Sunday, February 9, 2014

Home for the Chuppahs

"It is my belief that we make great strides in our creativity by taking little steps."
   - Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper

Well, life is interesting. In my experience, it zigs, it zags, it goes backward and forward even when you’re focused on the present. Although I started this blog in an attempt to kick-start my chuppah making, I've also come to see it as a liberating place to explore creativity ( this the most ingenious procrastination technique ever?!)

So as I feed this blog, I find I'm also feeding my creative life. This weekend, after months of brainstorming a name for my etsy shop (that's right, a shop for selling crafts I mostly, technically haven't made yet)...I finally took the plunge.

While I could write a whole blog post alone on searching for an etsy shop name (that someone on earth already hadn't taken), I finally decided on one that seemed to fit: Maison Craft. "Maison," the French word for home, is a nod to my mother's French-speaking heritage. And 'craft' leaves room for anything I might create.

Then came the making of the shop banner to go atop my etsy page. The evolution of this little piece of art was very, very interesting.

I spent a bunch of time creating a banner in Powerpoint, then reluctantly went back to the drawing board after reading online that clipart wasn’t recommended due to trademark issues. Now what? All I had was text on a plain background. But I soon discovered that I could use an image, in this case one of my spiral chuppah, for the background. I was astounded to see that the spiral turned out to be perfectly centered, and at an interesting angle that I couldn’t have even imagined. It also infused the banner with my energy. Next, I fiddled with the color of the text. At the last minute before uploading the banner, inspiration struck (I know not from where)—why not make the word 'craft' multicolored? All along I'd wanted to capture that sense of play I feel when I look at a box of crayons.

As I clicked through the shop set-up process, the next thing I knew the shop was 'live' and open online—for the whole world to see! I wasn't ready for it—but when would I be, really. It's just a little step, as now the real work begins. Although nothing is on the shelves yet, the shop is just the container I have needed in order for my creative projects to flourish.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Taking a Closer Look

Getting outside for some fresh air/exercise never fails to lift me out of whatever mindset I’m in, and into a new one. I often jog around a lake near my house where there are glimpses of nature just waiting to surprise me. From the hoots of invisible owls, to the ducks (geese?) that communicate to one another before taking off from the frozen ice in squadrons, I can’t help but notice the levels of the natural world that are hidden in plain view.

Today I bundled up and headed out into the gently falling snow. Sure enough I warmed up after a few laps, and encountered a few other strollers despite the 18 degree weather (after all, this is Boulder.)

As I squatted down to stretch before heading back into my car, I came face to face with a pile of newly fallen snowflakes. I took a closer look, and to my amazement, I could make out the exquisite classic snowflake shapes in all their tiny perfection.

Not too long ago I saw a series of photos online, that a Russian photographer had taken. He had captured snowflakes landing on glass, and magnified them to reveal dozens of extraordinary shapes. And right in front of me, I could see the same thing—the beauty of a miniature paper-cut snowflake—when I took the time to really look.

Had I ever stopped to take a really good look at a snowflake? (And snow happens to be one of my favorite things.) How often do I really stop and just Be. I smiled down at the snowflakes and did what any good blogger would do in 2014—got out my camera phone. (Click on the photo above to take a closer look.)

Having a chance to appreciate the artful snowflake made me think about how this is often what life, and creativity/making art (quilted chuppahs or otherwise), asks of us. Pausing to examine what is before you, and within you. Being willing to trust in the vision you see in your mind’s eye, and gently coax it into the physical world. Creating anything, like planting seeds in a garden, is an act of faith. Know that taking a closer look will always be worth it.