Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Little altars everywhere

I had an awful lot of fun in the craft store this weekend. I can't even remember now what my reason for going was, but I ended up buying an armload of miniature cabinets that just really piqued my creative imagination. I bought too many of them, and I shouldn't have, but they were only 99 cents each, and a lot of the ones on the shelf were broken, so my thinking was that if I really loved working with them, I would end up not being able to buy any more, so I should get them while they were available. Especially since they were so inexpensive.


I wasn't able to do anything with them this weekend, because I spent basically the entire weekend doing website work, and the part of the weekend that I wasn't doing that, I was doing laundry, or cooking. Well, except for the time when I was in the craft store, of course . . .

Anyway, my idea is to make little altars, or shrines, I guess, out of them. Paint them, or stain them, or maybe collage them, and fill them with little, interesting stuff. I don't know, I won't know until I start on it, I guess, but I've got a shoebox down in the basement full of collage elements--pictures cut out of magazines, and foreign stamps, and things like that. And seashells. And I have a box of paints, and somewhere there's a box of dollhouse furniture . . .

I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but it's so exciting to get that creative flow going again, and I was sad that I didn't have time to do anything about it. And I probably won't this week, either, but hopefully next weekend I can. I did spend some time last night looking through a couple of issues of Somerset Studio. The thing I have to keep reminding myself of constantly is that art doesn't have to have a "reason." I keep trying to justify it, saying that, well, I could make them for gifts, but that's not necessary--art exists for its own sake.

I guess it's just hard to justify spending time on something that seems so much like play, when there are other things that need to be done, like cleaning the house or doing laundry, or doing work that pays. I was talking to a friend about it last night, and he said that play isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity, particularly for creative types, and I know that's true.

I've been struggling with some mild depression for the past couple of weeks, but the time I spent prowling around the craft store and dreaming of what I might make from these little wooden boxes was almost euphoric. Or obsessive. There's that, too . . .

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13 comments:

wordxword said...

Willa --- I know the feeling. i have an entire space in my office dedicated to arts, crafts and creativity. Rarely go there. I've written just having that space is therepuetic, but I think I've written that more than I've entered that "space".

Regardless. It's who we are. I mildly regret my negligence to fun and other creativity, but I also know beating myself up about doesn't help either.

Martin ~ Northern CA

c h e l said...

You sound just like me- one of the surest ways for me to beat the blues is either go to the craft store, or start planning a trip to the craft store! I make little lists of what I sort of need and what I want, and treat myself a little bit. I feel like a kid in a toy store.

I started getting to the point where my craft supplies outnumbered finished projects by 50:1, so I got involved with craft exchanges, such as those on nervousness.org and organized with a few friends. Once a month or every six weeks, we send each other a completed project on a common theme. Not only does it gie me an "excuse" to create and finish a project, but the deadline forces me not to procrastinate and plan too much, which is my BIGGEST creative block!

Brandy said...

I love those cabinets! I've been making pocket shrines with things like Altoids tins for a while, and working with something a bit bigger like the cabinets you found would be so much fun.

Willa said...

Part of my problem is that I don't have a space dedicated to it -- if I'm going to be messy and work with paint or varnish, I have to lay out newspapers on the dining room table, and I don't have any place where I can just strew things around and leave them out. I suppose I should figure out a craft/creative space in the basement. Maybe that would be a good project for the summer.

Liora said...

I believe creative exercise (a.k.a. play) is absolutely necessary. And if you're really disturbed by not feeling you're being "productive," you could always do like www.oldgreypoet.com is doing - create and then put your things up for sale on eBay, even for a modest price. That way you get to create and give away for more room for new creations. If you signed them, I can imagine that you'd have a lot of readers interested. And it's a nice combination with your Tarot cards. (ok, getting excited with the possibilities now!) Have fun, Willa!

Willa said...

That's an EXCELLENT idea! Thanks. :)

c h e l said...

I have the same problem with space- but Tom (who makes paper and binds books) and I decided to take over the dining room table since we never use it. It's been a good solution, but anytime either of us watch a show and see anyone who has a basement or additional room in their house, we salivate! Oh, the possibilities! Anyway, I think you should devote a part of your basement to your crafting. Please keep us posted on the progress!

Judy said...

If I don't paint for a while, or at least do some collage or art journal pages, I experience withdrawals! I love to make photographs too, but it doesn't have the same effect as making art with my hands, getting paint all over me. I have very little space to paint in, but that doesn't stop me. I dream of having "real" studio space someday, but I sure am not going to wait until then to keep painting. So my thought is just this - if you want to make art, just make it. It's way more fun than making excuses for why you didn't! :)

Sharon said...

Willa, I love your wooden cabinets. That is so cool that they were only 99 cents each. That's a deal that you couldn't pass up. I have been reading Somerset Studio too and it's a great magazine. It really gives me lots of inspiration. I have started making a few collage and art journal pages.

Nothing cheers me up more than to go to the art store or someplace like that and find something new to work on. I have always been intrigued with miniature things, doll houses, stuff like that, but I never had one. what fun to do something like that as an adult. Who says we can't play?

I don't have a good place to work either, so usually my dining room table ends up being my work table. Your basement sounds like a good option.

Just have fun with it, and I can't wait to see what you do with them.

Sharon said...

P.S. I love your red glasses. Are they prescription?

Willa said...

No, the glasses were from, I think, Steinmart -- just cheap reading glasses. I love them, too. I've got cheap reading glasses in every room of the house. I keep meaning to mention, too, that Target has reading glasses for $1.00 in their $1.00 section of some of the stores. I don't know if all the Target stores have them or not, but I bought five pair! And they're cute!

Sabrina said...

Willa, what if you gilded one entirely and placed little velvet cushions on the shelves? I think that would be a wonderful jewelry armoire for special pieces - especially those heirlooms we all have...just last night I was wishing I had a special place to keep my great aunt's pearls.

Willa said...

That's not a bad idea, either. I painted a couple of them today, although for one of them, I used the wrong kind of paint, so I'll have to let it dry and then paint over it. But it was fun. I also painted a cheap birdfeeder that I bought unfinished. This part (the painting part) is kind of mindless. :)