Guest Post: Creativity and Repair

Mal | Guest Posts,Universal | Thursday, March 19th, 2009

This is the first in a series of guest posts written by fellow bloggers. I’m so pleased to introduce this series by featuring Emma, whose blog furrybees includes thoughtful, well-written posts about her experiments with embroidery, crochet, clay, poetry, and other creative media. If you’d like to write a guest entry about your creative process, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

20090318-emma-crochethooks

Thanks to Mal* for giving me this opportunity to reflect on meaning and creativity.  Her blog is a welcome dose of thoughtful reflection on the creative process.

I credit creativity with great powers of restoration.  (I also sometimes credit it with great powers of anxiety-making, but that’s another story.)  This story is about the intimate connection between identity and creativity and how one lost, academically-minded woman found her way slowly back to herself, or one part of her self, through crochet, embroidery and the vagaries of an old Rolls sewing machine she inherited from her grandmother.  As with most stories, there are many ways of telling it and many ways of making sense of it.  Here is one.

I began a PhD in feminist theory and applied ethics in February of 2001.  “What’s that!?”, I hear you ask.  Well, I thought it would be a good idea to try and write a long treatise on the different ways women can feel both powerful and powerless (for don’t we, at some point, feel both as we go about our days?) and how that affects the way we see others, how we treat them, and, more importantly, how we should respond to them. 

I felt a tentative enthusiasm for my new life at first, and had a thinly sketched idea of what kind of a person I thought I should be as an academic.  I would be brilliant (making immediate and spontaneously fabulous connections between ideas), a quick reader of complex academic writing, and an inspired and prolific writer.  I imagined that I would find joy in books and ideas, relish in the mystery and detective work of research, and flourish in the quiet solitude of the contemplative academic life.  And, in many ways, I did.  Or, I tried hard to, at least.  However, just as virtues can swing to vices, my vision of who, and how, I was supposed to be began to distort. 

Over time, I wondered if I would drown in the books and ideas, if the mystery of my research would ever resolve itself, and if the isolation I felt – alone in my cubicle and alone in my academic field – would ever abate into a quiet, enjoyable solitude.  Needless to say, I felt adrift in this new life and my sense of self — my sense of knowing with any certainty who I was and what I was capable of — began to erode.

However, sometimes the universe intervenes and saves you from yourself. 

20090318-emma-embroidery

Two things happened almost simultaneously.  Firstly, after one of our many chats full of existential angst, a good friend and I decided we needed to pursue activities that would keep us “in the moment” and give our minds a break from the constant self-analysis that could leave us tied in complex knots.  So, she began to knit and I, spontaneously, bought and began a small cross-stitch bookmark that came in kit form from the local supermarket (of all places) — something I’d never previously contemplated and probably associated it unfairly, and in a dreadfully ageist way, with “granny” and her projects for idle entertainment.  I finished it quickly and was surprised by the strange, glowing satisfaction that followed.

Shortly thereafter, another close friend announced she was pregnant (the first to start the inexorable tide of pregnant friends that were to gradually follow).  In imagining which gift would be appropriate for her and her new one, I remembered how she’d laboured over a crocheted baby’s blanket for another friend’s first baby.  I had watched as, with each stitch, she hoped her friend would cherish this blanket and see it as the lovingly created heirloom that it was intended to be.  I knew I wanted to give the same to her. 

Except for one small matter – I didn’t know how to crochet.

Enter Google and exit, at least for a small part of every day, my PhD project.  Before long, my isolated cubicle was filled with the vibrant energy of a new research project that tugged at my attention and constantly tempted me away from more scholarly pursuits.  Within a short time I had taught myself to crochet and after much thought given to style (interesting but not too “interesting”), colours (no pastels!) and textures (definitely soft and snugly) I made a small white woollen baby’s blanket, in a repeated shell pattern, with a navy blue shell border.

20090318-emma-kangaroo

Those humble beginnings created a kind of urgency in me to keep making things, as well as an insatiable desire to find out about different textile-related arts and crafts.  I quickly picked up embroidery and then sewing things of my own design on an ancient, one-stitch sewing machine gifted to me by my mother’s mother before she died.  With each new skill revealed, with each thrifted piece of fabric transformed, and with each project worked I felt excitement, satisfaction, and accomplishment.  And I felt a kind of existential relief.

It’s only recently, with time and distance (figurative and literal – I moved from Australia to Canada in 2007) that I have been able to reflect on these happenings and how they served to create the woman I am today.  My academic life, then, was a world where I felt lost – adrift in a sea of ideas and competing claims to the “truth” – and where I felt powerless, alone and strangely unskilled at being able to find The Answer to my research questions.  To make matters worse, the academic identity I had tried to fashion to help me with this task was uncomfortable, difficult and ill-fitted to me.  In hindsight, it is no surprise that the methodical learning, grasping and practising of different creative techniques would help to mend the frayed edges of self left by the uncertainties and difficulties of my scholarly life. 

Seeking solace in creativity taught me new lessons about my self.  The gentle, achievable goal of taking stitches, one at a time, of learning new skills, one step at a time, and the act of holding and working with the tactile pleasures of fabric, thread, buttons and beads enabled me to witness a different Emma emerge – someone who was competent, creative, inspired and capable of beginning and finishing projects both big and small.  It is no wonder that I often struggled at that time to choose between the mesmerising meditation of crochet and the tumult of working with complex feminist ethical theory. 

So, I credit my creative life with both restoring a sense of my self to me and with providing the space to begin to imagine a new sense of who I am and who I might become.  Some days as I dream up new ideas in my workspace, or sew up a new creation for another new being fresh to our world, I am aware that there is a dual process of creation going on: one with thread and needle, fabric and hoop; and one with me and my ever evolving sense of my self.

Emma Woodley aspires to be a creator of beautiful, meaningful, useful things.  She is currently trying on the identity of “textile artist” for size. You can follow her adventures in being Creative and Courageous (New Year’s resolutions that delight her on some days and haunt her on others) on her blog furrybees.

10,249 Comments »

  1. some genuinely nice and useful information on this site, too I conceive the style and design has superb features.

    Comment by przeczytasz tam o tym — 12 November 2018 @ 4:35 am

  2. I found your blog web site on google and check a number of of your early posts. Proceed to keep up the superb operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Seeking ahead to reading extra from you later on!…

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack online — 12 November 2018 @ 6:19 am

  3. Hello! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack coins — 12 November 2018 @ 6:19 am

  4. I’m impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s each educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is one thing that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something relating to this.

    Comment by how to hack snapchat — 12 November 2018 @ 8:19 am

  5. I reckon something truly special in this web site .

    Comment by Izzy — 12 November 2018 @ 12:28 pm

  6. After I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there any approach you can take away me from that service? Thanks!

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack 2018 — 12 November 2018 @ 1:40 pm

  7. I’m usually to running a blog and i actually admire your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and maintain checking for brand spanking new information.

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack coins — 13 November 2018 @ 1:32 am

  8. Admiring the time and energy you put into your site and
    in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across
    a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed
    material. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site and
    I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    Comment by yebotalks.co.za — 13 November 2018 @ 1:40 am

  9. very nice put up, i actually love this web site, keep on it

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack app — 13 November 2018 @ 6:25 am

  10. That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

    Comment by 8 ball pool hack ios — 13 November 2018 @ 6:25 am

  11. The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to learn, but I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could repair should you werent too busy looking for attention.

    Comment by 8 ball pool online generator no human verification — 13 November 2018 @ 6:25 am

  12. This post is in fact a fastidious one it helps new the web people,
    who are wishing in favor of blogging.

    Comment by annparty.apprz.net — 13 November 2018 @ 10:48 am

  13. I’m usually to blogging and i actually recognize your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and hold checking for new information.

    Comment by zapraszam do lektury — 13 November 2018 @ 12:41 pm

  14. Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

    Comment by other — 13 November 2018 @ 1:38 pm

  15. great issues altogether, you just received a new reader.
    What would you suggest in regards to your publish that you simply
    made a few days ago? Any positive?

    Comment by elcig.lt — 13 November 2018 @ 2:54 pm

  16. Thankyou for this howling post, I am glad I observed this internet site on yahoo.

    Comment by dowiedz sie wiecej — 13 November 2018 @ 4:40 pm

  17. Because the admin of this website is working, no uncertainty very
    quickly it will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

    Comment by try here — 13 November 2018 @ 8:02 pm

  18. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

    Comment by click — 14 November 2018 @ 10:06 am

  19. It’s going to be finish of mine day, but before ending I am reading this wonderful paragraph to improve my knowledge.

    Comment by 52liangsha.com — 14 November 2018 @ 10:22 am

  20. But wanna input that you have a very decent web site , I love the design and style it actually stands out.

    Comment by dodatkowe zródlo — 14 November 2018 @ 1:25 pm

  21. cialis where to buy

    Comment by EvaKiz — 14 November 2018 @ 3:39 pm

  22. Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful info particularly the final part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

    Comment by reebok shoes for dancers — 14 November 2018 @ 5:25 pm

  23. This text is invaluable. When can I find out more?

    Comment by check over here — 14 November 2018 @ 8:26 pm

  24. ventolin

    Comment by EvaKiz — 14 November 2018 @ 8:52 pm

  25. prednisone

    Comment by KimKiz — 14 November 2018 @ 9:42 pm

  26. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an extraordinarily pleasant opportunity to read in detail from here. It can be so good and also full of a great time for me personally and my office friends to visit your website at least 3 times every week to learn the latest things you have. And of course,pielęgniarka Warszawa – usługi pielęgniarskie Warszawa we are actually fascinated with all the unbelievable strategies served by you. Certain 4 facts in this posting are unequivocally the simplest I’ve ever had.

    Comment by Kanesha Kainz — 14 November 2018 @ 9:47 pm

  27. buy lasix

    Comment by JaneKiz — 14 November 2018 @ 9:51 pm

  28. albuterol inhaler no prescription

    Comment by EvaKiz — 14 November 2018 @ 9:52 pm

  29. [url=http://lasix40.com/]order lasix online[/url] [url=http://prednisone20.com/]prednisone price[/url] [url=http://ventolin90.com/]ventolin inhaler[/url] [url=http://cialisq.com/]buy cheap cialis online[/url] [url=http://albuterolhf.com/]proair albuterol inhaler[/url]

    Comment by MiaKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 1:09 am

  30. buy ventolin

    Comment by JaneKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 1:17 am

  31. Howdy very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Wonderful ..

    I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?
    I am glad to find numerous helpful info right here in the put up, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

    Comment by More Help — 15 November 2018 @ 1:26 am

  32. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to
    this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

    Comment by check my blog — 15 November 2018 @ 2:42 am

  33. ventolin

    Comment by KimKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 4:23 am

  34. generic ventolin

    Comment by JaneKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 7:55 am

  35. ventolin hfa 90 mcg

    Comment by EvaKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 10:02 am

  36. buy cheap cialis online

    Comment by KimKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 10:10 am

  37. With havin so much content do you ever run into
    any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website
    has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself
    or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up
    all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any
    solutions to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

    Comment by Tessa — 15 November 2018 @ 12:38 pm

  38. It’s really a cool and useful piece of info. I’m happy that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.pielęgniarka Warszawa – usługi pielęgniarskie Warszawa

    Comment by Shirl Rusaw — 15 November 2018 @ 12:41 pm

  39. I conceive this site has very wonderful pent subject material articles .

    Comment by opróznianie biur Katowice — 15 November 2018 @ 12:44 pm

  40. continuously i used to read smaller articles or reviews which as well clear
    their motive, and that is also happening with this post which I am reading at this place.

    Comment by anchor — 15 November 2018 @ 7:01 pm

  41. buy cialis online

    Comment by KimKiz — 15 November 2018 @ 11:48 pm

  42. prednisone 10 mg

    Comment by JaneKiz — 16 November 2018 @ 3:30 am

  43. buy generic cialis online

    Comment by EvaKiz — 16 November 2018 @ 5:05 am

  44. ventolin hfa 90 mcg

    Comment by JaneKiz — 16 November 2018 @ 8:16 am

  45. lasix without prescription

    Comment by JaneKiz — 16 November 2018 @ 10:16 am

  46. buy cheap cialis online

    Comment by EvaKiz — 16 November 2018 @ 10:26 am

  47. It’s fantastic that you are getting thoughts from this post as well as from our dialogue made at this place.

    Comment by shoes for daycare workers — 16 November 2018 @ 10:54 am

  48. This website online is really a stroll-by way of for the entire information you needed about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and you’ll definitely uncover it.

    Comment by opróznianie lokali Katowice — 16 November 2018 @ 11:10 am

  49. I am actually pleased to glance at this blog posts which
    contains lots of valuable facts, thanks for providing such data.

    Comment by sneaker dress shoes — 16 November 2018 @ 12:44 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck | Free SEO by Court's Internet Marketing School | Get Tranquility White WP Theme

Technorati Profile SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline