Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arts and Crafts

Yesterday the mailman left me all sorts of goodies. You know how it is feast or famine. You go for weeks and... nothing. Then one day a treasure trove of neato stuff. This is the neato stuff I got and it put me to thinking. So, watch out. Thar she blows!!!
I received Craft which I had totally forgotten that I'd ordered. Nice surprise!! I stumbled on a column written by Jean Railla. Her entry was titled Why Making Stuff is Fashionable Again. She posits four theories about why, and two of them absolutely fit when I tried them on. Her theory #1; "crafting allows us to make art out of everyday life" and #3 "crafting allows us the experience of the tactile world...making something that you can touch, wear or inhabit is satisfying on an almost spiritual level."
I have always crafted or done art, truly, for as long as I can remember. My mom was teacher and would bring home all the "dittos" that she gave to her third graders for me to color, or cut and paste. When I was in 7th grade I learned to sew. It was simple to whip up a cotton shift or a cute little wool mini a-line skirt. With my $5-a-week clothing allowance I was stylin' - I could make a skirt every week if I wanted and buy a top and knee-highs to match the next. I sewed because it gave me more choices - I could decide on the fabric. the length and the style which wasn't (and isn't) always possible when you buy off the rack. And I could have more clothes because the cost of sewing was considerably less than retail shopping. Later as a young mother with a very limited budget, I sewed and crafted to make my home beautiful, to make cute customized clothes for my kids and myself because I couldn't afford to buy goods of the same quality in the stores. My girls got to an age when they didn't want to wear handmade clothes - they were into labels - so I stopped sewing for them but I made clothes for myself because I didn't have the funds to buy what I liked nor could I find a lot that liked in the department stores.
When I was single mom, I went back to college and took a graphic arts program. I made art everyday and it was one the best times in my life. I took drawing and illustration classes, silk screening, painting, calligraphy and lettering. Oh, I was in heaven. After getting a degree, I did fine art and had a couple of shows. I was still in the mix. Still creating all the time.
I moved out of the country and found that I was forced to make my own clothes again because the offerings were slim and pretty much ugly. As a teacher I made art for the classrooms and encouraged my students to make art ,as well.
Then I moved back home about eight years ago, home to California. I was kind of broken. I had left a damaging relationship and I moved in with my mom. I found the job I still have here at the high school. It is very satisfying - I love the kids, and up until a few month ago I also had a night job at a restaurant to give me more income so I could go out to dinner, buy clothes, take vacations. But for those last eight years I didn't really do anything creative. I was becoming a grumpy old lady. I was sleep deprived from all the hours I worked and I really had no life because I was either working or vegged out. It wasn't pretty.
Last spring I quit the restaurant gig. Not a financially sound decision but I had to change something. I started browsing blogs about that same time and really got inspired. I thought, well I have no money this year, I'll have to make Christmas presents and I just plowed in. I took inspiration from all these incredible women who not only had the wherewithal to craft and create but, also, to write about it in posts. Those women and their blogs propelled me forward. Today I am a blogger and just about every day I create something, and I write about it. I am rarely grouchy and I cannot wait to get home a work on a project, take pictures of it and share it the next day. I have made some friends along the way. The statement on my profile says "learning to have a life." I think soon I will have to change that. I'm pretty sure I have one now. I can't afford anything in that Anthropologie catalog, but I can create something that looks just as hip and probably make it better and you bet, for way less cash.

I know you are probably tired of reading. That was a lot of spewing but please take a minute to look at this lovely merchandise I got from Posy Press. I ordered it from etsy and it's even cooler than I expected. I got a bunch of fabulous handmade cards.( Hey, Jen and Amy, I want to learn how to do that.) and then a sampler bag of vintage ribbons and buttons that are so cute I'd like to pinch their cheeks. That's what I'm talking about. This is what all of us need to be doing. This is a life - creating and gathering great stuff, passing it along, working in your art. It's fabulous.


Blogger maggiegracecreates said...

As much as I loved you before this, I have just learned there is so much more to love about you. I am so thrilled to have added you to my circle of friends. THis is a beautiful and thought provoking post.

Have a wonderful evening.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second Teresa's emotion!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Raesha D said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post:):)

8:23 PM  
Blogger posy press said...

i third it!
and i'm so glad you loved your goodies! can;t wait to see what you make with them...

11:22 AM  
Blogger jen b said...

Hey that stuff looks familiar. Lovely post Vallen. We are all so glad we have met you through this blogalishious world.

10:20 AM  
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