Story last updated at 12/30/2009 - 12:13 pm
Each year I try to take time out to calmly reflect on what has passed, and usually I fail miserably. My brain does not want to sit down in one place with no scarf on the needles, no scissors at the ready, but with only a moment, my memory, and me. I am the epitome of a multi-tasker, or, as I'm more familiarly known as, a multi-crafter.
When I do get enough space to speculate, I am often left wondering where I get this incessant drive to create. Where do any of us get the drive? I have a grandmother I barely knew who knit up a storm, and a great-grandfather who used his brush to create scenes of boats and Alaskana as elegant as any in a gallery. Could I really have inherited this drive from family I never met or barely knew? Perhaps that is part, but it can't be all.
Then of course my mother is a crafter extraordinaire. As children we were fed on a steady diet of crafts from our Girl Scout badge-earning youth through our pillow-making, fashion-daring teens. And she was always willing to take that ride with us on whatever craft binge we were on. I remember once finger-weaving a length of yarn so long that I wound it into a rug, and she never bat an eye.
My father must have been passed the painting gene as well, because he can draw with detailed precision the interior of an engine so that even the mechanically uninspired (like me) can understand. His crafts have always been more of the wood and metal variety, with an entire second garage devoted to them. I'll never forget the Christmas he gave me a Dewalt drill, one of the best crafty gifts I've ever received. I always keep with me his dedication to the precision in his craft: whether it's turning a piece of wood on a lathe, or doodling a fish on a page, he does it with a mindfulness that can't be matched.
My aunts, uncles, and cousins each bring their own spin to our crafty family. There are those who crochet, embroider, knit and sew. There are dish-painters, and flower arrangers, jewelry makers and a scroll-saw artist too. I even have an uncle I've never met who earned my same degree in set design. That's about as crafty as you can get while still calling it a job. A few gardeners, a baker or two, and a sister whose main motto is "I can make that (or can you)?" begin to fill in this scrapbook of a crafty family.
Am I simply the sum of my family's artistic parts? I would guess my craft drive comes from them, but what about the friends who inspire me and push my creativity to the next level? They must have a hand in this creation. It's clear this reflecting isn't quite leading me to answers, but possibly to craftier questions.
Perhaps 2010 will be the year that we all take a long-needed break and bring about some reflection on our creative surroundings and influences. As you discover and learn from your roots in craft, share your stories with others, including me! Together we'll share and learn to be better armed for the adventure in creativity that awaits.
Tanna Peters is a crafter and designer from wonderful, rainy Southeast Alaska. View her latest creations at www.alaskacrafter.com and her shared crafting sitecraftaddicts.blogspot.com. Send local craft inquiries and info to firstname.lastname@example.org.