Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Change of Pace

As a writer, I exercise two sets of muscles. One is the crazy, creative, write-as-quickly-as-I-can part, and the other is my editorial side.  As much as I love writing, very often the hypercritical, perfectionista editor in me gives me a PITA.

That's why I love arts and crafts.  My grandfather was actually a well-known and respected artist in Holland. When I told my dad that I'd like to take art classes his attitude was that my grandfather was never without a pencil and pad of paper in his hand. Was that what I really wanted?

That turned me off. I couldn't ever be that determined to draw.  What was ever present in my hand was--a book! I was constantly reading and you can't really spend all your time drawing if you spend all your time reading.  And for the first 20 years of adulthood I was working as a theatre person and a paralegal. I got to read in my spare time, so making art got short shrift.

But I've always loved Art, with a capital A. Theatre and the visual arts mostly. Just like I've studied a lot of foreign languages and realized it's not my forte, I also tried to become proficient in several musical instruments: piana, guitar, violin.  I think I do okay on the Jew's harp and enjoy little ditties on my penny whistle, but I'm just not talented at music or languages. Writing, reading, theatre, and the visual arts make me smile and give me the warm fuzzies.

Getting to the point: I spent this past weekend at Create NJ, a mixed media retreat. I got to be with two of my former teachers from the City Quilter - Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Jane Davila. I also had the pleasure of being with two new teachers. What I learn everytime I go to an arts/crafts workshop is to relax and play. I'm not doing this for money or to be a professional. I'm just having fun. Which is so refreshing since the fun part of writing is often overshadowed by the editorial or business aspects of the profession.

So, I kicked back for the past 3 days with other women (mostly) and made stuff. I learned how to carve stamps, make ATCs, put paperclay faces on canvas and decorated them, and made collage pendants.  What a hoot!

I feel refreshed and relaxed and ready to face another week of teaching ESL, and working on my writing.

How do you feel about doing multiple arts? Are you a Jack of all Trades, King of None? Or do they all feed into each other. Please leave a comment and let me know.

Also, I might have some surprise info for you all next week (or not)!

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