My buddy the littlest thistle did a fascinating blog post recently and asked "Why?". This is my response.
Why do I create?
"Why?" is a question that had never entered my mind! It's just, well, it's what you do, isnt it? It was in our house. One of my earliest memories is an afternoon with mum - the sewing machine out on the dining table, cups of tea, Cliff Richard's Rock and Roll LP on the record player, Mum at the table making and me fannying about doing the twist standing on the piano stool... What was mum making? Well, it might have been the time she made me a skirt and waistcoat combo. Or the time she made an outfit to match it for my ragdoll Annie. Or it might have been the time of the evening gowns for Sindy dolls. Or the time we made a whole picnic - sandwiches, cakes, cream buns - out of foam offcuts and felt. Or the bedding for my teddies bed.
Mum was always at it. I remember practicing our Macrame with dressing gown ties in my parents bed. I remember my favourite picture from their stack of National Geographic Magazines wasnt animals, it was someone who had built their spherical house out of old aluminium cans, windows out of bottles, the odd dolls face cemented in here and there. I remember being allowed to help scrape the paint off an old dresser with a blowtorch. I remember watching armchair cushions being recovered. I actually struggle to remember furniture in our house that hadn't been recycled and revamped! I remember blowing eggs and watching mum cut doors into them and attach teeeeeny tiny little hinges. I remember the sugar work - making tiny petals to mould into roses. The easter eggs we made with moulds and melted chocolate. The baskets of Marzipan Fruits. I remember going with mum to my school after hours to sit in on the pottery class she took. We made candles. Mum knitted jumpers (until my brother and I broke the machine). I can picture the kitchen table covered in a production line of wee wooden clothes peg dolls. My brother making a Frank Sidebottom Head with chicken wire and paper mache.... One of my favourite places was the box room, full of mums crafty bits and fabric scraps in old tea chests. Our utility room was seldom without something or other drying out by the boiler or fermenting under the sink.
Making stuff was totally normal in our house!
Why do I create in this particular medium?
Thinking about it all, I suppose my quilting is more "nesting" than anything particularly artistic. I've never felt at ease with doing "art". Unique ideas are not my forte! I can see what I like and alter it, adjust it, redo it and make it mine, but I've never been any good at starting from scratch. If I had a normal persons energy and fitness I'd love to be restyling furniture. That would have been my ideal, but I am not up for it physically. Too much exertion required with all that sanding! To be honest actual machine quilting is often a bit of a struggle too.
I started with bag making, and a hope to learn dressmaking, and a sideline in ragdolls. I don't think I'm cut out for bag making though, I don't like the noises even a good machine makes as you attempt to gently squeeze half a dozen layers under the needle... I cant cuddle up under a bag either. The dolls have not been shelved for good, I will make for Moo at some time, but without a prospective owner there just isn't the point in making. And dressmaking. Well. Lets just say that the yardage required these days makes the prospect pretty bloody expensive and patterns hard to come by. My desire has waned...
However, quilting appeals to me in so many ways. Not least the thought of a house full of home made pretty blankets! I want them on the walls, the sofas, the chairs, the beds - there's currently one spread out over the coffee table like a table cloth!
Before Moo came along I was setting up to take it all very seriously. Good stash. Computer Aided Design program. Passion and dozens of ideas. I was hoping to publish some patterns. I was dreaming of getting in magazines and the like. Possibly contribute to a craft fair every now and again. Do the odd Linus quilt.
Where I am now?
Please don't misunderstand me, I am so thrilled to have my Moo, it simply would have been nice to find out if I could have done it. I could not possibly give quilting up now though, however little I can squeeze in. Every single aspect, even the parts I'm not so keen on, has value to me. It gives me something to think about during the night hours I cannot sleep through. It gives me excitement to plan, and yes, to stash... The cutting is hard. It can take days depending on my energy levels. The piecing is a thrill, my biggest fault is probably rushing through the piecing and not necessarily going back and fixing scant seams....I cant help it, I enjoy it so I want to get as much done in one sitting as possible before tiredness and or Moo intervenes! Brushing aside the difficulties in basting and quilting, the binding is a joy. It is simple, relaxing, and a warm (literally!) anticipation of having the finished, squishy, cosy, pretty quilt finished.
I don't feel that saying "it makes me happy" sufficiently covers it! When I go through weeks of no sewing it brings me down. Depression seems to be a bit of a side effect for Narcoleptics. Not too hard to understand I think, I mean, feeling tired all the time sucks. From the time I wake up to the time I say goodnight I've usually had at least two separate hour or so long naps. Some days it feels like I only got up to feed! Squeezing in even a little bit of sewing gives me just enough of a boost to feel human. These days my quilting goals are simple. Keep up with Brit Bee, and sew what I want for me. Selfish sewing. If I'm still awake when Moo is of bigschool age, then things might change. For now, for me, and my beloved Moo, I may not do as much as I like, but I aim to really like doing as much as I am able.