Saturday, January 20, 2007

Back Link Patchwork Creativity

After reading Charlotte’s article on handicrafts, I experienced a mental shift. She talks about how arts & crafts, homemaking, handicrafts, hobbies, are wonderfully creative art forms. They are expressions of “love, love of beauty, and love of family traditions”. Patchworking, baking homemade bread, creating scrapbooks, sewing your own wedding gowns are such divinely wonderful art forms, and yet, they are often viewed as insignificant. Could this be because the origins these art forms come from our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers?
sawyerglacier
Like Charlotte, both my grandmothers were highly creative. My maternal grandmother was the Baking Queen of our family, she knitted mittens for church bazaars and customers from neighbouring churches would come to buy them, she embroidered, crocheted quilts, and the precious objects she made for her dowry attest to other skills as well. My paternal grandmother painted in oil and watercolours. My mother sewed our clothes for us when we were young and living in countries where there were no department stores. Or who knows, perhaps there were department stores, but none we could afford.

It is so odd, but I was raised to believe that homemaking activities, all of my grandmothers’ creative endeavours were done out of a sense of economy, or a vain indulgence (in the case of my paternal grandmother, who didn’t like housework and tended to “go painting” as many retired men “went fishing”). How ridiculous this belief is. I wish right here and now to apologise to my grandmothers for this oversight. It might have taken me a long time to finally see the light, but I am convinced their forgiving heavenly spirits will feel the sincerity of my remorse.

How could I have been so blind? Of course baking, knitting, painting, embroidering were just some of many creative ways they used to express their love and beliefs. On some sub-conscious level, I must have known this because I write, cook, make collages, knit (on occasion), and quietly explore other artistic venues. I learnt from my grandmothers that it not as important to be recognised as an artist, as it is to feel creatively alive.

Somewhere down the line, we seem to have misplaced this modest goal in life: to live creatively. Guess it got squished out, or swept away in our rushed lifestyles: struggling to keep deadlines, got-to-go-got-to-go telephone conversations, and we-really-should-get-together-soon wistful promises. Which is odd, for I know deep down that all of my insignificant artistic endeavours keep me (mostly) sane; they give me a sense of purpose when all else appears confused; and, in the last years, allow me to pass on traditions to my own children from family relatives they didn’t have the privilege to meet.

2 Comments:

Blogger charlotte said...

Baking a tray of muffins or knitting or writing a blog post all serve to keep me sane too ... I think it's a necessary outlet. I love that feeling of being creatively alive, as you put it so well.

21 January, 2007 10:50  
Blogger lia from luebeck, germany said...

You are right about blogging also being creative. Yet, I'd never really considered it so. When I said I "wrote" I meant documents, and yet, what is a blog other than a document of a personal journey?

21 January, 2007 14:22  

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