Monday, January 12, 2009

Who I Was

As you may recall from previous posts, 2008 was a crazy year, and it knocked me so off balance I very nearly forgot who I was.

There once was this old me, this pre-2008 me, who had all sorts of characteristics I'd nearly forgotten about.

I used to decorate, dress up and do crafts. It was my hobby to go to yard sales and estate sales every weekend to hunt for treasure. My home was a little work of art--sort of grandma's attic meets Paris apartment.

My outfits every day were little works of art, too, embellished with my rocking grandma's old jewelry and a real fondness for accessories. And I created things that really were little works of art, collages, jewelry, etc.
A beeswax collage I made, in its place in the bathroom of the old house

I had a whole cupboard filled with art supplies and books of ideas. I was a lover of beautiful things, charmed by vintage things, small things, outdated things with new life breathed into them. I liked shabby chic before Target got hold of it. I had a scrapbook of inspirations torn from a thousand magazines. I used to drive around Eureka just to take pictures of Victorian houses.

But then 2008 hit, with all its trials. The first sign of my decline was when I asked my husband to move my art supply cupboard to the garage, so the dining room, also known as my art studio, became an office and study. I replaced the art cupboard with a file cabinet.
This was my "studio"
By June, I turned all my attention to finding another house and began packing. We lived in a mostly packed house -- a house of boxes where only the necessities remained out -- for the rest of the summer while I continued my unsuccessful hunt. I trained my sensibilities to tune out the lack of beauty in my home.

By the time we moved to this new place, September, I was so mentally exhausted that I didn't even know why I had all this junk. I culled possessions mercilessly as we were moving, getting rid of literally a truckload of stuff I had once considered important.

Setting up the new place, I made it livable then stopped. There is still a storage filled with I-don't-know-what. Decorative items, unused furniture and art supplies.

Don't get me wrong: you would walk into my house now and think it looked nice. But it's not inspired.

I've realized all this as I look at blogs of inspired, crafty people with happy homes. I've finally expanded my blog reading beyond Humboldt County and discovered some wonderful, clever and inspired blogs that make me remember the happy, creative person who surely must still be living deep inside me. I have added them to the blogroll on the right if you're interested.

I hope I can regain my inspiration. In the meantime, blogging is an art, right?


Kristen said...

YES, blogging is an art ... and so is realization! You've brought language to your dimmed creativity and Passions; and That is the hardest thing to do when we are growing through something: So, a hearty applause to you, my friend!!!

In Eat Pray Love, the author talks about how she re-claimed her fullest being by everyday asking herself, as she went through her day, "What do I want to do right now?" Well, it started with things like what she wanted to eat and go do (like find a yoga class), then she committed to relishing her most creatively inspiring relationships, and then she went to Italy because she loved to speak the language ... and so on.

My point is that it sounds like you stopped doing what You wanted and got "stuck on survive" (Jewel), and I'd be so excited for you if you BEcome again the who, what, and why You want to be, in your most relishing living, Indie: You are worth the effort, and already such an inspiration!

Let me know if there is any way I can support you in your creative rebirth :) .

In Joy and care,

Ernie Branscomb said...

"Life is what Happens to You While You Are Making Other Plans"

Anonymous said...

When you got rid of that stuff, did you donate it or did you throw it away? It makes a difference in how you feel.

Indie said...

Just about all went to the Rescue Mission thrift store. I was too exhausted to have a yard sale.

Anonymous said...

Hi K!
I think that all artists, and you are one, remember you're an author? So, all artists are very sensitive persons in my eyes. They are blown off their feet by little things, people like singers for instance. That is where they get their inspirations from, no matter if it's positive or negative input they receive. And that's the same with you my dear. I wondered what would come out of all this 2008 experiences... You know we're all either hunters or collectors. Frankly, I don't seem to be a collector, I like things straight and simple, without knickknacks... but you're quite the contrary, which is good. I always liked looking at your photos and hidden treasure you've discovered. So I like your "proposal" of changing 2008 into 2009 and if I'd have the chance I would send you off to the next fleamarket or garage sale with my Spanish friend Rosa *lol* You'd be a match! Looking forward to your next big haul and the change of your house into a creative home of yours... ;-) R.

Indie said...

What? A sensitive artist? I'm not sure if I want to claim that label. I'd rather be tough and resilient, really.

I totally agree with you about the hunter vs. gatherer mentality, R!!! I have a whole theory about that, which I plan to blog about one of these days.

Gatherer yes, but collector seems to translate to PACKRAT, which I do not want to be! After all the hard work of moving last summer, I realize that packrat tendencies are for people who own their own homes and stay put.

My hubby used to be my estate sale buddy. I was good at finding things, he was good at charming people into giving us great deals. He was good at figuring out a way to get things home and I was good at finding something creative to do with the things once we got them there.

steviewren said...

I think blogging is an art. It better be, because I need an outlet and for the time being this is it.

Give yourself time, you'll get back to your old self. Change always turns everything upside down...but sooner or later equilibrium returns.

headwrapper said...

Anne Grgich is a fantastic collager and online friend. She's an inspiration to many including me.

Indie said...

Steviewren, your art is amazing, even your doodles while at work. The computer paper background just makes them all the cooler.

Your blog and others I found through yours were the ones that inspired this post.

Yes, blogging is my creative outlet now. I try to go a day without it and I miss it really bad!

Indie said...

Headwrapper, Annie Grgich has a nice website and some very striking collage art. Thanks for pointing me to it!

I love collage art, but I am a very tentative artist. I usually collage my notebook cover every semester, old lunchboxes, things like that. My dream is 3-D collages like I once saw in a magazine, almost like dioramas or shadowboxes. Here is an example of something I think looks good:

headwrapper said...

Yeah I like that. I noticed right away by the choices of visual stuff, clipart etc. on your blog that you have especially good taste. I hope you find inspiration and go for it. Your beeswax collage looks good.

Check this out, it's a 2d ink drawing that looks like a 3d assemblage collage... Charles Benefiel

Indie said...

That's an ink drawing? It does look 3-d, as if the artist first had to create the object and then draw it.

I'm not used to thinking of myself as an artist; I'm more of a crafter, or a hobbyist or something. My mother is a talented painter, and my elder son is so unbelievably talented, but the family mythology goes that he gets it from his dad.

My younger son, who has had a lot of trials this year, asked me why is life so painful? what are we supposed to do? I told him, turn it into art; why do you think people sing the blues?

headwrapper said...

Benefiel does it totally from his mind. Ink drawings done by making little dots --dot dot dot-- And his drawings are like a 6 to 8 feet tall --the whole thing being made up of little dots. The technique is called stippling.

Benefiel renders his work through a process of stippling done with very precise rapidograph technical pens; his pieces are done without any preliminary drawings, and with no lines to guide the composition. He works from the center outward. As he draws, he counts the dots until a certain point, then repeats the sequence. Once the dots are complete, Benefiel tones the paper with tea, to add visual depth as well as a look of age. The idea of this method is to provide an exceptional degree of incremental control where possibilities for spontaneity and error are all but erased, to aesthetically resemble photographic grain,

On top of that, many of these were done while he was living in an abandoned derelict building in downtown LA. No heat or running water etc. Talk about the blues!

Indie said...

I can't wait to show this to my older son the artist. He has done some stippling work before. He has the ability to do something like that for the incredible long hours it takes. I can't even imagine a piece as large as 6 feet. I remember telling him it was pointillism at the time, but now, with a quick check with the WIikipedia, I see pointillism involves color. Thank you for showing me this, Headwrapper!

Kato said...

Indie: I think art, like life, requires periods of rest. You might consider this a time of restoring your energy, or taking in sensory stimulation rather than stockpiling material items. When you're ready to give it time again, you'll have renewed vitality.

Your skills are being reprioritized this year. If it's any encouragement, clearing out your "packrat" nest is a sign of great emotional resolve to let go and make room for the new, if unknown.

Anything can be taken to an art form... and mothering certainly qualifies.

Indie said...

That is one of the kindest things anyone's ever said to me, Kato. You just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for reaching out to bring goodness into a stranger's life. The power of words to comfort, remind, and renew perspective! You are so right, mothering is an art, worthy of creative energy.

beachcomber said...

It's funny because I, too, have been going through this odd life change where I've been purging the previously irreplaceable. I haven't gone so far as packing away my craft cupboard (heaven forbid) but have cleaned out the drawers and tossed items I kept because I just KNEW I could make something out of them. Now that I think about it, maybe Monica's penchant for "upcycling" is a genetic trait. I probably still could make something out of my treasures, I just don't think I'd like it much. I haven't painted a rock for my garden or done a scrapbook page for eons. I AM blogging and kayaking so maybe that will feed the creativity until I'm ready to pick up paint and rubber cement. Maybe you and I should swap craft supplies.

Kato said...

It's a credit to your craft/art as a writer that strangers can connect with your life here as well as friends! I agree with Kristen, blogging must be another art form, and a natural one for you to take up. (By the way, I love what you've done with this place....) Seriously, it's a great set-up: the preview of recent posts on other blogs in the sidebar, the way they come up as their own page, leaving yours intact, the excellent book and film reviews, personal revelations that resonate universally... it may not be an antique-filled Paris flat, but you've created a charming "place" here. Thanks for inviting us in.

Indie said...

Beachcomber, by the way, I combed your beach today! I had to go to Eureka anyway, so my friend Natalya and I decided to make a beach day out of it. We went to Samoa, and it was so lovely! I love the beach, and I never go. We saw the sunset.

Kato, I love the analogy of my blog as a warm and welcoming "place."

I'm still exploring the blog as a genre, so my posts are kind of all over the place. I like the renegade aspects of blogs; people may try to impose rules on them, but they're still as individual as snowflakes.

I want to be a writing teacher, and what I discover here and elsewhere in the blogosphere daily reaffirms my conviction about writing and its power to connect us, to transform pain and the make the world a little bit better.

Indie said...

And Beachcomber, you kayak!! What are you worried about? You're amazing and awesome and you're out there breathing the world in. After today, I realize I wish for more of that in my own life.