For the past year, I’ve mostly lost interest in making things. I had my Regency dress project; I worked on that in spurts, and had fun sharing it on my blog, but overall I haven’t had sustained energy or interest in making things.
I haven’t even been interested in knitting. That is unprecedented. A friend invited me to join his knitting group, and I realized that I don’t even have an ongoing knitting project to bring. (WHO AM I???!!)
I’ve been really frustrated with this loss. I want to want to make things. I don’t want emotional/physical stress to take creativity away from me. Making things helps me to feel better. I feel like my top de-stressor / part of my identity has slipped away.
A few weekends ago I made a big effort to get the ball rolling again with a small knitting project. (Sorry, yarn pun not intended.) I tied together lots of small yarn scraps I’d been saving, and made a little bag for storing earbuds. There were a lot of loose ends to weave in (bleh) but I still had fun.
I also brought out my crochet quilt that I’ve been slowly adding to for a few years.
The idea behind this project was to use only left-over bits (mine, and donated) and not spend money on any new yarn, so that it would be a long-term project to pull out whenever I want something easy to work on. I have caved in a few times and bought new yarn for it, and I’ve even started frogging (unravelling) some older projects that I don’t wear as much any more so that they can have another life in this quilt.
And I did another thing that feels like a big plunge: I bought a bunch of rocks!
I’ll back up a bit.
Last spring I took a jewelry making class where I learned the basics of working with metals: cutting, texturing, soldering (connecting metal pieces), setting stones, etc.
And I LOVED it. See, I made things!
The problem was, I was injured at the time and found it difficult to travel to the class, and even to sit long enough to work. I’m still affected by that injury, but doing a lot better.
I really wanted to take that class again this spring, but I didn’t feel quite well enough yet when the time came to register. I was hesitant to invest a significant chunk of my savings, and to add another commitment when I was still finding it hard to go to my job a few days a week. It was disappointing, but I decided to wait.
My plan is to take another class this summer, and to figure out how/where I can use a studio on my own time, since I don’t have my own space or equipment. I’m even hoping to start selling what I make.
I know it will take some more practice. I’m a beginner. I haven’t had time to really develop my own style, and I don’t have my own equipment or workspace. But I’ve had a lot of fun with this, and if I can begin by partially supporting the learning experience, then I’ll be happy. I think a realistic goal would be to have some first sales, and cover the cost of materials plus a wee bit of my time.
I have that very typical fear that likes to harass some creative people. It says, “Who do you think you are? You think there’s room in the world for you to just do what you want? You think you could actually make a living by selling HANDMADE JEWELRY? What the hell are you thinking?”
Basically, I see that Portlandia sketch “She’s Making Jewelry Now!” and feel bad about myself.
But recently I’ve started following more and more social media sites of people who actually do this. I see updates of what they’ve made that day, and supportive people excitedly supporting these artists. I truly have no idea if all these people earn a living income entirely from creative projects, but do I have to aim for that?
At this time in my life, not only am I physically not able to work at a typical 9-5 job, but I also don’t really feel like I can do that and be a moderately happy person. I’m already modeling a sort of living/working model that seems to suit me better: I have a part-time job that I go to, and I do some freelance writing on the side. My work hours are currently way less than average because I’ve had to spend the past year intensively taking care of myself, but this is more or less a scaled-down what I’d like to be doing with my life.
It’s not very stable, and that’s scary, but just maybe I can make it work. There are so many other people out there who do customize their lives this way. Maybe I can be one of them-or at least try it out for a while.