Being a maker has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. And it’s something that I consciously continue to nurture through adulthood.
This year LoveCrafts is hosting their annual awards for craft bloggers, the Crafties (love it!). They asked bloggers to ponder about a simple question: “Why do you make?”. Answering this question was a perfect opportunity to to self-reflect and to open up a bit about my creative path with you.
Growing up with Creative Parents
I grew up with parents who were, and still are, makers and passionately creative folks.
My mom is a maker.
Everyone who visits my parents home immediately notices her beautiful garden sanctuary that she has lovingly created over many years. We grew up thinking she just plain ol’ loved gardening, but now that I’m older I think otherwise.
It wasn’t always the perennials that ignited her.
She loves design. She purposefully used elements of design like color, space, shapes, and textures in our outdoor (and even indoor) spaces, and brings those spaces to life. I believe gardening is a vessel in which she is able to express her creativity through. It excites her and she’s darn good at it too!
My dad is a maker.
I have fond memories of my dad diligently working on a passion project (a historical book) that took multiple years to complete. From immersing himself in research documents, to hand drawn maps and diagrams to be used in his book, to designing the cover and marketing material. My brother and I watched him enjoy every inch of the process and learn along the way.
My grandma was a creative soul too.
We might have not spent that much time together but the memories I do have I remember her always tinkering and making things. From crocheting/knitting/sewing to jewelry design. I remember sitting across from her in her bedroom and watching her both design and make earrings for my mom and aunt. And I recently learned she was a painter too (watercolour) !
The picture below is one of her beautiful blanket creations which she made for us years ago.
I’ve tried crocheting before and I sucked, lol. But one day I’ll stitch that blanket and make my grandma proud!
Watching both my parents enjoying themselves in projects that they created with their hands, minds and souls has inspired me as an adult.
And now as parent myself, I am mindful to make sure I carve out enough “me” time to continue my creative practice.
It has also shown me that there is no one way to be creative. I believe everyone has inherent creativity and a need to make, but the manner of doing it can differ from person to person. It all depends on your personal experiences, and what draws you in or calls to you.
My Journey in Creativity
One of my oldest and most enjoyable creative outlets is visual art (drawing/ painting) . My mom claims I get my painterly side from my dad because she was forced to paint as a child and hated it! But had I been forced to paint, I might have not enjoyed it either.
The way I was exposed to painting/drawing was by just having fun with it, keeping it simple and stress-free. And this is what drew ME in.
I’d pick up a piece of white paper from our printer tray, pull out a yellow pencil from my pencil case and plop down on my couch. I’d sketch something interesting in front of me or a random design. I soon learned that I could shade/blend using my pencil and a simple Kleenex tissue and a finger.
From drawing, I started dabbling into paints and this hit a sweet spot of enjoyment and expression.
Discovering The Joy of Painting
The ability to use a world of paint colors, tones and textures to express myself felt so freeing and exiting to me!
I also experimented with different painting styles. From portraits, landscapes, realistic to abstract.
The one that really spoke to me was abstract art.
It’s unstructured/unplanned flow, possibility, and the absence of perfectionism is what made the ideas and expression flow out of me. It makes me “feel nifty” by living in the absolute moment.
And this, my friends, circles back to the question of “why I make”.
I make because it feels good and it’s fun. I make because it allows me to express something I can’t through any other means. I make because I need “me” time to explore my own unique enjoyments.
There isn’t just one reason why I make, but all of them together show me that it’s essential to my own happiness, mental health and wellbeing.