Today I had lunch with my friend Gretchen. It’s a monthly ritual to can play catch-up and to celebrate our birthdays – two weeks apart. We always go to Miacommet Golf Club. In summer we sit out on the patio and watch the putters. In winter we’re often the only ones in the dining room. At some point we began to talk about creativity. Gretchen does many things. In spring her gardens take most of her leisure time. In the winter she crochets. “When I don’t have a project,” she said “I’m a little off kilter.” Most people who do a craft feel this way. Creativity in your life makes it fuller. When I’m in my studio doing decoupage I literally lose myself for hours at a time. I imagine many people who work on a computer feel the same way. The creative process does involve concentration whether on technique or during the design process, but when you get good at it, you enter a calm zone with time for thinking. Crafting relieves stress..
When I decoupage I design by instinct because I’ve been doing it for so long. Sometimes I have conversations in my head with my deceased mother who taught me the craft, or my grandfather who made the original boxes I am still working on. It’s an interesting little “time out” from everyday stuff.
Over the holidays I met a knitter. I asked if she also crocheted. I always think of crochet as a craft from another generation, perhaps our grandmothers’ or their mothers. I also think of crochet as something belonging to women in the Midwest. The woman I spoke to she herself was from Racine, Wisconsin. “Two things matter out there,” she said. “Crafting and sports. No one misses a high school football game.” And most women are familiar with crochet. Crochet and knitting instructions are reduced to the very basic form of communication, much like mathematics. For this reason I’ve never really liked designing projects or writing about that craft although I have often. I’m too wordy.