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Taking things into my (or your) own hands –

Last week with a little time on my hands I decided to make a hat.  I like hats and have quite a few of them along with a collection of fabric yardage and remnants some of it from a place called SCRAP (http://scrappdx.org/). There should be a SCRAP in every town and city because they take all kinds of crazy post-industrial and post consumer  stuff and sell it at very good prices to artists, teachers, crafters and creative people to be remade and reused into new treasures.  I digress but only slightly because SCRAP is where I got this lovely piece of fabric I was about to turn into a hat.


The original, Nepalese by way of India

The original, Nepalese by way of India

 I’ll not bore you with the details, there are tutorials of all kinds from youtube to written instructions to actual patterns on making this kind of fabric hat.  This was my third or fourth try with this style and this effort turned out to be the best yet partially because of the fabric I was working with and partly because I learned from my previous mistakes. (which you can see below)

Which brings me to the point of this post — taking things into  your own hands.

Hands, four fingers and that marvelous opposable thumb.  Hands let us make tools.  Hands let us create, transmit ideas from our brains and out into the world.  “Doing it by hand” means something whether you’re making a hat, jam, a painting or a poem.

Doing it by hand means you’ve invested some of you into the process.  It’s at the heart of being a craftsman or an artisan or a diy artist.

I grew up not thinking of myself as very visually creative. I bet many of you felt that kind of creativity had passed you by as well.  People who could draw or paint or create in that way, they were artists and I couldn’t do that.  Unlike my sister who was loaded with talent and could knock of a sketch at the drop of a hat. Yeah I could write well enough but my sole drawing class in college garnered me a barely passing grade.

Then maybe ten years ago, I took to the idea that pretty much everyone had something in their grasp that could be shaped, worked “by hand”, transmuted into something else. Something visually exciting and “creative.” I had taught myself flower arranging and realized that it was like sculpture except the results were so much more ephemeral.  I could make a kind of art.

I wanted to live a creative life and darn if it wasn’t staring me in the face.

There is so much that we do every day that is rote and so much we do where we interject our selves, let our creative juices flow and our own personal perspective takes hold.  So much of the world works against the acknowledgement of that because we are hung up on artists and stars and designated creators.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  As a adage from my kids grade school said “every child has a gift.”  Well, it’s not just kids that have a corner on that!

So today, take a pause and reflect.  What are you taking into your own hands and making your own.  Making your own life.

Oh and the final product?  It looks like this:


The final product

The final product

I want to thank Patti over at Not Dead Yet Style for her post on Creativity which got me mulling this over.