Crafting Variety

Inner Child

I was grown up by the time I was five, I think. There are so many websites and books out there that encourage you to touch your inner child and set her free. My inner child certainly wasn’t typical; I didn’t paint or draw or play with other children very often. I grew up surrounded by adults, always wanting to be a part of that world, and serious from the time I was young. I knew rules. I lived by them every instant. Inner child? No. She was off in her own world.

My inner child did not play in the typical sense. She dreamed. She would dive into books, fantasy books, and read the hours away. There she could ride horses, wield swords, shoot archery, and fight to defend the kingdom. My inner child came out then. She would do the same with my She-Ra figures, making up stories while she played. It was about fantasy. It was always about fantasy.

It still is.

Horses and wizards and fighting the evil warrior’s minions are second nature and I write them into my stories. I finally realized the other day that just because my inner child was not, and never will be, a typical inner child, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t exist. Oh no, she’s there all right, full of courage and adventure.

She just needs a bit of magic.

Crafting Variety

Tree in Progress

I’ve discovered that when I work on a quilt, I hate it. Until it’s finished, my work just looks…wrong. I’ll piece or applique a section wondering if it’s really going to come out like the vision in my head. And then I start quilting. The commentary running through my head is – what the heck was I thinking to stitch like that?

Take for instance my current piece. I have high hopes for this wallhanging as it’s the second time I’ve worked with this design, so I figured I’ve worked out the bugs already. Yeah, right…I edge stitched and free motion quilted the tree. And it looked ok to me. So this morning I moved on to the braided duponi silk. I stitched the first circle and all I could think was that I ruined the quilt. Instead of abandoning the project, which was honestly my first thought, I decided to keep going and add more. Ignoring the doubt monster, who was telling me I was crazy for continuing since the piece obviously was ruined, I added a couple more lines of circle quilting following the braid. Once I finished and really looked at the overall composition, I’ve finally been able to realize that it’s ok, and that I need to keep going.

That’s what I’ve taken away more from this work in progress. I don’t like the piece until it’s right. As soon as I start to like what I’ve done I know I’m ready to move on to the next part. Hopefully the next time I feel like tossing my work out the window I remember to just keep going forward instead.

Back to the studio to deal with the rest of the issues in the quilt and convince myself that I will find solutions and I will like the quilt in the end.

Crafting Variety

Moving Meditation

I can’t meditate. Really. I know there are tons of books out there and self help gurus that say anyone can meditate. I can’t. It’s not just that I can’t clear my mind while trying to meditate traditionally, it’s that I get bored easily. Seriously, sitting in one spot while clearing your mind of thoughts and waiting for divine inspiration to strike? I’d rather shoot myself in the head.

I practice moving mediation. I first discovered that when I was doing some form of movement that I loved and had to focus completely on, like riding horses, that for the first time ever my mind was filled with nothing besides the task at hand. I was fully present with whatever I was doing. The ability to actually clear my mind of extraneous thoughts during that time was a gift.

I found after exercising, as long as it’s not boring exercise – yes, avoiding boredom is a theme for me, that suddenly my creativity would spike. Ideas would come to me out of the blue, and I would need a notebook NOW. Or I would come up with a design for a new art quilt, or figure out how to solve a problem.

The principle of mediation though is something I believe in as it relates to creativity. Moving the energy through your body so it flows allows creative energy to move in.

Only when we move the energy that holds us back – whether it is through moving meditation or traditional meditation – we open ourselves up as a channel for the muse. Or the divine. Our bodies are meant to be in motion, so if you’re stuck creatively, then try movement. It may take a while for the energy that your body is holding to get out of the way, but I guarantee that once you do you will find a lot more creativity headed your way.