Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

September 25, 2015

Creating and Grieving

There's something I've been wanting to chat about.  See that bronze sculpture to the right of the fireplace?


Here's a better look:


It's a sculpture that my grandfather made, in his early days of making art.  He experimented and practiced and sometimes things turned out a little wonky, but eventually he honed his skills and for a time he even owned his own art gallery in Toronto.  I have three other pieces of his work: a small bird on a branch, the striking centaur, and a tumbling gymnast (plus the headboard he made us).

I've been looking at this sculpture a lot, thinking about how much my grandfather practiced his craft.

As a kid, I was so prolific - much to my Mom's chagrin.  I churned out drawing after drawing, doodling on anything and everything, including important paperwork.  She had to deal with stacks and stacks of messy drawings and wibbly wobbly clay pots.  I just loved art and was convinced I'd be a photographer, painter, or interior designer (much to my Dad's chagrin), but somehow I've lost some of that joy.  I sometimes find myself overwhelmed - instead of inspired - by the sheer volume of (sometimes kind of disposable) crafts and DIYs that are shared online.  Lately I've channeled much of my creativity into "practical" projects, like a pot holder, catnip toy, painted planters and home renovations - money saving projects I can use and feel good about.  For some reason, I've felt the need to justify the time and expense of making things but this preoccupation has really done me a disservice.   

I could really benefit from some time spent making things just for the sake of making things.  I have to admit that the traumatic passing of a relative this spring has been difficult to process and my family is still reeling from the shock.  I, myself, have good days and bad days, but I've tried my best power through the bad days and downplay the stress, anxiety, and grief I'm feeling.  I spent the first half of September in Toronto, helping to tie up some lose ends, and that re-awakened all kinds of feelings.  I left feeling immensely guilty and sad and agitated.  Creating things is said to help alleviate stress and anxiety, and is especially recommended to help with the grieving process.  So why has a craft and DIY enthusiast like me not jumped at the chance to create things as part of the healing process?

Hopefully this gal will encourage me to recapture some of my childhood zeal for arts and crafts!  To make stuff, just because; to try some of the 1000+ projects I've pinned...  I'm thinking that a pottery class might be just what the Dr. (that would be me) ordered...

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23 comments

  1. aaaw, i love her and love what she means to you. thinking of you!

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  2. Love the statue and think you're right to get involved in something creative to help destress yourself. My husband paints and totally loses himself in his paintings.

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    1. That's wonderful! I used to feel that way too - I'd hang out in the centipede-filled basement for hours on end, painting. But now I have a stack of paintings I have no room for and it's been such an obstacle for me. I didn't realize how often my creativity was tied up in "I need some art here and can't afford to buy any"... It's going to be a process to learn how to create just for the sake of creating.

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  3. I think delving into your creativity is incredibly soothing. Good for you! I love that sculpture and that it has meaning behind it.

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    1. I hope it will help - I could really use some stress relief right now :)

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  4. it's interesting how we respond to different types of grief- diving in or pulling way back, creating extremes. A few years ago I lost a close friend to an overdose and my response was to lock myself in the guest room and completely redo everything in it over 48 hours- I just need to do something immediately to distract myself, and I needed a pretty outcome. Then this past winter I lost my grandfather, and I've really fallen off the creative wagon since then. I'm justttt starting to tip toe back in now, like you, and remember that making things makes me happy and sitting under the covers watching Hulu does not. I can't wait to see what you come up with :)

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    1. Oh gosh, you've had some rough experiences with losing loved ones. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and your grandfather. Losing a loved one just sucks - that's all my family keeps saying, "this sucks".

      Sitting under the covers binge watching movies is what I started to do! Luckily I had a bathroom reno to force me off of the sofa, but it's a constant struggle. Even getting outside and spray painting planters was fun, but I need something really creative and pointless and just for the heck of it. But life, man, it's so boring! Right now I'm cleaning out garbage from my basement. Ahhh, to be a kid again... and not have to deal with ANY of this crap. Every time I see a little kid trying to be an adult I want to shake them and say, "enjoy this time!!!"

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  5. Lovely statue. The fact that they say heredity plays an important role in what a person will eventually be does not mean that an artist's child or grandchild has to become an artist. On the other hand one never knows when and how artistic skills and creativity will strike! So give it a chance! I am not the child of an artist but my dad acted in an amateur drama club and my grandma stitched a lot. I am an amateur actress and I stitch a lot too. I wish I had taken my mum's beautiful voice too. But we can't have everything! I am starting ceramic lessons this week too!Why? Because I love ceramics! I am sure I won't be able to make something really good or special but it will be mine!So go ahead and find the artist in you!Because as Shakespeare said The whole world is a stage and I say All people are artists in some way or other. And you are definitely very very talented!Hugs!AriadnefromGreece!

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    1. I'm so excited that you are starting ceramic lessons - and jealous too! I signed up for a local pottery class and then got a call that the website hadn't been updated and the class was, in fact, full - with an extensive wait list. Never mind - bought a box of air dry clay, I'll teach myself, lol. You'll have to tell me all about your class!

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  6. Cut yourself some slack! Grieving is different for everyone, and unfolds on its own wonky schedule. If you feel like creating, create. But don't force yourself to do DIY or crafts because "they say" it will speed healing. The whole thing just sucks, as you say. I lost my mom and my best friend within a year of each other...that sucked. But with time, you'll find that glimmers of joy sneak into your days. And at first, you'll feel guilty for feeling joy. But remember, your loved one would want you to experience joy and creativity. In the meantime, be patient and kind to yourself.

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    1. Oh gosh, I can't even imagine losing my mom and best friend with a one year span. That truly must have sucked. I'm so, sorry for your loss. You're so right about feeling guilty - I feel that way a lot. I won't push it, but I really need to try what I can to de-stress. I'm trying a shrapnel approach: crafting, yoga, better diet, counseling - anything that might work. I understand what you're saying about letting it unfold, but I also don't want to sink. I need something(s) to keep me afloat, distract me, help me focus on the joyous things in life. But I'll heed your advice and not force anything that doesn't feel right. I trust you because you came out the other side of two terrible losses.

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    2. I like the shrapnel approach! I need to work on the better diet, and I've been on a crafting jag of late (and building a new house). You definitely don't want to sink, so don't forget friends in your list of survival aids. :-)

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    3. I haven't been able to tell friends what happened because of my family's request for privacy. But I broke down and told one friend and she and have been talking about a trip, so I'm really looking forward to it!

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  7. Your statue is so majestic. I hope you are finding peace. Enjoy that pottery class.

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  8. Oh God! This must be amazing! I've always wanted to create something like this, so when I'm gone my kids and grandchildren can say "My grandma made this". So beautiful.

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    1. It's such a gift to be able to create something beautiful with longevity - the kind of thing that gets treasured and passed down.

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  9. I like this piece, it's simple in it's design but intricate in it's makeup. It's interesting that both you and your husband's grandfathers are/were artists. Now I'm thinking you guys had to meet in some art gallery or something of the like lol.

    It's funny how much we are alike. When I was a kid I used to draw ALL the time too. First thing I would do when we sat down at a restaurant with paper place mats (which I just noticed don't seem to be a thing any more but were at every place back then) was to ask my mom for a pen and then "what should i draw?" lol. I was always doing some kind of drawing or coloring, it was my fave. My most prized possession was a huge box of crayons in a carrying case with a handle and built in sharpener. I also wanted to be a photographer and interior decorator/designer at one point in time. A few years back we also had a traumatic loss in our family of my step brother that greatly impacted our family and especially his young son who was with him when it happened. People always say it will get easier with time, the loss doesn't get easier but time seems to make it more manageable as you allow yourself to get distracted by life.

    A pottery class sounds awesome, I did a little bit of it in junior high, it was fun. You should try crochet, it's pretty cheap and pretty relaxing once you get the hang of it, which is pretty easy. I personally don't even like the look of crocheted items, (they look old ladyish to me) so I just make things to sell or give away. I remember you saying your grandma was trying to teach you at one point. Try youtube videos if still interested, that is how i got it since I am a lefty.

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    1. Hubby and I both have creative families: his dad's a woodworker and my mom is very artistic too, and then both our grandpa's (plus his grandma) were/are artists. Even my grandmothers were both hands-on: cooking, crafting, baking - but that might have been a generational thing. Hubs and I met while working as historical re-eanactors! I was in "family life," where we did displays of baking, cooking, sewing and beading leather. He was in trades, making buckets and barrels. So it was kind of an artsy location to meet!

      We do sound alike - I swear I had a really similar set of crayons! I'm not surprised you were creative as a kid because you're still super creative now and I'm always in awe of the different crafts you try and how often you experiment with something new.

      It's funny what you say about crochet - my grandma says she does it because it relaxes her! I found learning aggravating but I can see how once you get the hang of it, it can be relaxing and soothing. Once I was into it, my last embroidery pillow was like that. Hellish at first, but then soothing to work on it for an hour in the evenings.

      I'm so sorry for your loss. I really feel for his son, that must have been so difficult to deal with. How is he doing now? You're so right about it not really getting easier, but it becoming manageable as you're distracted. As long as my brain and hands are engaged, it's getting more okay. I still have nightmares, so I need some kind of activity when I'm sleeping...night crocheting? I'd be so prolific if I could do it in my sleep...

      Thanks for the words of encouragement and sharing a bit of your life with me. I like when you share. I wish we lived closer so we could meet for coffee sometime!!

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  10. Awwww that is too cute how you all met, like art imitating your future life of DIYers.

    I think I have craft ADD because I start one thing and it leads to another and I get obsessed with that thing. For example, I am now into making cutesy polymer clay jewelry and while thinking of how I wanted to package the items I wanted to kind of put my own personal stamp (literally) on it the card I'd put the items on......and I wanted to make my own stamps. I spent bunches of time looking up how to do this or that and the products needed etc etc then decided I need to stick with one thing at a time lol.

    His son is doing better, it's been 7 years and he was only like 5 when it happened. He still does remember but hopefully less.

    Yeah coffee would be awesome.

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    1. What a difficult thing to have to deal with as a young kid! It's going to be so sad for him to go through life's big events without his dad. He must be a strong kid!

      I can't even keep up with how many cool projects and crafts you try. Do you always sell what you make?

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    2. Yeah he is, he's had to deal with a lot since then too. Life has not been kind to him but he is now in a more stable place.

      No I don't always sell what I make but I am trying to find my niche in life, I am all over the place right now it feels like. I can't currently work because of back issues so I am trying to find something that I can do and make a living off of. Thinking of maybe starting an Etsy shop or something of the like. I know that can be pretty hard to make a living off of though.

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