Weeks into the new year, sitting in my “nest” propped with pillows, laptop in my lap, I am finally writing my first post of 2014. Last year ended with more days in bed than I liked, and so far the new year shows little change. Less exertion causes more pain flares, super fatigue, and crashes in bed. Frustrating, but there IS hope in this new year… I will be seeing a new doctor the end of the month, and pray that someone looking at my whole health history, not just single symptoms one at a time, will result in some answers and possible treatment that could give me some of my life back. No guarantees, but Hope!
Until things improve health wise (or not), I need to do a better job of living with this body I have. As past blog posts (or lack there of) show, the creative blahhk doesn’t seem to want to go too far away. Each time I feel the old creativity returning, something seems to pop up to bash it down again. My quilting and art used to be very therapeutic, but the struggle with blocked creativity has at times added to depression and more. My gardens are good for hiding from the world in warmer months, even if tasks take 10 times longer to do with all the breaks I have to take. They also give me a reason to get out of the house to take walks with the camera taking photos of the various blooming treasures I find. A few plants in our little greenhouse pop a bloom or two through the winter like the first photo above, but that isn’t much, so a different escape is needed in the cold months when most photos are taken through windows or doors, like the Winter Gardens photo.
Quilting used to be my main cold weather escape, but with lack of ideas and arms too achy to use a sewing machine much of the time, I need to find to other creative outlets and ways of doing things. I have been slowly collecting supplies for experimenting with mixed media and paper arts. I have not done much more than making the monthly art cards for the “Arts in the Cards” exchange group or occasional postcards for Postmark’d Art, and many times those were a struggle to do. One group of fabric postcards is in the photo, right, created using fabrics cut with my die cutter, which helps me cut intricate designs without cramping my hands using scissors. I also played with new pearl pens and other new supplies.
During the past year I moved my mixed media and paper arts supplies next to the kitchen table, so they are handy to use even with short periods of playtime. I was blessed early in 2013 to win a number of prizes of new art supplies from online contests and promotions, and they now are well organized so I can easily use them (dollar store and recycled containers help a lot). Having the supplies handy has also helped to introduce the grandkids to art which helps me lots by giving them something to occupy time when I am babysitting. Watching kids play with paints, markers, glue sticks and paper is so inspiring. They have no hang-ups about creativity and just play with what’s in front of them.
In addition to the kitchen art area, I did some rearranging in the living room next to the couch where I have my “nest”. A table and lamp replace a clothes rack that had been at the end of the couch since a closet was lost due to some remodeling. I keep my laptop on a tray table in front of the couch for easy access, and a plastic sweater box holds random essentials next to me on the couch, but having a table and good lamp beside me helps a lot to make it possible to do something artistic while snuggled in my “nest” on those not so great days. My “nest” also gets used by tired out grands occasionally as shown in the photo below <grin>.
People choosing words for the year got me thinking about what I might choose. My first thought was HOPE, but it takes so little for that to be dashed, I decided another choice would be better. I decided that PLAY would be a better word for the year, because I need to learn to play again just for the sake of playing (just like the grandkids do). Too much time has been spent worrying whether what I make will be “good enough” to sell, or if I can sell enough items to “pay” for the supplies and equipment I have purchased. When I was selling at the art and craft shows, income was the reason to create (in addition to the joy and escape of creating), and I was able to easily cover the costs of my purchases and more, but since having to stop selling that way, sales dropped. The “reason” for creating disappeared since things weren’t selling and the creative blahhhs arrived. I am hoping if I take the need to try to sell out of the equation and just play for the sake of play and “therapy”, who knows, maybe the creative blahhhs and maybe even some other blahhs will lessen.
So far I have been able to get myself to play at least a little most every day this new year. I did have some postcards and art cards that I had to finish, so began to play with them in mind. The kitchen art area is great for painting paper and small pieces of fabric, the “nest” is working well for doing things such as doodling with pens on fabric or paper, or putting the finishing touches on my postcards and art cards. Right photo shows some fabrics doodled on with micron or white gel pens.
Above, alcohol inks, then stamps on a recycled Tyvek envelope with card stock used for extra ink from the applicators and more stamps. The purple piece was used on a group of postcards along with some of the doodled fabric farther above.
The postcards above also have die cuts from an old gardening book with Inktense pencil, metallic gel pen and marker leaves. I also used Glossy Accents by Ranger over some of the color to add texture and shine. The circles are from a tissue paper with holographic polkadots.
The Arts in the Cards theme this month is Junk Mail, so I started with some magazine subscription postcards coated with gesso and drawn into with a skinny cotton swab to allow to let some of the color from the postcards to show through. After dry, color was added with water soluble oil pastels and paints, then more bits of ads and other stuff from the mailbox were added.
Above are the finished cards. I used the die cutter again to cut the circles and hearts, then after everything was glued on, doodled with a black pen, the white gel pen and a pink metallic marker to jazz up the flowers. More detail of the process is here on the blog. Not too much has been done with fabric for the year yet, but at least I have found ways to play with little bits of this and that. Maybe there really is hope that I can keep creating in some form or another this year. Maybe learning to play will help me with getting my body to heal, too. Time will tell…
This post is being linked up to Nina Marie’s “Off the Wall Fridays”