art

The Return to My Creative Self

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Batik dyes and supplies at the Traditional Arts Weekend at Wheatland Music Organization in Remus, MI. Photo by Sonya Julie

I have decided that I need to be much more creative. That I need to return to that joyous feeling of creating without expectation. I want to play with clay, paint, and beads. I want to dance, sing, play instruments, write poems, and share my story through art.

I loved artistic projects as a little girl. I was never concerned with doing something the right way, I just created. And it was fun.

I have artists on both sides of my family. My aunt was a graphic artist for the local phone company and designed ads for the phone book by hand. Each year for Christmas she would give me a big box filled with all sizes and types of paper, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, and all manner of art supplies. It would vary from year to year and it was always fun. I always felt so happy and grateful for my annual box of art supplies.

I would create dioramas with shoe boxes, mobiles, window art, sculpture, and more. I loved to draw, paint, color, and create. I would fashion flowers from paper, make cars from boxes, and sculpt the earth outdoors.

I learned guitar as a young girl and as I grew older I learned to play the flute along with the penny whistle, basic piano, accordion, bass drum, and any instrument I could get my hands on.

In middle school I would draw mazes and write stories. I learned photography and I learned to dye fabric. I learned the basics of architecture and drew grand homes. I sketched out ideas for fashionable outfits and clothing patterns.

In my early twenties I learned to make jewelry and began to sell it on consignment. I sewed clothing without patterns, wrote poetry, and continued to draw and paint. I made dreamcatchers and suncatchers to hang from windows and walls. I would express myself through dance and singing. I felt so alive when I created.

Then came college years, work years, and times of difficulty.

And then it all seemed to stop. I moved to a different home, packed up the beads and art supplies – much of it getting buried in a storage unit and the remainder in a dark attic. My only artistic outlet became gardening during times of depression and poor health. It certainly helped in times of sorrow to ground myself with my connection to the earth as my tears soaked into the soil as I created life and hope through planting little bits of life. The birds chirped, letting me know that joy was just around the corner, only if I would be brave enough to seek it.

I recovered slowly and I began writing again. And I would draw once in a while, maybe color a picture. I started learning to cook and that could be a creative outlet. But my creative self seemed to be a thing of the past. I missed that young artistic woman who was me once. The one who created freely with abandon and joy. What happened?

I began to write more and I knew it was something I needed to do more of – but I quietly worried that I wouldn’t write about the right things, that somehow I wasn’t doing it the correct way. I feared what others would think. I would start the introduction to a book and quit after a few pages or the first chapter.

I went to a Traditional Arts weekend and painted with water colors, played with batik dyes, and rolled dough in my hands as I formed yeasty balls that would bake into golden loaves. I learned to waltz to Cajun music and admired art.

I pulled out the beads, dusted and sorted the rich colors of the beautiful earthy materials and began making bracelets and necklaces again.

I learned that perfectionism was my enemy and that I could enjoy life whether I was in control or not. That nothing has to be a certain way. That surprises are fun.

Slowly my creative self returns and with that return I am feeling more alive and joyous. I feel an urgency to return to my creative roots, as though I have abandoned myself and I have been left parched in an empty desert. I seek to bury my hands in clay, string beads, write songs, and play with colors. Textures, sounds, and words waiting to happen. Through me. I must now be brave and courageous. Fear will not do. I have overcome many dark and difficult things to arrive at these days of joy. And the story of my journey must be shared. It is time.

 

 

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