Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Born to Make Art


Recently I embraced a new determination to "make Art".  Actually, I feel I am coming full circle... returning to the Art of my youth.

There was a time I painted and created and took pencil to sketchbook and enjoyed spending hours embroidering wall hangings to pretty up our early apartments.  I spent free time making art just for the sake of... making Art.  All kinds of Art.

But something began to nip away at the part of me that made Art.  Trials.  Heartache.  Hope deferred.  Life unexpected.  Tears.  Colors turned to shadows.  Life became too hard. Getting up each morning required all my faith and energy allowed.

Being a person born to make Art, creativity would find some way to break through the fog to light our world.  Cooking and baking would always bring joy as tried and true recipes shared space in my kitchen with new foods and spices and herbs and good knives.

I cooked for the Art of it as I discovered Jacques and Julia and Bon Appetit and lovely cooking shows of long ago.  I think creative cooking stayed with me because it was always needed.  We tend to eat three times a day.  More if one is a Hobbit.

There was a short season when creating with fabric rose to the surface.  But eventually the sewing machine gathered dust and the fabric I kept was placed in boxes and later in drawers.  In the midst of... Life... I grew tired of sewing.

But somewhere in the back of my mind, I would remember I was born to make Art.

Homeschooling provided it's' own creative opportunities but some of those years were among the darkest, when all energy had to be given to learning and teaching and doing laundry.

Somewhere in my reading through the years, I recall a statement made by an author about why we do not always accomplish what we desire.  He (or she) wrote that we tend to default to what comes the easiest and what we do best.  Even if we desire to try new things.

For me that was preparing food for family and friends.  When my daughter-in-law recently commented on the delicious lemon scones I had sent home for her, I told her I had the Spiritual gift of cooking and baking.  It's there somewhere in Corinthians.

I do have my scrapbook journals but they are not the creative Art as so many I have seen online. But I am glad I kept them through the years.  For they are as close to the Art of my youth as anything accomplished in the last decades.

Of course there is writing.  There has always been writing.  Ever since I scribbled a quick last minute homework assignment in English 101 and the Teaching Assistant at the University used it to teach the class.  But once again... I defaulted to what came easily.

But what about the Art of my youth?  I has sensed a desire to return to more visual arts in past years.  The thoughts would float through my mind but found no Place to land, the old desires were nudging at me again to make Art.  It was as if God were trying to get a Truth through to me and I had put up a wall between Him and me in that area.

Until Michigan.  My epiphany week.

Perhaps it was simply wisdom which comes with another decade.  For certainly there must be some equity in the universe for what the years do to the body!  Or perhaps it was the place.  Or the people, those I loved most in the world together with time to talk and sit at the table and walk and just... be... together in one place.

Perhaps just a change of scenery made it easier to hear from Him, trading cornfields for the beach.  But Truth began to dawn on me and the separate yearnings for the Art of my youth... that which was so near but far enough out of my reach to frustrate... it began to become clear.

I turned my back on the Art of my youth because I listened to the lies of the enemy.  Some coming through the words of unkind teachers which turned from opinion to ... in my mind... truth.  But not real Truth.  Not God's Truth. Then there were the whispers of the enemy saying my Art was not good enough.

Were the years wasted?  Oh, no.  Not at all.  Art was still made.  Just not... that Art.

But He has been whispering that it is time.  Time to restore the Art of my Youth.  Time to do that which was only "good enough".  Time to ponder what has been floating around my mind.  Time to let it land.

That has been the precipice of redoing my Study, of reorganizing my Stuff, of tossing what has not aged well while stored and making lists of what is needed... to make room in an already tight budget to Create.  Nothing too expensive... glue and double stick tape and perhaps an embroidery pattern here and there.  Maybe some glitter if I really want to get wild and crazy.

Part of the epiphany was oh so obvious.  I needed to set aside some of what I had been spending time on to make time for Art.  I didn't need to do it all... just one or two choices from the past.  So the materials of old were gone through and sorted, some thrown away as no longer usable and some salvaged.

Is it working?  Well, I made a very pretty card to send to some dear friends.  I started work on a new and somewhat different scrapbook journal (more about that later).  And the third project... something with yarn... will be started this next week.  Who knows, perhaps someday I will even pick up paints and canvas again.  But there is enough Art to be made here at home with what I already have for the moment.


What about you?  Has the Creator been whispering in your ear or bringing hints across your path?  Is there Art He wants you to make?  Do you have the gift of seeing Beauty through the lens of a camera?  Was there a time you lived for the aroma of oil paint on canvas?  When was the last time you finished a needlework project hidden away in a drawer?

Have you always wanted to learn to make wedding cakes or sushi or pickles?  Do you long to create watercolor journals?  Have you bookmarked knitting blogs even though you do not knit?  Or perhaps your bookshelves contain numerous books about writing but you never write, even letters.

Does your heart beat faster when you walk by a display of beads and baubles, thinking of jewelry which could be made?  Would you love to know how to form pottery or stitch quilts?  Not for money for that would put too much pressure on the learning.  Maybe someday but not now.

Has the enemy of your soul told you that you are now too old?  Or perhaps he has said you are not old enough?  Or not talented enough?  Or not smart enough?   I've heard all in my life.  Over and over and over again.

Let this be your epiphany... your wake up call... your permission note!

None of us want to come to the end of our lives and wish we lived our minutes differently.  For how we live our minutes determines our days and our months and our years.  I don't know about you but another birthday has me realizing life is too short to wait for another time and another place.

What is He nudging you to make?  What Art is within you just waiting to come out?  What is the longing of your heart, that Art you were born to make? No longer worrying about the grade from a teacher.  You are now mature enough to set aside the scoffing of family and friends.  Only you and your Creator may understand.  But that is okay.  Have fun!  Take joy!  Make Art.

Photo:  A long ago scene from my deck when I enjoyed a solitary quiet time with my Bible, tea, cinnamon toast, and a favorite book, Hidden Art by Edith Schaeffer.  She explains Making Art like no one else I know.  (The book is called The Hidden Art of Homemaking in paperback.)

10 comments:

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

What a great post...I need to return more to art.....Life did get in the way, but it need not any longer. However, I think you are right, I need to make some dedicated time in my schedule for this. And I know it is what I should be doing. Thank you, again, Brenda...And good luck with your own art. Certainly your cooking and writing and home is art. I hope you photograph your projects, like the card you made, and save these pictures.

Anonymous said...

I, too, am at this point in my life. Crafting/sewing has taken a back seat for a very long time and I miss it. So I am revamping my sewing/crafting area, writing a list of what I'd like to accomplish and go from there! I'd like to begin using a few afternoons (I'm a homemaker) for these creative pursuits and so far have bought fabric for new dinner napkins both for everyday dishes as well as the "good" dishes. Just knowing how pretty the table will look with something new and fresh is motivation enough for me. :) My dream is to fashion and sew a wedding gown. I'm not a seamstress and, as a matter of fact, I just sewed a simple skirt a couple of weeks ago and was astonished that it actually fits and looks good! So, to sew a wedding gown is extremely out there for me. But the creative part of me says "go for it"! Creativity is such a wonderful gift from God (as He is The One who started it)and it's a blessing for each one of us to use some time throughout the day/week to make something, whether it's a meal, something to wear, something for the house, gift items,etc. Thank you for your blog! You have the gift of words which is a wonderful creative outlet in itself. Have a wonderful upcoming week.

Nana said...

Oh my Brenda, what a lovely post once again!! I have been nudged by God, and just put the thought away.
To tired, to busy, not enough time. I will get busy and do at least 2 or 3 of these things I have been thinking about doing. Thanks for the nudge! Have a blessed and restful Labor Day week end. Love and Hugs, Nana

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I should have said :your cooking and writing and home ARE art." Peace be with you!

Anonymous said...

You are never 'too old' to take up art. Look at Grandma Moses.
Some craft supplies can be obtained at dollar stores, so they aren't too expensive.
Go for it!



Scrappy quilter said...

God has given each of us the gift of creativity. This is such a great post and so true. My creativity is quilting and card making. Everyday I take at least 30 minutes to quilt, sometimes longer and my daughter and I make cards every Thursday evening. We create because if we don't we feel a part of us is missing. I am so thankful God gave us this gift, one to enjoy and be thankful for. I can't wait to see all you are doing Brenda.

GretchenJoanna said...

These are the thoughts I have also been thinking, realizing that I tend to default to the art forms that have become the most familiar and are easiest: cooking and writing. And gardening is in there, too.
But I would love to get back into more needlecraft/sewing. I think I will! Your post does encourage me.

Melissa said...

I'm interested in your new scrapbook journal project.

Keri said...

I loved reading your thoughts on this subject, and I'm getting excited for you in this "new" adventure that God is calling you to! I do hope that you'll share some photos of creations as they're finished...or even as they're in-progress. You are inspiring! And you described so well what happens to so many of us as life and responsibilities (and discouragement from the Enemy) shove aside the time and energy for creative endeavors. What a blessing that God breathed new excitement into you in this area while you were away on vacation!

This post is timely encouragement for me as well. The "art of my youth" that I picked up again just last week is learning to play jazz piano. I was classically-trained in college (meaning that I can play music as it's written by a composer), with just a sprinkling of training in jazz improvisation, but I always had a dream to become proficient at playing jazz standards like you hear in a classy restaurant or piano bar. For whatever reason, I didn't seek extensive teaching in that area back when I was studying piano, and I've always...ALWAYS...regretted it.

Then I realized a couple of weeks ago that it's time, right now, to do something to rectify that situation. At age 43, I expect to have at least the same amount of years ahead of me (God willing!), and that's plenty of time to learn and enjoy the art of playing beautiful improvised jazz piano. I started watching very helpful and instructive YouTube videos last week, and I'm on my way!

And now that I've read this post, I'm even doubly-motivated to pick up something that I should have learned years ago! Thank you!

Deborah Montgomery said...

Brenda, I always love your posts. I was just thinking today that I am a curator of so many other people's art, esp. my grandmother's. do I just want to enjoy and use and preserve others' art or also make my own? Like you, I did a lot when I was younger. Then child rearing and homeschooling took up my whole life. I'm ready to get creative again in the ways I was when I was young (embroidery, knitting) as well as in some new areas. Best to you as you pursue your art as well.