I have always enjoyed drawing. I have a stack of journals from as far back as elementary school, filled with increasingly better sketches as my age and experience increased (and my obsession with unicorns waned). As a strongly visual person, there’s a sense of pleasure that comes from the aesthetic nature of things, as well as a satisfaction in having an idea in your mind and being able to make it reality. For me, drawing was always a way to connect those feelings on paper. Plus, as any creative person knows, there’s a sense of calm that comes from working with your hands – a calm I needed more and more as I progressed further into high school.
Some old sketches – including a race of what looks like rabbit dogs. Not included are literally hundreds of childishly drawn unicorns (I wish I were kidding).
However, art was never more than a sort of means to an end until one Christmas, when I decided to make a blanket for a friend of mine. You guys, this blanket. This blanket was almost the end of my sanity. I had never done much sewing – I honestly cannot say what possessed me to take this project on. All I knew was that this was going to be the most b-tching blanket my friend had ever received. And so I drove myself relentlessly; drawing patterns, cutting pieces, and taking a very limited knowledge of needlecraft and attempting to cobble something together that didn’t look like it was assembled by Frankenstein. Christmas came and went. It was well towards the end of January before I was finally able to give this poor girl her gift. Gone was that feeling of calm through crafting. I cannot in truthfulness say I was any kind of calm trying to finish the thing. But, that was also when everything changed. For the first time, I got to experience the joy that comes from putting everything you have into a present – all your love, all your skill – and giving it to someone. Ever since then, almost all the drawings and crafts that I do are for someone else – a drawing of a passed away pet, a knitted pillow for the grandmother who taught me how. While in the recesses of my mind, I worry about the arrogance of assuming that something I create is worthy of being considered a present, I know (okay, hope) the truth is different. Something created for someone else is love manifest, a way of saying that that person is worth all the work and curse words inevitably associated with trying to make anything. This in particular is why I’m excited about this project between Laura and me. By giving myself an incentive to finish the projects that fell by the wayside, I’ll be able to recapture the feeling that comes with handing someone something and saying “I made it for you.” (Assuming of course you aren’t lying about buying it at Walmart). It is a sappy sentiment, God yes, but one I am whole-heartedly looking forward to.
The infamous blanket. The edges are a little cut off, and it doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you – those individual mane fronds were a nightmare. (I know, I know, more unicorns. But these were for her, so they don’t count).