Monday, February 21, 2011

“Finding Mojo”

I lost my creative “mojo”. I don’t know when I lost it, or where it went, but somehow between working a more than full time job, having a second child, and moving several times, it disappeared. It makes me sad, too, because I have always loved being creative. There are so many things about the creative process I love, but the long, dry creative spell, well, I haven’t enjoyed that. And somewhere, hiding along with my “mojo”, is my fearless, “go for it” attitude. It’s really so un-like me.

As a little girl, I enjoyed making things. I loved to draw and color, sew clothes for my dolls and do embroidery work. I made scrapbooks long before we knew magnetic albums were bad. Before “memorabilia”, “archival safe” and “embellishments” were common crafting terms. And long before there were aisles and aisles of endless themed scrapbook supplies at craft stores.

I made my scrapbooks in magnetic albums with construction paper so I could save the pictures and special things I kept from my activities and trips. I made my own page embellishments from post cards, brochures, buttons, stickers, and countless other things I felt compelled to save. I wrote about my memories on colorful shapes of construction paper using Crayola colored pencils and markers. If I wanted decorative edges, I would use my mom’s pinking shears. (Sorry, Mom!)

I learned to sew in 4-H and I made many of my own clothes in highschool and college. I decorated my college dorm room by sewing curtains and covering up the ugly vinyl day bed bolsters with pretty floral sheets.

Dorm Room 

The sewing machine my grandma left for me when she passed away, my glue gun, and my fabric scrap box were my favorite crafting tools. My favorite specialty craft store was Ben Franklin’s. Okay, I am dating myself here…..but I do have a point. We didn’t have all the wonderful tools and supplies when I was not-so-much younger, and I could still make all kinds of neat things! So….what happened? Why have I had this “creative block” for so long? Where is my “mojo”?

I don’t think it is a lack of artistic influence. Growing up, I was surrounded by creative people. My Grandpa was a rock hound and he would cut and polish the stones he found and made clocks and jewelry pieces out of them. My Grandma was a wonderful seamstress. She taught me how to do simple embroidery hand work when I was about six. She passed away when I was only eight but the memories of her teaching me those simple stitches are very vivid more than 30 years later. My mother’s best friend was a talented quilter and I loved to watch her create beautiful “paintings” with fabric.

My parents were creative too. My Dad built the house I grew up in. He didn’t oversee the construction, he actually did the construction. He handmade all the cabinetry, he carved the window moldings with a router, and he made a beautiful rock fireplace with the moss covered rocks that came from the hill behind our house.

My Mom can do anything when she sets her mind to it. She always claims she made things out of necessity because we couldn’t afford to buy them otherwise. There lies her creative genius. My mom literally made the home she and my dad built beautiful. She sewed, she made beautiful floral arrangements, and when she wanted a stained glass window for our house, she took a class, read a few books and became a professional stained glass artist. Someday I will show you the beautiful pieces she made. My mom is, by far, my biggest artistic influence.

It’s fun to sew, scrapbook, stamp, and make beautiful, sparkly jeweled things. It’s a blast to transform something old and yucky into something new and wonderful….to see something unique and wonder, “what can I do with that?”. I enjoy making something personal and special for a friend and seeing their reaction when they say, “You made that??” I have been blessed with wonderful creative influences in my personal life, many creative successes, so why am I so afraid to just jump in and go for it?

When I married my husband, I inherited a dear, sweet friend. Heidi is one of my most favorite, like-minded girlfriends. I am inspired by her and she encourages me, just like my family did when I was growing up. Heidi suggested I start a blog. She told me her own creativity is sparked when she shares her creative process through her blog, Sugah Beez. She loves reading the blogs of other artisans as well. It’s kind of a creative circle. Will blogging help cure my “creativity block”? I don’t know.

This much I do know. I am on a quest. I am going to find my “mojo” and my fearless attitude. Like Marlin and Dory who set out on an epic journey in hopes of “Finding Nemo”, I am setting out on my own journey in hopes of finding mojo. I’m not going to be afraid of making messes and worrying if what I make will be “worthy”. I’m hopeful that just “going for it” and sharing my experience here will help me blossom into the artistic person I used to be. No… even better than I used to be! I’m jumping in with both feet and I am going to be creative again! Will you join me on my journey?