Monday, 20 June 2011

To create or not to create, that is the question

Someone asked me on my facebook page over the weekend ( ) if it was moving on to a boat that started me off crafting and it got me thinking.  My family have all always created things you see, and when I was a kit I was always a bit shocked when one of my friends didn’t know how to do something “crafty” that I did.  Mum worked part time when my older brother and I were little, and then when she was home with us and our father was at work she worked as a dressmaker and tailor for extra pennies.  One of my earliest memories is us padding round the living room in bare feet looking for pins! Lol!
My mum worked really hard at creating things with us too though; another really early memory that I truly treasure is the three of us sat around the table making “jingle bells” for the Christmas tree out of egg boxes, matches, some cotton, and loads of glue and glitter.  I can’t speak for my big brother but I absolutely loved it.  My friends didn’t get to do anything nearly so exciting!
It carried on throughout our childhood as mum would make all our soft furnishings whenever we moved, and we always had the most amazing cushions that she would create through layers of embroidery and appliqué and after my much missed daddy (technically Step Dad) moved in with us he brought a new medium to the house as he painted the most beautiful water colours and oil paintings.  He also wrote poetry and novels so there was no bounds to the inspiration around us.
This is the illustration my little brother did for the cover of my dads book we were publishing when he rushed off to heaven... He never saw it, but he would have loved it. It was part of the things I was doing to boost his mood in those few weeks he got after diagnosis. ( I got letters from Kate Bush and the Moody Blues for him! Should have seen his face!)
You can find this book at Blackwells online but it says out of stock so when they get the order they place the order with my uncle who holds the stock of the books we had published). It's a great read!
It was actually printed just a few hours after dad passed away. I wish he'd seen it. It was going to be an awesome surprise for him. We sent a copy with him when he "went" though...

This is the portrait my older brother did of dad to go on the back of the book cover.  It is totally dad! lol!

My older brother worked mostly at his drawing and painting within the sci-fi realms and his work is stunning.  I was always more taken with the textile side of things and created soft sculptures that I still love to this day! My favourite was a cascade of individually handpainted and stitched ivy leaves flowing down the front of a cushion! After many years of use the delicate fabric of the leaves eventually gave way but one of my few regrets in this life is throwing it away in a fit of tidying!
When my younger brother got old enough to get in on the act he went the sci-fi route to a fair extent but in a darker style than my older brother.  He made some stunning sculptures but his love of the computer and our digital age definitely influenced him and he produces digital art that I wouldn’t know where to begin at recreating either with a computer or a full complement of traditional mediums.
So on fathers day, we all turned up (unplanned!) at my mum’s house, where due to a sneaky and fast attack of terminal lung cancer dad can no longer be found,  and there we sat  in a house filled with one of a kind originals, and talked about our current creations and passions and it was so lovely.   Dad would have absolutely loved it.  His last unfinished work is still in my mums room and although it’s unfinished it’s still gorgeous, and it’ll stay that way forever. I can’t imagine living in a place where there wasn’t a splash of love in the items that surround me though. The thought of buying mass produced art gives me a physical pain in my chest and I wish that there was some way of nudging those folks buying these duplicates and pointing out that having something unique and special isn’t actually that expensive or difficult to do. If you’re afraid to create something yourself then there are craft markets all over the place, and for those not willing to go hunting for fear of being lost in a creative maze, then why not see what’s on Etsy or Folksy or even Ebay?  You can buy an ACEO for a couple of pounds – why not have five and put them in a long photo frame? No one else will have the same thing hung in their lounge and you can be proud of something beautiful and unique that your friends will at worst talk about (art SHOULD be talked about!) and at best envy and adore and go off and find their own unique pieces.
Don’t be afraid to create – you don’t need to spend a lot of money – paper and pencil can produce the most amazing pieces that will melt your heart!  My current passion is one that I’d not played with since I was fifteen, but I’m having so much creating really vintage style but classic jewellery that I honestly love.  I posted some pictures to my facebook page just to share as I was so pleased with myself, and almost instantly sold the first pair of earings I’d made. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, then someone out there will share that passion! Go talk amongst the forums on etsy and folksy and share the love of what excites you in the world of cushions/door hangers/lavender bags/miniature paintings/ whatever!!

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