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The beginning…

There are times when you need to start off with a fresh new notebook, clean and unsullied, and that first blank page in the notebook holds so much promise. It can be anything, can hold anything and can lead to anywhere!

That’s what this post is, the first blank page of this journey. A chance to reinvent and start fresh after recent months, a chance to return to enjoying the fruits of my creative mind.

Loss and grief have a way of making you take stock. Look at where you are and where you’re going and asking yourself if that’s the direction you want to be headed in. These things had been to the forefront of my mind already and I wouldn’t have done anything about those thoughts if life hadn’t stepped in and made me take stock.

While I’ve always had a creative mind, in typical fashion I can’t remember a time I wasn’t creative, and as a creative it invariably starts off as hobbies. The dream is always to then be able to be paid to work at that hobby.

A few years ago I followed that dream and began to design and write knitting patterns. It was finally a chance to let my creative mind flow and expand. Ideas came to fruition and it was a joy to see others take as much delight in recreating those designs for themselves. It will be the thing I think I will miss most. The thing with being a creative in business for yourself is the hours that you put in and at first you don’t mind, after all, you’re just getting started. You are trying to build up your profile, get off the ground and get your designs out there and I did, for more than two years I gave it my all, my profile rose and my designs were out there but in recent months the more I worked the less I enjoyed it. All the hours I worked just seemed to add up with little to nothing in return and in the two years I produced and sold patterns, none of them ended in profit. I was still only covering costs. On the one hand I was feeding my creative mind but as a business I was failing. Not only was I not being paid for the endless hours I was putting in and missing away from family but I was seeing a lot of the same old things. I was starting to feel undervalued and in a rat race of producing more, to be noticed more, in order to make the business begin to pay for itself. I was resentful and I disliked how I was beginning to feel towards my work and design.

Then as I said life stepped in and helped me make the decision I was so reluctant to make, reluctant in fact to admit. When I took this summer off it became quickly apparent how much I’d been tied to the business and how much I’d lost the love of just creating.

At first I didn’t create anything, instead immersing myself in the books I’d long forgotten to read, the books I so wanted to read but had no time to read. Then I slowly began to create just for me again, with no pressure, and with no time frame. There were no deadlines to meet and I could start and finish when I wanted to. I began to once again enjoy the time I spent creating. I thought about what other things I’d wanted to do but didn’t have time to do. Sewing was top of the list. I’d always wanted to learn to sew my own clothes so I set about taking steps to do just that. I took a couple of lessons and started from there. This led me onto being able to realise the other dream of creating a me made wardrobe. With this in mind I finally picked up my knitting needles and chose a garment pattern that I had wanted to make but again, didn’t have time to. This garment fed into my dream of a me made wardrobe and so I started from there.

I’m working now on one project at a time. Enjoying every aspect of each project, from the deciding of the item either knitted or sewn. The materials I’ll need, whether they’ll fit in with my overall aesthetic and how they will work in my wardrobe. I am now able to slow down to a pace I like, a pace that allows me enjoy each of the moments of life and not just count those moments.

So that’s where I am at the moment, just enjoying being creative again, one project at a time.

Ruth.

7 thoughts on “The beginning…

  1. I am so happy to see you posting again. I have missed you dearly as well as been worried about you. I am so looking forward to seeing your knitting this year. Welcome back to the YOP group. I pray your grief is easing a bit. It will never be gone (7 months here and I still want to call my mom) but the pain eases a bit as time goes on.

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    1. Thank you Marsha! I’m looking forward to just spending some time creating and having things move along at their own pace for a while. At the moment the days seem to getting harder, there isn’t any part of the day where I don’t want to speak with her, or see her. My everyday though featured my Mum in it several times, despite not living in the same house as her so I look forward to a time when it’s not quite so painful. I’m definitely looking to heal a little over the year through the projects I work on.

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  2. Ruth, I’m excited to see your new blog, and I look forward to seeing what you share here. So much of what you wrote here resonates with my experience when my mother died. I suspect this may be a universal thing, but I remember when my mother died, it was as if for the first time I came face to face with my own mortality. There was a great deal of taking stock (which hasn’t stopped, for what it’s worth). But with her passing (24 years ago) came a clarity for me about a particular decision I/we needed to make. It was a life-changing decision and one I don’t regret. Hugs to you, lovely lady. I hope your creative pursuits bring you pleasure and healing. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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    1. Thank you Becki for your kind words and that indeed I am not the only one who was put in a position to take stock and indeed face my own mortality. Having read the reflection at my mothers funeral and the piece asked everyone present to indeed take stock, I felt alone in this aspect of my grief. I hope also that this journey brings some peace and I suspect I’m not finished yet taking stock.

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  3. It’s so lovely to hear your voice. I have nothing to add beyond what has been said so eloquently. I will add that I hope the pain eases with time and that you can find some solace in creating. We are all here for you x

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