Thursday, May 19, 2016

Handmade, Homemade Art Appreciation

I've always enjoyed doing arts and crafts a great deal.  Growing up, my mom, sisters, and I were forever doing various projects.  We had all sorts of supplies to make friendship bracelets, beaded jewelry, weave potholders, knit, cross-stitch, draw, color pictures, and paint. My mom assured we had an extensive assortment of creative options.  She joined us in exploring with many different materials, media, and came up with many original ideas for cool kids' projects.

I'm still excited and inspired to have bright colored pencils and markers, different hues and textures of paper, paint, intricate designs to color...  When really little, my mom called me "the paper monster."  Here's the story behind that nickname and what began my passion for paper.

Sometimes it has felt a little safer for me to work on a piece of art than it has for me to write, especially when I'm still processing something that's hit me on a visceral level.

After training myself to write whatever comes to mind in my journal as a way of processing my thoughts and feelings without filtering them, it feels a bit harrowing, potentially dangerous to write without holding anything back. At times, creating a piece of art seems a little less revealing, raw, or intimidating to me than some of my writing can be.

I have continued my love of arts and crafts by dabbling in drawing, coloring, painting, jewelry-making, scrapbooking, and such well into adulthood. Photography continues to be one of my major passions.

Over the past few years, when I have felt my thoughts or emotions are still too raw to put into words, I have turned to art as my expression and way of processing.  Many of the art projects I did just for fun, because I felt inspired to create something.

When my new youngest sister arrived on the scene last month and was getting settled, she mentioned that she'd like to decorate her bedroom walls.  Since I had a box of artwork at our place that I had done but hadn't hung, I brought it over in case there was anything in there that might be of interest to her.  I had done a few pieces with pink in them, which I know is her favorite color, so I thought she might like one or two of those.

She was quite thrilled going through the box and surprised that I had done all of the different pieces.  I was trying to explain that she was welcome to take whatever she liked, but I wasn't positive she understood after she looked through many items then put everything back in the box.

Within a week or two, my mom told me I should really come over and see what my new sister had done to her room.  I gathered from that she had chosen some of the artwork I'd brought over to put up.

I was amazed when I walked into her bedroom and saw the walls covered with art projects I had done over the past few years.  It made me feel very loved and appreciated that she was so excited to put the artwork I'd made up in her room.

After years of spending hours, days, sometimes even months creating handmade, homemade gifts for people only to discover shortly after that some of them have been discarded or relegated to some dusty box in the basement, I felt really encouraged that artwork I had done for the sheer joy of creating long before I met my youngest sister or even knew my mom would become a foster parent has spoken to her and been instrumental in making the room her own.

Every single piece of artwork I brought over is now hanging up somewhere in her room.  I see this as the adult version of having your report card or latest project up on the fridge.  Some day I may have my artwork, most likely my photography in an exhibit, but for now, this has warmed my heart and made me feel appreciated.
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