Missing Creative. If Found, Return to Amy

I feel like I haven’t been creative enough this year. Actually, it’s more than just a feeling; it’s a fact. I’ve spent so much of the last six months working with very little break, and the five months before that my work was so limited that time was in abundance, but my financial situation couldn’t accommodate. Since the beginning of this year, I have only successfully completed two sewing projects, and there’s one that I gave up on entirely. In previous years, I have made close to one project a month but I guess this year is a bit of a write off.

When the year began, I decided I wanted to expand my creative outlets. I took up embroidery, and I’ve made two little hoops. I find the repetition of the stitching rather calming, and it’s a good, relaxing way to try and stay creative. And yet, it’s been 7 months since I last picked up my needle and thread. Seven. I would love to start again, but I’m currently in a position where I simply don’t have enough time to sit for hours and hand stitch.

Another thing I decided that I wanted to learn was the art of watercolour painting. This one was a little harder, because it was completely outside the realms of my skill set. But I persevered and I’ve made a handful of small little paintings that are getting increasingly better. It is this that I am the most proud of, because I have finally managed to step outside of my creative comfort zone and teach myself something new. I’m no Picasso, but with a combination of YouTube tutorials and figuring things out on my own, I’m getting better.

I’ve always thought that I wanted to live a creative life. When I picture my future, I know what I want it to look like, and being able to express myself artistically plays a big part in that. I am an imaginative and creative person at heart, and it’s one of the things I find completely contentment in. I think part of my problem this year, apart from having so little time, is having very little space. Due to a change in my circumstances last year, I had to move in back home. Whilst I am saving to buy my own house, for the time being it means living with my dad. Yup, I’m that person in their late twenties still living at home. You can forward all judgements to the bin, thanks. I like to to think it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, but that being so doesn’t make the house any bigger. And all my attempts to win the lottery have failed so far!

I’m searching for a new job, with no success. But I just know that I can’t stay in my current job very much longer, because it is draining my time, my life, my creativity and my will to live. I have to hold on to the hope that something better is coming. I mean, I’m even considering the possibility of changing cities once again, but this is a new idea and one that I have to invest a lot more thought and research into before I make any kind of decision. Either way, I know that my lack of creation is directly linked to my situation, and that I shouldn’t feel so bad about it. But I feel like an integral part of me is missing, and my passionate, imaginative heart is going to wither and die unless I can break free of this rut I find myself in.

Someone once said to me that if you really want to do something, you’ll make time to do it. If someone knows of a way to add a few extra hours into the day, without having to feel the exhaustion that will inevitably result, will you let me know?

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Something stirs within my chest. Unexplainable, indefinable, yet present in an almost tangible way. I ache for the sweetness of new experience.

Emotion catches in my throat at the very thought of shy encounters. Cheeks flushed, hearts racing, hands shaking; risking everything for the chance of something more.

The empty space beside me longs to be filled with warmth and the sounds of whispered kisses and gentle exploration. Somewhere hidden beneath the mask of bravado and brass, is the desire to be desired.

To be loved.

Cramped Creativity

I’m feeling a little cramped at the moment. This is partly due to having no space at dad’s (once again, not his fault) and partly due to the fact that I wish I could just take a month off from everything, sit down and create.

I’m really enjoying my new job, and I can’t adequately express how much I love being at home. In the last month I have been infinitely better and happier than I ever really was in the whole nine months I spent in the city. My life, as a whole, has greatly improved. So please don’t think I’m just here to complain!

As I’ve said (countless times) before, I am a creative person, and making stuff or writing stuff or practicing stuff is what keeps me grounded and mostly even tempered and…y’know, sane. And it’s been a fair while since I’ve really done any. Whilst it’s true that I am in the middle of making a dress, it’s a little different than casual calm creating because a) the friend I’m making it for is in the city, whereas I am at home and b) there is a certain element of stress and pressure that comes with making a dress for someone to wear to her wedding. Don’t get me wrong; my friend has been lovely and accommodating and patient…so very patient with me. Rather it’s a kind of self imposed pressure to not fuck it up because let’s face it; that would suck.

When the dress is done, I have another skirt to finish for my friend Lou. It’s mostly complete but I stuffed up the zip insertion and so now have to buy a new one and fix it properly. Then I have a pair of pants to make for my friend’s six year old son, and then I’ve been asked if I can repair a favourite leather handbag of a woman I work with. It’s great that I’m getting all these requests but it does make it hard to find the time to complete them when I’m working full time and still travelling to the city every weekend. I mean, I haven’t even had time to do my own washing in the last two weeks, much less find time to sew!

And do you remember my 200 words a day writing goal? Well, that’s fallen completely by the wayside. My laptop died and I never had the time and so when I got home, I bought a new tablet to replace my poor dead Atticus. Of course I then got home to discover that it’s not compatible with iTunes so I have to find another way to store and play my music. And, despite being a Microsoft tablet, is doesn’t have Microsoft Office installed…! Which means no writing program for me! At least until I buy the program…at nearly $300 a pop. *sigh*

Now, it’s unlikely that I’ll find that month to take off, especially since I’ve just signed a full time contract for the next six months. But I’m considering another trip to Tassie next year so maybe I’ll get another creative holiday in there then. Until that time though, I shall just have to squeeze in creating time where I can and then perhaps stop taking on commissions one after another!

Oh! Fun little fact which is slightly off topic but which excites me greatly; I’m getting the internet set up at home! Which means I can write blogs on my laptop instead of my phone, and most importantly, try and utilise YouTube to potentially learn how to play my many instruments! It’s a brave new world, y’all! 

Supporting Local (and International!) Artists

I went to Oz Comic Con on the weekend. Though I have gone in previous years for all the geeky stuff, that side of it wasn’t really my interest this time. And as one of the stall holders pointed out, this Con, unlike it’s counterparts such as Supanova and the like, is perhaps less about the cosplay and the movie star guests, and more about the artists and small stall holders that attend. Which is not to say OCC doesn’t have those things, but the focus is just…different.

In my case, the main reason I went this year was to see a couple of friends of mine who actually run a stall at many of the Australian Cons most years (if not every year). I met Marty and Jamie at a Con…oh, years ago now. Totally fan girl-ed the first time I met them, but now we just hang out with considerably less fan girling…still a bit though, because when you’re in the presence of some super talented dudes, you can’t help it. Marty is the artist behind Martin Abel Art, of which Jamie is the director, and a talented photographer and graphic designer in her own right. And whilst I don’t have room to hang any of the prints I’ve bought over the years, I still keep buying them. Because a) they’re amazing and b) supporting local artists – especially when they’re you’re friends – is good.

I wasn’t planning to spend any money this weekend but once I stopped past a particular stall, I think my purse was out before my brain even realised what I was doing. The stall in question was that of Hanna Mancini, the artist and creator trading under the name Hannakin. I can’t even tell you how gorgeous her artwork is, and her handmade soft dolls are so sweet. Each one individually designed and hand crafted, just… *insert heart eye emoji here*. I couldn’t help but throw my money her way in exchange for some of her beautiful creations. Not to mention, Hanna herself is pretty much the most adorable person on the planet (and has some killer fashion sense!).

Directly across the way from Hanna was another favourite artist of mine, the beautiful and supremely talented Mel Macklin. I was going to buy one of her pins this weekend but I got sidetracked and overwhelmed by all the people, so I will have to hop on over to her etsy store and grab one there instead. There was one in particular that caught my eye, called Thunderbolt Brat, who had the cutest little grumpy face and rain cloud dress I wish I could wear forever. Basically, I simply must have her. Despite not buying anything this weekend, I have purchased two of Mel’s prints previously and the sheer amount of thought and detail she puts into her creations is off the chart incredible. 

Just recently I commissioned a tattoo design from an American artist who I discovered though Instagram. A couple of days ago, she sent me a snap of the final product and I can’t wait to have her artwork inked onto my skin forever. The artist in question is Rose Swenson who, aside from being an incredible self taught artist, is like, a musical genius or something. I am eternally envious of her talent…though I say that while my own instruments sit in the corner of the bedroom I’m currently living in, untouched because I’m lazy. But I digress. Rose paints some of the most divine artworks I’ve ever seen and aside from her tattoo commission, I purchased one of her prints last year because I adore the way she paints girls.

And while we’re on the subject of Instagram, it really is a great platform for discovering talented people. Artists, musicians, crafters, fellow sewists; I could sit here and write a paragraph about each and every artist or creator I’ve found but then we’d be here forever. So! If you wanna check out some more ah-mazing creations from some insanely skilled dudes, give these guys a look;

Jacquelin deLeon ~ Creeptoons ~ Dark Town Sally ~ Iren Horrors ~ Alisa Vysochina ~ Schmoe Draws ~ Audra Auclair ~ Fika Art ~ Mab Graves ~ Cyarine Chris McQuinlan ~ Luke Andrew ~ Charapoo ~ Kukula

Supporting artists is one of my favourite things to do. It helps them to keep creating, and it allows me to gather up beautiful things to one day hang in my house…if I ever manage to own one. Plus, when you support local artists, you’re directly putting money into the economy, and that’s not a bad thing either. And if for no other reason, these people have honed their craft and spent years working on and improving their skills. That alone deserves recognition and appreciation. So support your favourite artists, and get cool things and beautiful artwork in return. It’s a win win. 

All Work and No Creating Makes Amy a VERY Dull, (Vague, Nonsensical Idiotic) Girl

In my last post I ranted a little about having had a bad day. When I saw my best friend yesterday and I told him about what a vague idiot I’d been, his answer was simple and blindingly obvious. (of course it was, because he is blessed with beard wisdom). He told me it was because I hadn’t allowed myself any time to create, and then to further his point, asked me when I last did any sewing. I had to think about it and the answer shocked me a little; I haven’t done any sewing since before I left for Sydney…at the start of the month. Nor have I done any writing (outside of this blog) or guitar practice, or anything even remotely creative. And suddenly, everything made so much more sense.

I realise you might not see the connection between creating and being a completely unfocused, scatterbrained Amy, so let me explain. When I create, I’m grounded. I have something to focus on, something to keep me entertained and productive. It’s a way to release all my pent up energies…in a more productive way than masturbation! And it provides me with a sense of calm satisfaction. Taking time to create lets the other aspects of my life fall into place, and I can function as an actual member of society rather than a blundering, blithering idiot.

Things have been so hectic lately that I’ve barely had time to take a breath, much less take some hours to be creative. I’ve had to drive to other states, attend weddings and milestone birthdays, I’ve had to run errands and clean my house and work. And so even though I’ve had every weekend off this month, I’ve been so busy doing life things, that creating got put on the back burner. And as the other day will attest, other parts of my life have suffered for it.

It doesn’t help that since being put on full time, I lose the extra day off I had that I would use to create. I mean, sure I get holidays, and sick pay, and a whopping $73 extra dollars in my pay for the extra day I work, but I’m beginning to wonder if taking on a full time role was a bad idea. The logical part of my brain says it was a good idea; more security, looks better for any future loans I may choose to take out, more money…barely. But the part of my brain that thrives on creating and learning keeps telling me that I took on full time responsibility and lost the ability to keep myself sane. This life thing can be really hard sometimes.

This weekend I am getting tattooed, and then attending my grandmother’s 75th birthday, and then I’ll have to clean and do washing because I won’t get another chance. But I’m hoping that I can take some time on Sunday to sit at my sewing machine or my laptop and smash out something. Because honestly, if I keep going the way I’m going, my boss is either going to fire me out of pure exasperation, or I’m going to wind up in an asylum somewhere, rocking back and forth and being berated by an imaginary sewing machine for not nurturing my creativity.

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A Shout Out to All Creative People

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I love creative people. I realised today as I was going through my Instagram feed, that most of the people I follow, besides my friends, are people I’ve discovered that have some kind of creative talent.  Artists, musicians, fellow sewing enthusiasts; plenty of creativity flowing through my social media profiles!

I was scrolling through the ‘discover’ page and without fail, every profile that caught my eye was from someone who creates in some way. I just love seeing all the wonderful things people make, and every day I get inspired to keep creating cool things of my own. Even on WordPress, I follow a couple of blogs specifically because they relate to sewing.

I like to make clothes, and bags, and jewelry and knick knacks. I like to write. I would like to play music but am as yet mostly lacking talent in that particular area. I like to sing. I would like to be artistic but…hey, you can’t have everything!

So I just wanted to say, to all you wonderful creative people out there, keep doing what you’re doing. You are fabulous, incredibly talented and spectacularly inspiring. Thank you for giving me pretty things to look at, for inspiring me to keep creating even when I feel like I’m stunted, and for making this world just a little more magical.

Making, and Wearing Handmade

There is something so cool about wearing handmade. Today I got out of bed and put on pyjama shorts. As I was pulling them on, it kind of struck me that I had created them. I had taken flat fabric and turned it into a wearable item of clothing. And that is really fucking cool.

I’m still relatively new at the sewing game, having only really started last year. But even since I first brought my sewing machine home, and set myself up with an ironing board in my bedroom for a sewing desk, things have improved. My skills have improved, and developed. The first thing I made properly was an apron. My friend had given me a whole bunch of fabric, and there was this sweet owl patterned material in the mix. Without using a pattern, I drew and cut and stitched and the result was a dodgy, but wearable apron. I was so proud of myself.

I made a few more aprons, to get the hang of my machine, and develop a technique. Then I started with skirts. The first one I ever made was a disaster. It turned out really well, and was lined and everything. Right up until I put it in the wash, and the coloured waistband bled into the mainly white skirt and stained. And then there was the shrinking issue. When the lining shows up a good inch below the fabric, you know you’ve stuffed up somewhere. Well, suffice to say, I’ve pre washed my fabric ever since.

For a long while, I didn’t really do any sewing at all. I didn’t have a place to set up at my dad’s house, and I am pretty bad when it comes to staying motivated. But then earlier this year, I got back into it, and found that I really, really loved making things. I take great joy from challenging myself, and have a kind of smug stubbornness in regards to not using patterns. I tend to just look at things, shrug and say ‘yeah, I could probably make that.’ Plus, patterns often confuse me anyway.

Once I moved out and had a bona fide sewing space, everything intensified. I started The Elegant Fox, started making things for other people as well as myself, and began expanding my repertoire. The beautiful thing about sewing is that there are always new things to learn, and a world of things to create. As of last night, I’ve added making cabochon jewelry to my skill set. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for months, and the pieces I ordered finally arrived this week. And I have so many more ideas in the works, so watch this space! (or this one). Many more cool, creative things are on the way!

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