I signed up last summer, but mainly have been reading the daily blog emails and the project files.
I'm a "crafter" (rather than just jewellery making or beadwork) and have dabbled with all sorts of crafty things - Crochet, glass painting, candle-making, sewing and dressmaking as well as beady things. With the beady side of things, I started out stringing (as most of us do), bought one of those "Native American" bead looms and had a go with that, before having a go at off-loom work. Next up - bead embroidery! (once I get enough courage!)
The reason I've stopped lurking now, is that I need help and advice from some of you. I'm struggling with what to do, and as I'm sure many of you will have found ways of dealing with this problem, I'm hoping some of you will be kind enough to help me. (I'm a wordy person, and always have been, so please bear with me!)
I'm not going to go into too many specifics, enough to say that I'm going through rather a dark time emotionally at the moment. I've discovered that my emotions do show through in my work - last year I went back to finish a large "granny square" crochet blanket I'd been working on intermittently over the last 20 years, wanting to finally finish it. I found I just couldn't. I'd worked on it when married to my first husband (which was another really dark time for me) and I could pick out all the squares I'd made during that time. They were "different" to the squares I made in happier times - the colour combinations were "off" - not the sort I'd usually choose, they "felt" wrong. In the end I dismantled it into smaller blocks, completed the remaining squares to finish the last block and donated the whole lot to a local animal rescue centre. I could not bear to look at it, or have it around me - which is probably why it took so long to finish in the first place. It felt OK to donate these as there were "happier" squares to balance the sad ones.
So, fast forward again to now. I feel unable to do any kind of craft work, as I don't want to have the negativity I'm feeling "on show" in my work. I feel I need to let it out somehow, but don't want to then have constant reminders of the dark and painful time I'm in now once things start to improve. I know I could make things and donate them but would hate for the pain I'm feeling to be passed on to anyone else. I've got a necklace that I'd nearly finished but don't feel I can do any more on it right now. I've got other necklace projects I'd gathered the materials for, but am unable to start them. I've got candles that I'd planned to make, but feel unable to do them.
Any help or advice would be appreciated; your patience at reading such a long post is appreciated too.
The next time someone promises me the earth but gives me manure I'm planting seeds and growing flowers!
First off: Relax. You'll get through it. Whether it takes weeks, months or years, your "dark spot" will pass, and one day you'll see an image, or pick something up, and a light bulb will go off and you'll be off and running. I can't speak for everyone in the world, just myself and those close to me, but I think most of us go through this at some point. Think of an author with writers block?
When I need a kick start, I find a tutorial for something simple, like a bracelet, then go through my bead stash to see what I have similar to what the author has used. Of course I never have the beads called for in the tut and have to make some adjustments and I end up with a totally different look, but it's a good kick start. While working with this piece, I begin to get thoughts and ideas for other things. ALso, when you look through the readers gallery, don't you ever get ideas for different color schemes, or see a focal you can't live without? I find I can come up with some unique and lovely pieces on my own after looking through the gallery for inspiration. (As long as I don't compare my work to the other peoples work, I can feel good about it!)
I enjoy real art galleries too, and the starving artists sales that we have locally. They give me ideas on form and color. DOn't force yoruself to "do" something. Go do an hour of something enjoyable and take that memory home with you. Bet with your history of crafting, you'll get tons of ideas after a while.
Thank you for replying, tcwhit - much appreciated!
i think my biggest problem is not inspiration - I've got lots of things I *could* do, projects I've gathered all the materials for, but more that I'm afraid the negativity I'm feeling/going through/living with will get tangled into the piece and that all I will see/remember when I look at it in future is the dark place I'm in now. I craft to create beautiful things with love, and right now I'm finding it impossible - and it's hard to deal with on top of everything else.
i've always felt that the idea that the emotions you are feeling when you create something go into that thing is true for me. So like when I unfolded that blanket, I could see all the old hurts and pain incorporated into it.
i hope that explains my problem a bit more clearly. You know how it is; we know how we feel but explaining it to someone else is really tricky.
I get ya.
I don't know if this will help you or not but here is what I do. I deliberately create a piece and put all those feelings into it. It's sort of a catharsis(sp?) for me.
I've posted before about the piece I created when my Uncle passed away a few years ago. I called it My String of Tears. And yes, when I look at it I remember the pain, but, I also remember the love and all the Good memories about him. I don't wear the piece and I would never sell or even give it away. I remember the pain then, even now I'm crying just thinking about it. But sometimes, we need to remember the painful paths of our lives take so that we can continue to grow and learn lifes lessons. We must have the bitter in order to taste the sweet life has to offer.
I would suggest you make something...anything. And put all your pain into your piece. And with each stitch, stroke, or cut you make put in your determination, courage, love of life, and all the strength you can muster into it as well. You maybe down, now, but YOU ARE on your way back up with each stitch,stroke, and cut. Not all pain is bad sometimes it's just an uncomfortable walk until we get to the good stuff.
I've been following a blog called the The Amazing Adventures of the Traveling Bracelets. I think BD mentioned them in one of the blog posts last year. It might help you see that making a project of anykind may help you work through your problems. Here is the addy for it. http://travelingbracelets.blogspot.com
I hope this maybe of some help, or comfort to you.
southwest Texas USA
SEllen, thank you.
thanks both for the supportive suggestion and for the link - definitely food for thought there. Going to explore Sig's blog a bit more, I think.....
To tcwhit, SEllen and D.M.Z.,
I'm back to say a heart-felt thank you to those of you who were kind enough to reach out a hand to a complete stranger, and offer support. I'm truly touched that you were willing to do so - and it's helped me a great deal. It's given me a ray of light and I didn't expect it to affect me like it has. It was like receiving hugs from afar!
I've been and had a good look at Sig's blogs, both her "travelling bracelets" and "the cracked bead" on her "Beaded Bear" website - and it was whilst there that I realised in your own ways, you were ALL right...... It doesn't hurt to rest awhile, to gather oneself together and take a deep breath. Then maybe create something with the sole intention of channelling all the stress, pain and hurt into it, so that it can be seen for what it is. I think that's what I need to aim to do next; I've seen SEllen's "My String of Tears" so now know it's possible to create something truly beautiful out of something painful. Thank you for sharing that with me - I didn't know I needed to know that, until I saw your beautiful bracelet. You can see the love that went into it, even through a monitor picture. The "travelling bracelets" are similarly beautiful and I love the stories that go with them.
So, my wish for you all is this: may you always find exactly the right colour bead that you need to complete the next project!
Sending big e-hugs to each of you as well as these flowers
P.S.: I've decided that the next time I'm promised the earth and given manure, I'm going to plant seeds and grow flowers!