Christine: Creative Ritual
My fondest memories from childhood usually involve something somebody made. I remember my mom making macramé plant holders (it WAS the 70s, after all!), doing cross-stitch and needlepoint, and sewing on her old Pfaff in the cabinet in the dining room. She made my first day of kindergarten outfit (a skirt and jacket out of blue and red Holly Hobbie fabric), curtains for our house, and one summer, she sewed me an entire wardrobe of Barbie clothes! I’m sure there was at least ONE Halloween costume in there, along with numerous dance costume pieces and parts.
I was always in awe of her crafty skills, which persist to this day, as she is an avid scrapbook-, rubber stamp-, and paper-crafter. My great-aunt is a painter and sculptor, and my other great-aunt worked in ceramics as her media of choice. I remember the fantastically creative Christmas present wrappings they would make and the ceramic ornaments on the tree. As a member of a large Italian family, making things, food especially, was something that you did on a daily basis, but especially at holidays and other significant days.
There were the particular cookies at Christmas that were NEVER made any other time. Easter egg-dyeing, a very fun and creative activity, was always tradition. My mom made first-day-of-school outfits, and we made Valentines each winter. No Halloween was ever complete (nor will it ever be) without designing and carving pumpkins.
I thought about all of that this year, as I cut and sewed a dress for my middle daughter, entering kindergarten this year. There are certain things I do at certain times of the year, of life, just because “such-and-such doesn’t feel complete without X that I make.” My oldest, Kira, had a new dress for the first day of school for at least three school years, and so will Wren. When my children were born, I painted some wall art on inexpensive canvases for their nurseries. There HAD to be something I made in the nursery décor, and so there was, for each of them. When my eldest started middle school, I sewed her a purse, and when the time for the eighth-grade formal comes around this spring, I expect to sew her a dress.
For myself, it used to be (before I had kids) that for each medieval event I planned to attend, I sewed myself a new gown. New jewelry for events at work, handmade baby gifts for friends, at least one hand-created Christmas present to everyone on my gift-giving list — it’s not just something I do, it’s something I do over and over.
One of the greatest gifts I have ever received in my life has been the innate ability to create. I love that I can use my skills and talents to mark life’s big and small milestones, and to show my love for the people I adore.
How do you use your creative talents in your life? Is there any creative ritual in your “making things”?