Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What Will You Do WIth Your One Wild And Precious Life

Recently I gave a speech at my church on my creative journey. The starting point was a line in Mary Oliver's Poem A Summer Day.  Here is the poem and then my speech.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

What Will I Do With My One Wild And Precious Life

The one word people often use to describe me is Creative. I don’t think that tells you very much because I believe that everyone is creative. Its also been said that I am highly creative and I would have to agree with that description. There isn’t a moment that goes by that I am not thinking creatively in some way. I am --- The Queen of Creativity after all. That's the title of my blog in case you didn't know.

They say that the mind of a creative person is like have 2,857 tabs open on your browser. Its a little bit of an exaggeration but in its essence its true. I’ve learned that I tend to think differently than other people.

Currently in the works I have 4 knitting projects, 3 weaving projects, 4 art journals that I create in, several canvasses in progress, a novel and memoir of my grandparents that I am working on. In addition I am reading several books, working with clients and developing a new website. On any given day I can be thinking about what I want to be doing next. ** What if? ** Is one of my favorite phrases.

Have I always been this way, well no, I didn’t come out of the womb a highly creative person. Its been a long journey of ups and downs and beginnings and endings.

My mother planted the early seeds of creativity in me. She was a seamstress and taught me to sew at a young age. I made clothes for my dolls and then myself. Sewing led to many other creative passions, like embroidery, and knitting.

After high school I took up oil painting. I had no teacher, I just bought some paint and canvas boards and gave it a whirl. I was frustrated at not being able to create what I saw in my mind and gave it up after a couple years. I fell into a comparison mode which is aways a killer for creativity.

In college I majored in political science which didn't get me anywhere. Another degree in data processing got me into computers and its still a place I am very comfortable at. I worked for various companies including the IRS. I had a stint where I fixed xerox printers over the phone, shlepped books at Barnes and Noble and set up Michaels craft store. No real job ever stuck for me.

All my jobs were left brained activities, so where was the right side of my brain all this time. After spending years sewing I was drawn to spinning. It came into my life after seeing a demo at a fair in Wisconsin. When we moved to Utah I was determined to find a spinning wheel. After learning to spin, weaving was the logical next thing to learn. I really enjoy the process of starting from scratch and creating a useful and beautiful garment. When I am spinning or weaving I feel a deep connection with the women who created this way in the past. Some of the crafts I have done have gone the wayside but I still spin and weave.

My life as a weaver included two events that stand out for me. The first was when I was contacted by a man from Meridian looking for a weaver to make a tartan sample. A tartan or plaid is the fabric used to make kilts, the national dress of Scotland. He had designed the Tartan for the Canyon County Sherrif to honor their service to the community. To get a tartan designed approved, first you need to submit a woven sample to the Tartan Society in Edingurgh Scotland. Once approved then you can have yardage of the design woven and made into a kilt. Having married a Scot I always wanted to weave a tartan, so I jumped at the chance. It involved a learning curve and growth on my part. I still think it was a cool project to be part of. I tend to jump in and try something new if its something I really want to learn. Not knowing how to do something has never stopped me.

The second project that I am very proud of is The Thread Project. It was an international weaving project set up after 9-11 as a hope to bring people from all over the world together. Weavers from all seven continents collected threads from people all over the world and wove 7 tapestries. Each of these tapestries has 7 panels. I wove one of the panels of a cloth called Weaving Reconciliation. It was the one time I felt really connected to people from all over the world. I was fortunate to see the Tapestries when they were unveiled in South Carolina in 2008. To see them hanging together was an awe inspiring experience.

Beyond weaving I was also interested in the paper arts. I had made my share of cards using stamping and other techniques. I was fascinated by all the mixed media artworks out there, but I had never taken the step to doing any of my own. I had a sketchbook that I would draw in occasionally but it was never my main focus.

Then I sprained my ankle, it was a very bad sprain. I found myself stuck in the house with only the internet for entertainment. Online I found Danny Gregory and Violette Clark, both artists with great followings who inspired me immensely. I made the decision right then and there to become the artist I always thought I was. I mean what was I waiting for, the heavens to part and say YOU ARE AN ARTIST… no that didn’t happen.

I joined Violette’s message board, became a member of the GPS otherwise known as the Glitter Power Sisters. I started connecting with other creatives and making my own art. The focus of my blog changed from showing knitting and weaving projects to my explorations in mixed media art. I willingly shared my work, both the mistakes and the successes learned along the way.

Then there is that writing thing, the part of my creativity that I have the least confidence in. Many of you know that I write a novel every November. I’ve written several novels over the years but never could take them to the next level. Often I did not like what I had written, falling into the trap of feeling it was not good enough. So I set them aside, but one in particular kept pulling be back to work on it. This fantasy novel is a story I feel I am supposed to tell. This year I made the decision that its time I invested in my writing. If I am stuck then its time to go find someone to help me. I applied for and received a partial scholarship to a group coaching program for fiction writers. This is the year I am going to finish my novel.

Sometimes dreams stall, you forget about them but they never really go away. When I was a child I remember reading some of my grandparents love letters. They were written in the early 1900's. They had such a fascinating story and I always wanted to write about them. To go to Ireland, to see where they had been, to follow in their footsteps has been a long standing wish of mine. I am going to do that in June. Its going to be quite the journey but one I am willing to take.

In summary my one wild and precious life is all about creativity, dreams, and following them. I can look back on my life and see all the points that led me from one step to the next, that got me to where I am today. I think that the universe puts things in our path, you have to pay attention, when you see them you need to grab the opportunity and go for it. You never know what amazing things it will lead you to.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love and appreciate receiving your comments.