All of the art that I create, either to keep or to give away, holds a deep and precious place in my heart.
There is always an internal tug-of-war to the giving of something that takes so much time and energy. First there is the creative and psychic energy that is required to contemplate something into existence, and then the actual on-the-clock time to design and actually make said object.
Maybe this shouldn’t be so. Maybe as I create, I should allow that part of me to separate, and become its own being, allow it to find its way in the world, alone and without my loving arms around it.
Letting something precious out into the universe, unprotected by my hands any longer, is exactly akin to allowing your child to climb up the steps onto the school bus for the first time, watching and waving long beyond the time that they have turned away from the window to chatter with their newly found friends.
The bus comes back, and the child, victorious at succeeding at separation, but thrilled to bits to tell you every single thing that has happened from the moment the bus pulled away, runs down the steps and into your arms.
And yet, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, you keep bringing the child to the bus stop, to the train station, to the airport. One day, they have to make it on their own.
Do you make things to give to people with an expectation of how they will use or display said object? Do you worry about whether the blood, sweat and tears that went into its creation is appropriately appreciated?
Can you gift-wrap something that spoke to you so strongly during its birthing, and know that wherever you send it, it will be happy?
Or do you worry that somehow, your baby won’t be appreciated…(That his sense of humor is not understood, that his quirky behaviors rattle other people, that your little love will not be voted ‘Most Likely To Succeed’, ‘Mr. Popularity’ or ‘Most Beautiful Baby’?)
Are you miffed if you visit the recipient one day and don’t see your masterpiece displayed with the honor you feel it deserves? Do you b#t%h that everything you’ve ever made and given to Aunt So and So has been relegated to the linen closet because it doesn’t match her decor?
Does the quilt you made your mother sit in a hope chest, because its “too nice” to actually put on the bed?
Did your grandmother knit a sweater for your son, that you grinned through clenched teeth a “thank you” and then you packed it away because the colors she chose where oh-so-not-trendy and today?
When you say that you think that handmade gifts are better than store bought, do you mean it, or does it just sound less commercial and greedy? Do you think that right up till the time you receive something that doesn’t meet your standards, but was made with loving hands?
I’ve read blogs and forum posts where the very same collection of people who carry on about how perfect their children are, how creative their handmade gifts will be and how tasty the homemade baking that they will do is, turn around and complain about the above.
They have said that they never eat the homemade gifts from a certain person because they’ve seen their kitchen; teachers have stated all homemade food gifts go directly into the trash after the children get on the bus; and inevitably the day after Christmas there will be whining and astonishment that their mother-in-law would even think that they would dress their child in such an obviously handmade sweater!
How hypocritical are you, really?
I am working on something that I may or may not turn into gifts, and if I do, I don’t quite know who the recipients will be yet.
My muse is still working out the details. (Timmy understands to the degree that he actually commented the other day on whether or not these guys had ‘spoken’ to me yet… They hadn’t then, but I am starting to hear their voices)
When something you have made returns to you, after having lived a life in the outside world, you welcome it home in the same way you accept into your arms your child, at any age, for any reason.
I received in the mail, totally out of the blue and way past the time that I would have believed it possible, the quilted wall hanging I finished for my Nana in 1999.
She died two years ago, and moved out of the home where it had hung (and had I visited her and saw it hanging) 18 months prior to that, and yet last month, a box arrived from her estate lawyer, stating the new owners of her home found this, and wanted it to be returned. I am thrilled to have it home….Machine pieced, hand quilted and probably the first thing I ever FINISHED!!!
45 days till Christmas, folks! I hope those projects are fully in swing already for a wonderful handmade holiday season!