constant reminder for someone that really needs it.

The second item is a piece of jewelry that is meant to symbolize a family that exists despite the odds that have been presented against it. It's meant to illustrate a mother's love and her fervent protection over the precious and beautiful blessings in her life that are her much loved children. I used beads and wire wrapping to be a nest of eggs and then a mod-style charm/necklace embellishment for the mother bird who is gently flying in to check on her nest. All of the pieces are carefully attached to a sterling silver chain-link necklace.

To be absolutely honest, I have been a terrible crafter in the past. I've done things that are nothing less than tired with played out cliches and symbols and it always happens that I realize this not even half way through the process and that steals both my momentum and joy for even finishing making any of them. With the above items though? I feel like it's the first time in m life that I have crafted things that are carefully thought through, put together, and infused with meaning. This is such a first for me.

All too often, people say to me, "I would love to see your house! I bet it's REALLY cool because artists MUST have really beautiful lives and living spaces." That's so far from the truth for me and I'm realizing that I need to do something about that. I need to live and breathe what I preach to my students, clients, and people I share my life with. It's not right otherwise and it makes me a hypocrite of the artist I call myself. I gotta stop and this past weekend is the beginning of that.

I know I'm going to get it wrong but I feel like at least I'm aware of it now and willing to admit what a problem it is. I'm pledging here (so there is some accountability, if you will)  to live a life more creative than what I have been doing - which is to say a LOT more creative since my life has been decidely devoid of creativity and creation. I'm going to do more of the dreaming, praying, and CREATING that I always should have been doing from the beginning so that this blog more closely adheres to all that I believe. Take this as my word and take this that I mean it.


  1. I too suffer from the paralysis of analysis, though I never heard that phrase before! ;) I carry these insecurities about my own artistic ability that I was given back in middle school (!!!) and to this day find all sorts of excuses to keep me from making the personal artwork I secretly crave. Like denying selfcare, I learned to use my skills to make pretty things for other people and copy already acceptable art rather than dare to share something more personal. What if, when I look, there isn't anything original left? I read a quote by Andy Warhol you will appreciate: "Don't think about making art just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, if they love it or hate it. And while they are deciding, make even more art!" It goes right along with the idea that, rather than halting completely to wrestle in our minds about how to make quality pieces, we NEED to be about quantity in the beginning. We need to rediscover our style, our strengths, our passion and we can only do that while knee deep in the artmaking process. Picasso said "Inspiration will come but it has to find you working." So let's you and I make a deal, shall we? Art teachers unite! Sisters in Christ hold each other accountable! I dare you (and double dare myself) to create a volume of work to share with each other by May 1st. 10 pieces? Good or bad, let's just post pics on our blogs (MrsQuam.com) and see what gems can be unearthed. Even if just one beautiful thing comes out of the 10, that's more than we would have had just sitting here talking about it, right? It will force us to make the time (and probably find more than we thought we had). To problem solve and be resourceful to get them all done (like we do everyday in our jobs anyway). To take captive our thoughts and anxious hearts, too. I love what you said about the act of creating making you feel active in your faith! I can only imagine how we'll grow spiritually, too, from taking this risk and laying our hopes in His hands. He designed us to live these beautiful lives! Are ya with me?!?

  2. ARGH!!!! HOW DID I NOT SEE THIS COMMENT WHEN YOU POSTED IT??!!!! I blame grad school. I love the idea but feel that I would be setting myself up for disaster with 10 pieces!! I don't know. I like challenges though and I know I should be doing more artwork. Hmmm...


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