Last week, I discussed how I have found extra free hours in my schedule recently by not watching football games. I am certainly in the minority as it is projected that over 110 millions people will be watching the Super Bowl game this Sunday. However, I am pleasantly surprised at the personal discoveries I’ve made during those free hours. Having time to spend without guilt or pressure allowed me to explore my creative side.
I can’t recall loving arts and crafts as a child. I wasn’t a burgeoning artist who could draw at a young age. I didn’t glue random objects together as makeshift dollhouses or rocket ships. While I took piano lessons, I didn’t have a great ear or exceptional musicality. I never went to ballet, tap or jazz dance classes. I wasn’t a voracious reader who would then pen my own poetry or lyrics. The only thing that resembles any childhood artistic expression was my love of dressing and redressing my Barbie dolls. Each week I received a $2 allowance and knew exactly how I was going to spend that money. We lived just a few blocks from a small shopping center where among Furr’s Cafeteria and May D&F, there was a local drugstore was called Duckwall’s. My brother and I would hop on our bikes and speed to that store where I would promptly spend $.99 on a new outfit for my Barbie’s wardrobe collection and the other $.99 on a box of candy. I had the clothes and the shoes and the purses and relished creating outfits for every make believe occasion. Later, that interest would turn to magazines. I would feast on Seventeen’s fashion editorial spreads and collect every black and white perfume ads to tape on my wall. In the end, I dabbled in amateur fashion photography in college and family portraits in my twenties and toyed with Photoshop into my thirties. I thought that medium was the extent of my artistic expression until recently.I
I currently live in a house that is over 100 years old. The closets are uniquely designed in that they are far more deep than they are wide. This architecture makes it a very inefficient use of space. In order for Karl and I to fit our clothes in one room he takes the dresser I take the closet. I hang most of my clothes, and use plastic drawers for everything else. Frustrated with not being able to see in the back of the unlit closet, I decided I would take an old dresser from the basement and make room for it in our bedroom. This meant several pieces of furniture were going to shift throughout the house. After one move and then another and I realized things would fit, but they wouldn’t match. Like my Barbie doll’s outfits, things needed to “go” together. And unlike my current allowance, though not $2, still does not afford the luxury of buying new things. Hence, I began the work of making everything “go” together.
And in the process, I discovered what makes me happy: I love color. Thumbing through paint samples was a highlight. I found such delight when the gorgeous color I chose was first deposited on the wood. I enjoyed the specificity of measuring resin and its activator to create an epoxy coating. I relished the order of placing pennies in rows of tails first, then heads. And even the blemishes or mistakes that resulted from my amateur work were fun to attend to and remedy. Being able to display my success in our living room and share with the world on Facebook and this blog adds to the pride of my creation. But more than pride, I experienced pleasure as I painstakingly took on this challenge. And in the process, I discovered just how much I enjoy transforming things that don’t work into something like a beautiful work of art.
What brings you pleasure? What are you creating right now? What medium do you use? I’m curious to hear what makes you happy and why.