The idea to start a blog has been percolating in me for some time now. Around the time I was pregnant with my second son in 2010, I discovered the world of blogs…mothering, crafting, cooking, homesteading, homeschooling…you name it. It seemed there was a place for everyone’s ideas out there in the vastness of the world wide web. And in those blogs, I found a wonderful community of like-minded people, putting their ideas and creations out there, sharing their passion and knowledge. I loved how it felt like I got to know these other bloggers on a personal level and it was as if my circle of friends got wider and deeper. It inspired me (and admittedly made me a bit jealous at times) and I would often think, “why don’t I try that?”. 2012 will be the year that I turn 40…how the heck did THAT happen? One of my goals for this year is to start this blog and see where this journey takes me. I feel I have something to share and I look forward to it evolving and changing, growing and reaching, just as I strive to do everyday as a mother and artist.
So, here I go. Why I make things…
I have always been a maker of things. It started early in my childhood. My parents have always said that even as a toddler, I was happiest playing with crayons and paper. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was about 7 or 8 and I used to love sitting next to her with a ball of yarn and a hook, making really long chains. She and my great-grandmother used to crochet together on the sofa, working simultaneously on an afghan. There was such a rhythm and peace to their work, as they sat there together stitching away. I use the same hooks now that I did as a child and still even have some balls of yarn that belonged to my great-grandmother.
As I grew up, drawing became my passion, and then painting. After college (I majored in Fine Art), I became active in the arts community in Chicago, where I shared a studio space in a vibrant artist collective. It was thrilling to be working in a space where there was always so much energy and creative drive. There was always someone nearby for an impromptu crit (welcomed or not) and I really flourished as an artist and woman during this time. While I enjoyed painting, I still loved to craft and one year during our holiday open house I only made “crafty items” (fabric covered wooden jewelry boxes, frames etc…you get the idea). The studio was covered in ribbon and glue, strips of fabric and paper…I think my friends thought I had gone mad and set up my own personal sweat shop. But after that show, I had almost completely sold out of the crafty items. It was fun and a welcomed change from the seriousness of painting. I also loved the immediacy of crafting…by the end of the day I had a beautiful, handmade, finished product and wasn’t standing back at a painting pondering perspective or debating color theory (all that academic mumbo jumbo was still fresh in my brain.) That being said, I still love the smell of oil paint and fresh gesso on canvas, turpentine…and all that other toxic stuff that I shouldn’t love the smell of!
These days, my time to create is on such a smaller scale than it was back then. Having 2 little ones doesn’t allow for endless hours in the studio all to myself! After I had my second son, I thought I would never make anything again…it just seemed that the days were so much shorter and my energy so depleted and I hadn’t really made anything in so long. But slowly, I came around and the first thing I did was get out my sewing machine. I checked out dozens of books from the library and started to sew some simple things from patterns for the first time. I had found my groove! And then, I started to crochet again and lo and behold, I was once again a maker of things!
I spend a few hours in my studio most nights of the week, working on various projects I have scattered around…linocuts in various stages, 2 or 3 different things to sew or crochet, a half finished painting hanging on the wall begging me to come back to it. I turn on some music and jump right in. I pour through art or crafting books I’ve checked out from the library and make notes on things that appeal to me. It’s my time to find that part of me that is truly at my core and do what makes me happiest.
I want to think of this blog as a continuation of my time in the studio; a way to catalog my creations, share my process and get feedback from other people. I also think of it as a way to journal about my days as a mother and how the two intersect.
Thanks for listening.