Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A pondering on skill versus enthusiasm

... or maybe that should be the other way round?

I am a creative person. No, really. I know a lot of people claim to be creative. It's become a sort of alternative version of 'I'm mad me' - words only ever spoken by people who are boring and derivative - and bandied around by keen types who buy those self-assembly greetings card kits which could be put together by a well trained monkey.

Sorry, I digress. I truly believe I am creative. I make numerous pieces of work a day, selecting the right materials and the order in which to apply them. I craft diligently, looking closely at my projects and making small but precise adjustments. Then, in an instant, they're gone. I craft in words and sounds, painting pictures in the air, the life of a radio producer.

I realise I am inordinately lucky to have the job I do. Every month, a gaggle of media studies graduates come through the doors for work experience, leaving thank you chocolates behind with copies of their CVs, but the industry is shedding jobs, streamlining, becoming more efficient. Every time office politics make me want to nip into a soundproofed studios and have a loud scream, I remind myself I could be doing something even more frustrating in the blink of an eye.

This gratitute, as I suppose it is, doesn't stop me craving the opportunity to make something 'real' though. Something you can hold in your hand, turn over, lift up to the light and admire. This desire hit me like a brick whilst I was pregnant. Not content with growing a ball of cells into a full-blown baby boy, I wanted to make things, use my hands, express some of this amazing growing love for him in honest to goodness solid form.

This is where the skill versus enthusiasm bit comes in though. I am almost entirely without skill, and have almost boundless enthusiasm.

I started with a desire to knit. I borrowed a book from the library but couldn't make sense of it, so I bought a kit. Galt First Knitting. Target age, 7-10. I sort of understood and managed a few squares with holes in.

I thought I would make a patchwork quilt. I bought lots of lovely bright material, fantastic colours and patterns. Most of them were cut into for the first time to make bunting for T's birthday. A row of flags hung with bias binding declaring 'T is 1'. I'm almost too ashamed to admit that I ran out of time though and glued on the letters with fabric adhesive and bond-a-webbed the row together.

The flags looked good though, so who cares? My husband bemoans (at least once a week!) the fact the sewing machine he bought me last Christmas (when, I remind him, T was only just 12 weeks old) has only been out of the box once, but I think for me the planning is almost as good as the achievement. I get so excited by assembling all of the kit, cutting out and pinning on pieces and planning colours and shapes, that finishing anything would probably be a bit of a letdown. In fact one of the only major projects I've completed in recent months, 150 wedding invitations for a friend, lined with vellum and bedecked with ribbon, bored me to tears long before I was half way through.

I do keep trying though, thinking that perhaps as yet I haven't found my niche and that one day I'll start creating and just not stop. This week's project is a Christmas T-shirt for T. I have cut out the snowman, appliqued on his nose and selected the felt for his hat. And yes, I knitted his scarf. Maybe then it wouldn't be too bad if, instead of giving my sewing machine its second outing, I used bond-a-web to iron the motif to the selected top?

No comments: