Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I came to craft fairly late in life. Of course like everyone, I had my share of childhood popsicle stick creations, expressionist playdoh ash trays and macaroni sculpture. And although I am sure I enjoyed all of these projects, none were done for the reasons I craft today.
I came to craft in the weeks following my mother’s death; a beautiful woman with an infectious laugh, kind manner, optimistic outlook and the ability to create anything with barely any resources or supplies. For years I watched her transform; found junk into high end home décor, inexpensive generic clothes into runway fashions and simple everyday items into one of a kind masterpieces. Not exactly your traditional crafter, her tools of choice were a stapler, glue gun and a keen eye for style. When she passed on, the world crashed down around me and everything went dark. Suffice to say , we all take the death of a loved one hard… but I did not want to take it at all. If not for the love of family, friends and an amazing partner, I am not sure where I would be.
In the beginning, the first things to penetrate my darkness were colors. I had taken many of my mother’s things with me and I often fixated on the colors as I stared blankly at a vase, pillow or item of clothing. From there pictures, my mother had hundreds and I thought it important to share them with others. The problem, I didn’t want to part with any of them, and thought it pretty cold to just send my grandmother pages of scanned duplicates.
I found a scrap book and began to create a funny book of pictures and sayings. It took well over 100 hours and with each cut of the scissors, and swipe of the glue, I found myself smiling and laughing. And when I imagined how happy my grandmother would be to receive this, I felt even better.
Over the next 3 years, I fell in love with colors, textures, paper, cloth, yarn and glue. My partner and I opened a store and created a business. I learned to knit. I learned Photoshop. I started wearing bright colors. I took flower arranging classes. And I started to sketch. But most importantly, I found my mother again. She laughed with me while I created, she smiled at me when I wore a new creation, applauded me when I learned a new skill and hugged me when I gave a handmade gift.
We all come to craft for some reason. Maybe it is a desire for some thing we can’t afford a quest for some item that can’t be purchased or a need to work with our hands. Or maybe, like me it is a need to frame our sorrows and loss with a handmade gilded creation, to lift the darkness with a coat of fresh paint, wrap our aching spirits in a knitted shawl, to adorn our souls with buttons and glitter and to not only wear our hearts for all to see, but to also trim them with ribbons