Crafting Variety

A Multifaceted Creative Approach

One of the biggest things I wrestle with as a creative person is the sheer amount of varying things I want to do. Frankly, I am also tired of trying to pick a focus. I love all the different parts of my creative life. If I had my way I would do even more. There are many craft skills I have yet to learn. and yes, I want to do them all. I love learning new versions of the old ways. and if you haven’t heard me refer to necessary skills for the apocalypse (ooh, now I might have to do a post…) then wait about five minutes. I’m sure it will be referenced somewhere in my social media feeds.

Journal Covers
Journal Covers awaiting new homes at a craft show

So back to this here blog. I have wavered for a long time, probably since starting Heart of Autumn, on what focus the blog should have. Should it be for my crafts or my writing? Perhaps include the rest of my life, which encompasses horses, dance, cats, being pagan, survival skills (there it is! 15 seconds), my hubby (ahhh, put him as #1 on the list), living in Maine, and every other aspect of my life I find fascinating? Both more and less than I think it’s going to be at the same time. I’m sure that made a hell of a lot of sense. Did I mention the day job? Eh, that is what it is. It pays the bills and lets me do all these neat hobbies. Have I mentioned them? Oh, right. 

Who let me get off track again? It was you in the back. I knew it. If that’s chocolate you best be sharing. 

I’ve never had a purpose for the blog, other than connecting with other creatives and finding audiences that are interested in my crafts and writing.

Hey, dumbass, you gotta write and share in order to connect with others. 

Who was that? We’re upgrading from chocolate to booze here. Mead or craft beer, please. 

This share thing. I’m trying . It’s the hardest part for me about being creative. Yeah, yeah, self esteem and all that jazz. I still don’t wanna share, but, I’m going to anyway. Pretty much at the ‘I DON’T GIVE A FUCK’ stage. Which if you’re riding around in a carousel brings me to – 

I’m gonna write about it all. ALL THE THINGS.

Pictures, songs, poetry, my work and others, some stuff you might be interested in, some stuff you might not. But, hey. Don’t like my posts about animals or the environment, then don’t read them. Might not want to follow me either because what the fuck is wrong with you if you don’t have a soft spot for cute critters and oh, the air we breathe. I know, not everyone cares. I do. 

What else? I love to make things out of fabric. Yes, I’m gonna post about those creations and yes, I do hope you wander over to my Etsy shop. Money from there is what makes it possible for me to ride horses and take dance classes, and since you want me to be happy and in a good mood when I write posts then buy my stuff once in a while, eh?

Or not. Honestly, IDGAF. New slogan that I’m trying out. I think I’m gonna embroider that on a pillow or something. Quite serious here. That’s a kick ass idea.

Then there’s the mountain of I keep trying to climb. Encased in fog, barely a third of the way, and I keep going back down. Looking for that great climb where you push hard still manage to sing as you’re nearly dying from muscle fatigue. That’s when magic happens, right? When the skies part and the sun comes out? Reality is, that’s not gonna happen. Instead of turning back around this time , I’m gonna take some steps. Small steps. Stop and rest, when trail snacks are welcome. A couple more steps at whatever pace I can manage. Maybe I can get halfway up this time. The fog might clear. I might have to fight off some zombie squirrels. Can you imagine them? Spastic critters now in slow motion, but will appear out of nowhere when you least expect it. 

Extra trail snacks welcome, so I can toss the GORP as a distraction. Yes, I’ll sacrifice food to combat zombies. That’s how dedicated I am to survival.

Craft Show Items
A sampling of crafts from the days of showing.

What’s this post all been about, anyway? Letting you know that you get to follow my brain as it shoots off into different tangents, and getting to see all that I love, hate, and how you can bribe me to be more entertaining. Food, alcohol, and…COFFEE. I might have a slight dependency on coffee.

Thanks for reading this far, and stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ve gotta try out a couple of sign offs for the blog. My usual – In Light and Magic. Hmmm. Is that the right one? Readers, give me a shout if you have other ideas, or if you want me to keep that one. 

For now,

Amy

Crafting Variety

Find the Joy

JoyAn online buddy of mine posted recently about his decision to quit fiction writing. He was depressed and miserable trying to push though the struggle to force words out. Of course people came out of the woodwork to tell him to stick with it, that it will get better, that he should try a, b, or c. What he has figured out though, is that if something is causing you heartache and misery, even if you love it, then it’s time to let go. It’s not right at this point in his life.

This has nudged me to look at much of my life and some of the same struggles I’ve been facing lately. Many of the areas of my life which I love completely, have been more challenging than they should be. I’m tired of being drained by the things that should be building me up instead. I’m not going to give up what I love, but I’m realizing it’s time to revamp my approach. Find a new rhythm, a new dance. Find the joy.

Horses

Anyone who knows me realizes I’ve loved these animals since I was young. I walk into a barn and it feels like home. I love the soft noses that nuzzle and the sweet gaze that follows me around. However, after being thrown, leasing horses that weren’t right for me, riding with folks that have different focuses and styles than I do, never regaining my confidence and not having the right fit for instruction and philosophy for me, I’m rethinking my approach. I appreciate everyone that I’ve worked with and those that have helped me along the way.

I need to keep seeking the right approach/fit/style that works for me. Currently that means taking a break and easing back into the horse world slowly. Not trying so hard. Finding the enjoyment of just being with these magnificent animals. Putting aside goals, even the one to have my own horse, until I’ve found the joy again. Letting a natural fit happen instead of trying to force it.

Crafts

Ah, yes. Another love. I have made everything from art quilt wallhangings to full sized bed quilts to wedding gowns, creatures and bags and costumes. If it’s fabric, I generally can figure out what to do with it. I also love paper crafts and have dabbled in crochet.

It was natural to try and turn those creative ventures into businesses. I did for a while, first doing the craft show circuit for a couple of years, then an Etsy business online. Although I learned a lot from both, and had fun, they were failures. Why? Lack of business experience/knowledge notwithstanding, the bottom line is that I hate production work. I prefer to work on one of a kind pieces that I can really get into. Plus working full time really puts a crunch on the preparation time needed for shows. So, I shut the businesses down, and besides the immense relief at not trying to prepare for craft shows or produce inventory for an online store, asked – now what?

Now what, indeed. I’m trying to learn how to create just for myself without thinking of sending the piece somewhere or needing to make multiple for sale. It’s harder than I thought it would be. I’m trying to finish some of the projects that were set aside in favor of production. I’m finding I love creating for friends, family, and exchanging work with other artists.

Writing

This is the hardest for me to talk about. From the second grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Growing up and into college, I took workshops and classes. Wrote poetry and short stories. Alternated between hearing that I was a brilliant writer, or I sucked. Listened to those stupid, annoying, and wrong people that said I sucked, and didn’t write for ten years. The stories wouldn’t let me go though, and with a nudge from my best friend – ok, actually a push – I jumped back into the world of stories.

I’ll admit that I haven’t finished any of them yet. There are eight total, all carrying varying degrees of weight around in my head and heart. I realize part of it is still dealing with my friend’s passing, as she was a constant catalyst for forward motion. And my beta reader. And the one I gave my work to first with complete trust. Finding that inspiration to write again is challenging.

The other aspect to all is the desire to fulfill my dream of becoming a full time writer. I’m realizing that all it’s doing is putting pressure on my stories – are they clever enough? Am I showing, not telling? Are the characters real and developed? Do the plots zing? Is there enough humor in the writing? And on, and on, and on. It’s enough to drive a writer mad and stop the creative flow. Performance anxiety, or something of that nature.

The only way to stop the pressure it to dissolve the dream. Take away the parameters, and the cage, that my writing is surrounded by. Decide not to care if I ever publish anything or if anyone besides me reads my work. Let it go. Does that seem counter intuitive? Perhaps, but it is the only thing that makes sense. I’ve tried everything else. I’ve listened to advice, followed it, tried other ideas, discarded them. The only thing left is to just let go.

It’s actually a freeing thought rather than a disappointment. My terms for creativity is that there are none. I’m not giving up creativity – it’s a part of my very essence. To be clear:

  • I am a horsewoman
  • I am a crafter
  • I am a writer

Just on my terms, and without the pressure. I am joy.

 

Crafting Variety

Transitioning Focus

Dear friends,

I have closed my Etsy shop and decided to focus on my writing. After working with my most excellent life coach, I’ve finally realized that what I yearn for most is to have my stories come to life. I’m finally giving them the space and time that they deserve, and I do mean that literally. I’m transitioning Heart of Autumn to reflect this renewed venture, and would love to have you join me as I meander about the story pathways.

Crafting and art quilts will always be a large part of my life. I’ll be posting my creations here too, so Etsy friends, I’d love to have you stick around if you choose.

I’m excited to be here and have this new direction. It feels authentic and right for me. Off to find the magic within.
Bright Blessings.