Tuesday, August 19, 2008

25 Days, 23

I was reading a meditation on motherhood and its effect on creativity today and it got me thinking.

I am not an artist like the author. I am not even a crafter (because being a crafter requires you to actually know a craft. and I don't. I'm a dabbler.)

I screw around on my sewing machine. I temporarily learn a few embroidery stitches (I remember them long enough to knock out a couple of ideas and then I immediately forget how to do them).
I take mediocre pictures and try to improve them with Photoshop.

Before & After w/ Pioneer Woman tutorial
I even tried my hand at what they call "craft painting."



So, you know, I like to make stuff.

Anyway, I started thinking about how motherhood has affected my creativity. Time is definitely in shorter supply, and while before Dash I could explore every notion I got into my head, now I have to really want it. I keep a list on my kitchen counter of projects I want to make. It usually takes between one and six months for something to move to the top of that list, so if it's just a fleeting flirtation I cross it off and move on. The stuff that stays? That I can think about every day for half a year and still want to make? That's the stuff I know is important to me.

So I guess the first effect is editing. There's no more frantic "making" like there was in years past. I know what is important enough for me to spend my precious resources of time and money on (a quilt for Dash, a raised bed garden) and what's not (homemade yogurt, hand-sewn clothes, cornbread from scratch).

But there's something else. Something about mothering Dash inspires me to try a little harder at the things I do make. When I was making my little embroidery hoops I can't tell you how many times I had to pull apart that damn horse and start over.

I try to embroider
It was close, but it wasn't perfect. It would have been good enough five years ago, but it wasn't good enough for Dash.

I've never once seen him even glance at those hoops hanging over his bookcase. But in my mind these are no longer ephemera. They're heirlooms in the making. (I have visions of his wife sewing those scraps of embroidered fabric into a baby quilt for my grandchild one day.) When I'm long gone maybe I'll be remembered for the grumpy gnome, or Dash's weird little Christmas stocking. I want those things to hold up and to tell the story of our family. A story that says we're a little nutty, but that we tried hard to make things fun and lovely.

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