The best source of books we found while travelling was in secondhand bookshops in capital cities. It makes sense – they are places where there are lots of English speaking travellers. A couple of weeks ago while perusing what was on offer, I stumbled across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It was published in 2009 and the jist of it is that Gretchen spent a year testing out different theories around how to be happier. Pretty early on in the book she comes up with what she calls her First Splendid Truth.
That last bit struck me as a really interesting part of why I (and you?) make and create. It’s the learning. The nutting stuff out. The not-understanding that then becomes understanding. Such an all-consuming, sometimes frustrating and ultimately joyful process.
A lot of the craft that I’ve done while I was away was craft as comfort. Easy, thoughtless, habit based craft. It’s kept me company and helped me stay calm through the chaos, and lately, the queues that have been part of many of our every days.
But the craft that really made my heart sing was the colourwork jumper. I made mistake after mistake (I’ll show you some of them another day in a post about colourwork) and the finished product is far from perfect. But I learnt things about colourwork technique (which at the start I didn’t know anything about) and about combining colours. The exciting part was not that I achieved perfection (I didn’t) but that I worked it out. As my friend Anna’s friend Gina would say – It was the piece you need to make, so that you can make the piece you really want to make.
Something else I heard in a podcast this week was that "clarity comes from engagement not thought". Such a useful idea. I often spend way too long thinking about projects rather than getting starting. While project planning is really important, it was a great reminder that I can’t always learn what I need to learn, to make what I want to make, just by thinking about a project. I often have to make to learn, and through the making the idea takes shape. There is something about the physical process of working with your hands to make an object from materials, that clarifies an idea in a way that just thinking about it can’t. Even if that means that the thing I really want to make is still one more project away. Practicing in the gap has taken me a step closer.
Growth requires focus and in the focus we find the joy.
PS. There are only three days to go!!