Friday, January 15, 2010

Story #25 Jane of all trades, Mistress of none

Before I begin, a question...Do you get those emails from places like MyLife or Classmates that say "You are in demand!" or something similar? I keep getting those and I have to say I find it disheartening when I excitedly open the email, wondering who could be demanding me and lo and the past 12 months one person looked me up. I realize this is just a ploy to get me to join their site....but if they really want to get me they should bump up the numbers a little. Anyway.

My creative abilities, like my energy, comes in waves. Nothing, nothing, MUST CREATE, nothing. Perhaps this is why I have experimented with many moments of craftiness - and yet I am greatly lacking in expertise in any one area. My sister-in-law and her friend Jill have this wonderful tradition of creative Friday, which has always sounded heavenly to me. They make cards, labels, work on scrapbooks, or whatever project they are trying to finish. I have thought this is something I should do! Or I should crash their party! In reality, I wonder if I would just sit across the table from them and stare, mind blank, no creative juices flowing. I could be their cheering section. "Wow, way to create." "WooHoo!" Or maybe I would simply gaze into space mumbling things like..."You're so pretty." (I know - I'm in a really weird mood today.) Could I be creative on demand? No, idea.

Now, don't get me wrong....I am not all thumbs or completely inept. In fact sometimes I think I may have created something great - but then I see a project of someone who is very dedicated to their art and I realize mine looks like some kindergarten craft involving a toilet paper tube. I think that is the main problem - I just can't seem to dedicate hours on end to building skills in one area. My name is Michelle and I have crafting attention deficit disorder.

Many, many years ago I went with my cousin, Warren, to his water color lesson. Warren is a very talented artist, so I think the instructor was expecting some sort of talent from me. I just wanted to observe the lesson but she insisted that I join in. She said, "Water color is a very forgiving medium. Just paint." Ummm...I looked over at Warren...I was cheating already...what was he painting....I'll just copy it. She caught on very quickly and became very frustrated, "Don't you have any ideas of your own? Let your heart decide what to paint." So I did what any normal, television raised child would do, I channeled Bob Ross and tried to paint a happy little mountain with a happy little lake. It didn't go well. Too many years of laughing at Bob Ross to actually get help from him. I am pretty sure I caused Warren's teacher to have a mini-stroke. She finally grabbed the brush from me and muttering under her breath, tried to make something artistic out of my blue circle and brown triangle. Apparently an artistic flair and anger flare go hand in hand. All the while, Warren was thoroughly enjoying the interaction between the two of us. Giggling as he painted these incredibly beautiful flowers. I was the artistic equivalent to the child in the corner with the dunce cap on. I have been terrified of water colors ever since.

A few years ago, out of budgeting concerns, I decided that I would not take on any new hobbies. Whatever hobbies I had experimented with at that point was it. I could try and excel in those and nothing more. So, for some reason that shut me down completely. In the past I have done:

tole painting
cross stitch
Russian needle punch

Just to name a few. I decided that nothing could be added to the list. Because, if you are crafty, you know that every craft comes with 4 billion necessary accessories. There is always some new invention, book or product that will improve your crafting abilities. I blame Martha Stewart. She made crafting accessories so cute you just had to have them - then all the other crafting companies followed suit.

So now that I have limited myself to these areas I have produced very little in the past few years. I have done a needle punch for my Dad and his wife, a cross stitch for my Mom, a few sewing projects for friends and the girls and that's it. What I would like to do is just put my girls on a couple of pedestals and say..."Look what I made!" Is that crafty enough?


Jill said...

I think you considering your girls your most amazing creation is a good thing, and should buoy you up whenever you feel a creativity crisis.

I think setting aside time to work on projects has been super helpful for Michelle and I. Of course, the time we spend together talking is totally therapeutic and entertaining, but because we get together weekly we're always thinking about things we want to work on. Those things have changed over the years from mainly scrapbooking to card making and writing, but it's inspiring to know we have that time and pretty much always have something to show for it.

Tricia said...

i'm A LOT like you in the area... in fact i just signed on to a couple new ones, crochet and a knitting class with kaite. we'll see how long those last!

i have no idea what Russian needle punch is but it sounds like a really butch drinking game!!

michelle said...

I can totally relate to this. I've always considered myself a jack-of-all-trades. I'm competent at a lot of things, but not great at any one.

I guess I have finally come to terms with the fact that I never truly wanted to devote my life to one thing, say, dancing or gymnastics or figure skating (I used to wish that I had done these things in particular). I am feeling pretty good about the balance I have going in my life. Yeah, I like to do a lot of things. Yeah, I wish I had more time to do all of the things I like to do. But for now, I just enjoy all of the snippets of time I do find to do those things...

Maybe I'll be a specialist in the eternities!