This past weekend I experienced a rare and somewhat bewildering burst of inspiration. If this burst had had anything to do with writing, I might feel surer about it, excited to run with it. Because isn’t that where I want to direct my creativity? To my manuscripts in revision and to the new ideas swirling in my head? Instead, here are the outcomes of this inspired rampage:
One fleece sweatshirt.Two fleece hats. One cardboard dinosaur head. One dinosaur tail. One pair very baggy pants with a drawstring. One pair mittens. A host of cloth sandwich bags.
That’s right. I crafted.
All weekend, basically. I sewed and cut and measured and sewed again. I glued and taped. I cursed my inability to plan ahead and started over. It began with my son’s Halloween costume. (Obviously, he’s being a T-Rex). It ended with a headband for myself made with scrap fleece. Oh, and I finally hemmed those pants that were dragging in the mud.
What makes this all so monumental is that I don’t craft. I don’t sew. I don’t—and didn’t—use patterns. Yet somehow I managed to CREATE all these things from scratch.
In two words: LOVED IT.
I don’t really *make* that many things. Things you can hold. Every once in a while I experiment with something in the kitchen. But by now I’ve chosen my easy-to-bake artisan breads, so there’s not that much enjoyment from the experimentation (oh, but the eating…). Writing itself is a drawn out, abstract process. I probably won’t feel complete in the way I do now until a book is published, in my hands, being held in the same way I can hold the mittens I just sewed.
Creating tangible things is such an important process for me, but one I haven’t really embraced for a long time. I used to paint, but my paints and brushes have been in some kind of cryogenic deep freeze since I started writing. I don’t know if I’ll take them out, or just keep on this sewing kick. But the pride I felt at having made something concrete was so overwhelming it made me realize I wasn’t meeting all of my creative needs. I’m predicting that attending to both the abstract and non-abstract sides of my artistic self will better serve my writing, though I’m not precisely sure how to detect or measure that influence.
What have you discovered about different forms of the creative process? Do you experiment with both abstract and tangible forms of creation? What have you made with fabric scraps lately?
(Also, email me if you want those bread recipes. The dino costume you can figure out on your own like I did…)