The Birth of Story Skeins

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The Birth of Story Skeins

Would you believe I reached this point in my journey believing that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body? Despite physically creating so much, despite making things with my own hands every day of my life. I was holding onto an idea of myself that didn’t fit the facts. I had written off the idea many years ago that I was creative. That wasn’t the label for people like me. I was systematic, I was methodical. I could learn a skill, could practise a craft. But I didn’t see that as creative. To me “creativity” implied inspiration, talent, freedom and risk. I didn’t want the risk. I didn’t want to try and fail. I didn’t want to expose my ideas to scrutiny. I didn’t want my unacknowledged fear that I just wasn’t good enough to be confirmed.

And then, as part of a training course, I started reading a book called The Artist’s Way [1]. It’s a 12 week course in rediscovering your creativity. (Yes, rediscovering – for what child isn’t creative?) It unblocked the mental barriers I had spent most of my life building. I allowed myself to try new things, to discover, to play. I started creating in all sorts of ways, some familiar, some new. Crucially, I freed myself to explore all these modes of creativity without rushing to judge the end result. It’s a process, not a product. It’s a journey that has given me new life, and which I heartily recommend.

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As part of the course I undertook exercises, some of which involved writing about my dreams for the future. It really forced me to think, hard, about what I wanted from life. One of the dreams that came from those exercises was to be a yarn maker. Thanks to my newfound willingness to explore all manner of creativity, I felt able to experiment with combining my love for the fibre arts with other modes of expression. I was knitting socks from some experimental drop-spindle spun yarn when the connection between crafting with yarn and creating physical memories occurred to me.

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I realised that every single thing I have made for myself or my family is so strongly associated with at least some of the story of our lives. The metaphors we use for story-telling are closely linked to fibre craft: spinning a yarn … weaving the tapestry of life, etc. And throughout history, cloth, clothing and textile art has played an important role in communicating information between individuals and societies. Stories and yarn seem to complement each other in a very profound way.

And that, my friends, is why we are here right now.

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[1] The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron. Pan publishing, 1995.

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