Thursday, November 06, 2014

For The Love of Making

I am a dabbler. Quilting, wool felting, sewing, embroidery, crochet, beading, clay, painting, paper crafts, miniatures, orange peels(??) For as long as I can remember I have wanted to try a lot of different artsy-craftsy-makesy things. There have been successes, flops, total flops, and sometimes just quiet inner peace and contentment, which might be best of all. Some crafts I return to again, and again, like sewing and embroidery, crochet. Some I give a go, then let it go... knitting, weaving. I would love to get back to a potter's wheel! I think sweating copper is fun. I am eager to learn more about circuitry, wiring, and fiddling with LEDs. Did you ever make tissue ghosts, paper snowflakes, walnut shell turtles? As a young girl, I was never happier than when I had some glue, tape, glitter, and paper on hand! I feel quite fortunate to be as much in love with making as ever, and even better supplied! Geoff has been a wonderful influence, insisting that the right tools, and good materials, matter. That it's worth the time to do a good job. Instead of feeling like I was just fooling around, or that I should get by with what's on hand, he's allowed me to respect the process, appreciate the value of ideas, time, effort, and interest. That's a priceless gift.

I used to keep what I affectionally call my Scrapbook of Domestic Fantasies. I still have it... magazine clippings, ideas, hopes, pretty things to admire, all clipped and pasted into a notebook. These days, it's all about Pinterest. On my Crafty Board alone, I have over 200 inspiring ideas. Some I have tried, some I hope to try. And then there are the WIPs! Works In Progress. Oh dear. Unfinished quilts, samplers, projects, a weird thing that was my lazy attempt to crochet a shawl... now mostly a thing Mr Foo sleeps on. Either I lack the patience, or the skill, or I've lost interest, but there are loads of WIPs in my stash. I almost added "lack of time" to the list of my reasons for having so many unfinished projects, but I think that would be disingenuous. When I get interested in a craft, or project, I make the time. I steal, borrow, and obsess over having time to make. It's not pretty, but it's true. And still, I keep adding to my digital Scrapbook of Domestic Fantasies, still hoping to dabble in something new, return to the projects that bring me that quiet inner peace and contentment.

Am I alone? I don't think so. Certainly not in our house, where making, tinkering, and building are such strong passions we have a separate blog dedicated to sharing our projects and interests. Our Young Makers Club, Love & Rockets ~ Art & Engineering has had this wonderful influence on my attitude... making me feel less apologetic, less sheepish, about robots in the driveway, wanting to make "weird things," throwing our hearts and energy into mentoring, exploring, and celebrating STEAM... even the crafty bits! Manual labor, art, tech work, auto shop, wood shop, home economics, cooking, DIY... all of those took such a hard hit in schools, were cut out altogether in most instances, and in many ways our national culture can be very dismissive and unappreciative of making, of creating, tinkering, playing for the sake of playing, so that I was aware that I suppressed my interests, and tried to adhere to the mainstream ideals, and downplay my "hobbies"... but no more! I love making, and I love teaching what I can, I love experimenting, and I don't always have a reason, or plan. Sometimes, as Adam Savage so passionately explains, 'You have to make what you can't not make.'

Making, I have learned, is even more fun with friends. And so in a couple of weeks I am hosting a gathering around our kitchen table, and maybe out the back yard and into the carport... I've invited friends to bring their ideas, their scrapbooks, their WIP's, their questions, their concerns, their skills, their supplies, and share. We'll have time to make progress on projects we want to finish. And I am hoping, too, we can exchange skills, offer support and encouragement and learn from each other. I really hope someone can teach me how to crochet a granny square! I even invited friends I know cannot actually come to Southern California... sure wish they could! But maybe they'll host an event, too? Maybe we will start a home movement, and all of us quiet dabblers, wild knitters, hesitant painters, ultra talented welders, and artful photographers will get together and share, encourage, tinker, dabble, spill glitter, and play together.

Hold on... more deep thoughts and other musings keep coming! I like, too, the idea of going beyond the daydreaming on Pinterest, and actually doing things. I can get inspired, and also discouraged, by all the crafts, art, projects and accomplishments in the glossy magazines, the blogs. It can be so intimidating! There are skills I don't possess, there are those flops I've experienced, and if I let it all fill my head, and if I think about not being as good as... it's a loss, a waste. So, yeah... let's not concern ourselves with perfect outcomes, with making the cover of MSL. This is about learning, sharing, growing, playing, and exploring, starting over, and if need be... giving up! There are some crafts I may never conquer, and frankly, some I will never bother with... if I see one more "amazing-this-can't-be-a-toilet-paper-roll craft" again, I might blurt: But it is. It is a toilet paper roll, and I don't want it on my Thanksgiving table, because it's not 'Uh-mazing!' It's a toilet paper roll. With googly eyes. Stop."

{Sorry, but hey, we all have our crafty limits, right?}

Have you seen Pinterest Fail? "Where good intentions come to die." It's hilarious, and reassuring.

"Not all who wander are lost."
J.R.R. Tolkein

"Not all who Pin & craft are going to make the cover of "Martha Stewart Living," but that shouldn't stop us from making our journey!"
N. Chickenblogger

1 comment:

warren said...

I love this and wish I could come to Southern Cal to participate. I ahve sort of been longing for something to make as I used to make a lot of stuff but it felt like it has slipped away...but then it occurred to me that our deluxe shed is a thing I am making...just on a huge scale...anyhow, I have to make stuff too and I feel a little more content now that I consider the place we are building as my largest project yet...sorry....rambling