I grew up describing myself as ‘not creative’. I had great ideas that I was incapable of bringing to life in art class. Apart from a weekend of book-related inspiration when I was nine, I never chose to paint or draw. I was reasonably content that this was not part of my skill set.
A few years ago, however, I asked a friend to teach me how to knit. I can’t recall my exact motivation though I think I liked the idea of having something to do with my hands. Growing up I always felt watching television was a waste of time as a solo activity, so could usually be found writing in my journal or reading a book at the same time. Knitting seemed a good distraction for hands whilst eyes and ears were occupied. Having mastered knitted scarves, I bought a sewing machine with no idea how to even thread it. This was followed by an afternoon with youtube videos learning to crochet.
These ventures into crafting have perhaps been driven by whims, but it has opened up a previously unexplored world of creativity and enjoyment. Now most of our Christmas decorations are homemade. Old clothes are turned into cushions. Charity shop lamps get new covers. I have learnt that I am ‘creative, with rules’. I still couldn’t draw my ideas for you, but I can follow instructions, and even build my own patterns from a set of techniques and rules. I even enjoy it. Getting out my Grandmother’s sewing box (pictured above) for each project has also been an unexpected way to remember and honour her.
The last few years have involved not only self-discovery but also overcoming the perceptions of others. A lifetime of being ‘not creative’ had set expectations of me; now I am challenging them as much as I am challenging myself in trying something new. I’m happy to do that.