Stillness, observation and reflection

Nederlandse vertaling onderaan
Dear All,

I left for the US with the intention of staying creative – I brought some items to knit and sew, and of course there is plenty of material in America.
However, caring for my parents consumed so much time and attention that there was no room to make art. I was often tired, felt empty and sad. Then, of course I also suffered from feelings of guilt because I had no room for my creativity.

This happens to many people, my case is not unique. When the burden is too great or sadness is holding you back, you simply cannot be creative and make your own work.

But now that I look back, I realize that I was involved in art every day. For hours I wandered through the city or on the beach, taking pictures, collecting shells, observing nature in all its beauty. Subconsciously I made mental notes of pattern, shape, color and God’s design. While clearing out my mom’s drawers and boxes, I found – literally – thousands of family photos. I read family stories, I wrote down my history. This is a basis for inspiration for new projects, even if it won’t develop immediately. Most of the base, like the iceberg, is just underwater.

Beyond all the responsibilities, the past few months have been an important time for me for stillness, observation and reflection. We don’t always have to be working with materials or our hands to create. Happily, I remembered that this also is an important part of the creative process.

As time with mom came to an end, my creativity returned, but differently: I taught mom origami and found a place for her origami butterflies. I cut leaves from colorful felt and made a new wreath for her front door with found objects. Small crafts left for Mom to remember our days together. Nothing pretentious, but meaningful to both of us.

When your energy level is low, and you are going through days of mourning, it is good to occasionally tell yourself that silence, observation and reflection are all part of the creative process. Give yourself time to rest in it.

And now, while I mourn the death of my father, I allow myself more time to pick up life in Amsterdam again. I find it difficult to take a step forward, to keep taking steps to get back to work, to find a sequel to DIY Textile School, to teach again. I realize I need more time.

That’s why I take small steps so that I have space to breathe, to feel, to mourn, to live. I also set a modest goal: I will have a stand at the Weerribben Textiel Festival in June. To meet people and sell the inventory from my webshop – in small kits, or in small batches of recycled or upcycled items. What DIY Textile School will look like in the future is yet to be decided. For now, I’ll take time to think, rest and take small steps forward.

Perhaps I will see you in the Weerribben?



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