Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
I’m reading and using a lovely book called Hook to Heal by Kathryn Vercillo as part of a Read-a-Long organised by my friend Di at Story Skeins. It is such an interesting experience, and I am finding it hugely beneficial to have a reason and incentive to think about creativity, art and crafting, the relationship between them, how they interact for me, and what they mean to me, my life, my family and my work.
My tendency is to seriousness, perfectionism and negative self-criticism, and in recent years, as my confidence has been undermined by my anxiety issues, I incline towards timidity, which in turn leads to me creating in a rather ‘stick to the rules – it’s safer’ way. I recognise these things within themselves, and four years of practising CBT and meditation (on and off) has helped me to learn not to beat myself up about it all. Vercillo herself has very stern words for that kind of activity – being kind to yourself is a real theme of the book. So no more of that, let’s move on to the positives.
I know that I do my best creative work when I allow myself to muck around, go with the flow, wonder what would happen if…. I also know that I enjoy myself most when creating if I commit to the rhythm of making, staying in the present, and not worrying about the next stage or the end product. So I am reminding myself to focus on the moment, the rhythm and repetition… the movement of the yarn over the hook, the turn of my wrist as I manoeuvre my crochet hook through stitch loops, the movement of fabric through my sewing machine, the pull of the thread through the fabric as I hand stitch, the rhythm as I create the symmetry of quilt blocks, one by one…
Vercillo asks us to make a creative commitment as we start out with the healing exercises in the book … I’ve been thinking of what I’d like and enjoy committing to (I don’t want to end up resenting the process). Here’s what I want to do:
I commit to focusing on the project in hand, when I am doing it, allowing myself to enjoy the act of creating itself, rather than worrying about the next complicated step, or the end product. I commit to enjoying the the rhythm and simplicity of the stitches that I make. I commit to trying new things, just for fun, without worrying about the yarn, fabric, thread or time devoted to playing and experimenting. I commit to being flexible when things don’t quite go according to plan, opening my mind to new possibilities and alternatives. I commit to trying again when things don’t work out the first time, or the second… instead of giving up in a haze of self-blame. I commit to thinking positively about my work, even my mistakes, even those things that didn’t turn out quite now I wanted. I commit to reminding myself that it is ok (no, it’s the right thing to do!) to have fun and ‘just’ play.
It was lovely to sit watching old Dr Who episodes with my boys last night, and then sit in the sun this afternoon, working on this little flower, being in the moment.