18 March 2011

how i fell in love with creating

I am not one of those artists that starts her artist statements with sentiments such as "I began sewing at the age of five when my grandmother put needle and thread in my hand."

Truth be told, I distinctly remember my first trip to my fabric store. I was in my late twenties and I had no idea what the difference was between rayon fabric and quilting cotton. The wall of hand sewing and embroidery needles looked like tools from a torture studio. And there was no way I could tell you the difference between worsted weight yarn, fingering weight or sport.

I came to art much later in my life. I've always felt it was out of necessity, a way to help recovery from a back injury seem more bearable.

I would have never dreamt that I would still be at it so many years later, stepping back and looking at it and realizing just how integrated it has become in everything I do.

I fell in love.

There's simply no other way to put it. An overwhelming sense of happiness and calm takes hold when I set about making something. It doesn't matter if its a piece for a show, crocheting some little flowers just to keep my hands busy or pushing paint through endless screens on my print table.

Every second blurs away worries, pulls the world into a single line of sight, creates a voice that has a soul of its own.

I got to wondering about where that voice comes from. Especially when so many people can trace their creative streaks back to people in their families. I'm the only one in my family that finds fabric and thread so fascinating so I asked my mom.

Turns out I have some great aunts who were also fond of the quilting. They were traditional quilters but mom says that their work was always featured in fundraisers and they were quite skilled at their trade.

I also learned that my last name, Krawczyk, is the 17th most common surname in Poland and translates to "tailor."

There feels like there is a certain kind of fate in that. A label that came to me long before I knew what it was that suits me just fine. Granted, I don't make clothing and couldn't hem a pair of pants to save my life but the common line is there.

And that feels comforting. Sort of makes me feel like I was destined to do this work, like the voice that comes out when I create things has been there for a very very long time.

How about you? How did you fall in love?


Kim Hambric said...

For years, adult years, I quilted. I loved the fabric and putting squares of completely different fabrics side by side. I can't say that I completed more than a handful of larger quilts.

My mother sewed and sewed well. We became closer when I began to sew in my 30's. I made dresses and I'm sure she cringed when she saw them. She tried to help and had some success with that, but I eventually realized that I hated to sew clothes.

I also eventually realized I didn't like to sew much at all. Not a good thing for a fiber artist to say. I believe I need to do some sewing to get my message across, but it is the combining of patterns and colors, and the texture of fabric, not the sewing itself, that keeps me going.

My best memories are going to the fabric store with my mother when I was young. I just loved standing in those tight aisles among bolt after bolt of patterned fabric.

I'm not sure I am in love with creating. Perhaps there is a feel that I won't be able to do something well enough. But I am in love with combining.

KMY said...

Lynn - my story is similar to yours, but there is a family tie. Mom used to make our clothes when we were little. Pictures at that time have us 3 girls all dressed alike. I am the middle and my older sister is 1.5 yrs older, my younger 1.5 yrs younger. I took home ec of course and made a bag/tote, but that was it for a long time. I was married young, had 2 boys and suffered through an ugly and violent marriage, then divorce. As a single parent for 9 years I was able to do all of my home decorating -- pillows and curtains -- on the cheap when I inherited my grandma's old singer. That thing still works but really only does a straight stitch.

The sewing was never a labor of love, just a means to an end. After finally finishing my BS after divorce, I spent 15 years concentrating on family and work. I built a great career in IT and by 2001 was running the entire website at xerox.com. I somehow contracted Lyme disease and my health went downhill the year I turned 40. After a long 5 years battling this illness I was fully disabled, had survived the failure of several organs and was left with neurological damage.

It is in my disability and inability to work, combined with my older two sons leaving home for the military that spurred me to find a hobby. I read a lot, gardened when I could but basically did nothing because I was in so much pain. After a neurosurgery, the headache pain was gone. It was a life changing moment...no pain. I have other pain but now I was able to do things.

My mother took up quilting after my beloved grandmother died. Her goal was to make a quilt for each of her 12 grandchildren before she died. 2 years ago when I accompanied Mom to a local quilt show I was quite smitten by the artistic quilts. I made a deal w/Mom right there: if I help you, can we make a quilt together for my king size bed? She agreed and I bought $200 worth of lovely fabrics on sale at that show. Over the next three months Mom and I spent quality time in her studio making my quilt.

After it was done I admired my handiwork and decided I wanted to do it more. So I quilted. There began a love of fabric, fibers, art, and creating things. It's only been two years but the process of creating is soothing and exciting all at the same time. It is a huge high for me when I make something for someone and they LOVE it. I feel like I've touched their life in a positive way. It is very satisfying.

Jeannie said...

I was one of those whose Grandmother introduced her. I went with her to pick out fabric and yarns. She never had empty hands and I learned by example. My mother didn't understand the attraction. I loved spending weekends with Gram and our last outing together was to pick up yarn to make my brother a cap. She died with it half done. I finished it for her and him 20 years later and thought of her and thanked her with every knitted stitch.

tiedyejudy said...

I can trace my love of creating back to a very young age... I loved to fingerpaint, make holiday decorations, cut doll clothes from scraps of fabric. I did have difficulty with traditional sewing (two horrid sewing classes in school ruined that for me!) But I learned to do basic sewing years later to make curtains. I got into tie-dye in 1998, and have been dyeing ever since, but also got into surface design techniques in 2007, so that led to art quilts and other fiber arts... meanwhile, I decided to try knitting a little over a year ago (partly because I was inspired by your photos!) and now I don't feel complete unless I have a knitting project going. Both grandmas were tactile (knitting, crocheting, quilting), and my mom and step-mom both sewed and knitted. All I know is, the creative process makes my heart beat a little faster, and it's been a treasured part of my life that I never tire of!