A couple of months ago, I had the chance to take a glassblowing class (if you haven’t read how it made me think about the work of schools, you can read that here). I got a lot out of connecting with another teacher (Nathan), putting myself in the shoes of a learner, and experiencing something new with a friend. But it was making the glasswork that reminded me of how much I like to create things.
After we finished our pieces, we were talking with Nathan more casually about how cool the entire process was, and he said it was funny that he ended up being an artist. He hadn’t seen himself that way at all when he was in school. He commented that his best friend drew beautifully, and so his friend was always the artist. It wasn’t until he started blowing glass that he really felt any connection with art. My friend and I commented that we didn’t fancy ourselves artists, either, though we both liked to create. I learned that my friend’s husband also enjoys drawing and is encouraging this in his son (who has really taken to it). I started to wonder how much we focus on art as something one does with a pencil, pen, or paintbrush rather than anything we create. Creation is a process; the result may be a piece we can enjoy, but the process and accompanying learning is just as vital.
Ever since this conversation, I’ve been trying to bring more creation into my daily life. I love to cook, but I’ve been much more utilitarian with that in the past year and a half. Since this class, I’ve been trying to be more experimental with what I’m making, at least once a week. I enjoy baking, and I’ve started upping my technical ability to frost cakes. More than anything, though, glassblowing made me remember how much I love cross-stitch. Before my kids were born, it was a hobby that I did all the time. I looked forward to it at the end of the day; it was relaxing (most of the time), and I felt satisfied any time I finished a piece. Everything I made was for me, and I loved it. I haven’t gone back to it in years, but I left this class itching to find all my old supplies and see what I could make. A few days after, I went around the house and found old patterns, needles, and embroidery floss. Now, I’m onto my second piece and thinking up what I’ll stitch after.
I wish that I hadn’t let myself forget the fun and satisfaction of making something, but I’m glad that I had an experience that reminded me of it. For me, here are the two biggest takeaways:
1) If you’re still carrying around an image of yourself that was formed when you were a child, try abandoning it. Let yourself push past the boundaries of any boxes you were slotted into.
2) Try on something you haven’t done (in a while or ever) and notice what the process is like for you. Are you anxious? Happy? Enjoying parts that you can foster in other ways? See if you can figure out something that brings you joy you haven’t had recently.
I’ll be continuing to try new and varied things to see if I can kindle new parts of myself. If you try anything new or have an interesting takeaway from something you’ve tried, let us know!
Image is of Sara blowing her drinking glass at Hoogs & Crawford.