Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Creative Muse Lives!
Ready for another confession today?  I am basically a very creative person but in the last three or four years, I have ignored my creative side so much that I honestly thought my creative muse had packed her bags and left for good!  Up until then few days passed that I didn’t work on some creative idea or project.  I have always been interested in honing my needlework skills in quilting, knitting, doll-making, and embroidery of several types.  In addition, I have played with beading (mostly to accent some piece of needlework or soft sculpture), cake decorating, polymer clay, and even scrapbooking.  I love refinishing furniture and nothing pleases me more than to complete a decorating project in my home! 

In 2008, I felt the pull to finish my formal education but not in art or women’s art history.  I felt the call to enter the counseling field for transitional women.  I love what I learned during the formal training but honestly, I learned more about myself!  During these years, I put my creativity on the backburner of the stove of life due to the demands of academia.  During the years of study also brought some of the largest, meanest storms of life I have ever experienced.  Let’s just say that I have new admiration for the Book of Job!  When my creative muse packed her bags and left my inner self, I waved goodbye, thinking “good riddance, muse!  What did you ever accomplish here anyway?”

I completed my masters this past summer, then in august found myself back at home full time.  During this time, I’ve begun my “house into a home” project which is an ongoing project at this point but definitely is showing benefits and improvements.  During the work of turning our living room from storage room to library/music room, my creative muse started peeking back in the windows of my spirit.  She watched silently while I sorted through boxes, arranged furniture, and painted the walls.  The week following the painting, I just sat and wondered what to do next.  During this rest period, she was still silent and didn’t even give me a poke towards a creative mood.  It is amazing how decluttering rooms, painting rooms, and arranging furniture into a pleasing livable fashion spoke to my absent creative muse.  God gives us talents to use, regardless of what those talents are.  When we don’t use them, we might not lose the ability or talent but the urge to create goes to sleep. 

Well, I committed to making a large birthday cake and constructing the slideshow for Pete’s, Steve’s grandmother, 100th birthday party.  Last week, I marked the calendar off for deadlines for the various stages of my two projects.  I had already been scanning and editing pictures for the slideshow but knew that the cake had to be extra special so a schedule with deadlines to get it all done in proper fashion without the last minute crunch was necessary.  During my years of cake decorating for family and friends, I have experimented with fondant but never did much with it except for making cakes for baby showers or flat flowers.  Well, this cake won’t be getting flat flowers or bassinet skirts but 3D figures to represent various interests in Pete’s life that have been dear to her heart.
So like all good researchers, I began to research for similarities between working with fondant dough and polymer clay.  Amazingly, they are very similar.  In fact, whenever I did a search for fondant animals, I always got some tutorial or reference to polymer clay animals.  Procrastinators, you will empathize with me at this point, I’m sure.  I began to procrastinate because my perfectionistic tendencies crept into my mind and began whispering, “what happens if you can’t make these animals look right?”  “What if they look like one of the grandchildren did them instead of an experienced cake decorator, former artist?”  Procrastination is the child of perfectionism.  I procrastinate because I feel that the end product must be perfect and I won’t meet the perfect expectation.    Amazingly, I don’t have to be perfect, I just need to do it!  Also, my creative muse does not like chaos but she doesn't need perfection either!  I tried to make her live in an intolerable environment for years!  My creative muse was forced to live in chaos of emotion, stress, depression, and total clutter with no time or inclination to explore imagination.  Just in case your creative muse has been absent or silent, they NEED imagination and order, not perfection. 

Tuesday, I made the list for my fondant supplies and located my polymer clay tools.  Yesterday, after walking the floor, chatting with a client, I finally sat down and opened the fondant package.  I took a deep breath, turned on the computer to find my researched images of cows, cats, and poodles.  Trees and flowers will come next.  I began working the fondant just as I would polymer clay.  The fondant became soft and pliable.  I realized I was holding my breath.  It took me a couple hours to finish the first little cow but I’m proud of him. 

His features are not perfect, but the longer I worked on this one little fondant cow, the more my confidence rose, and surprisingly, I heard my creative muse whisper softly at first.  By the time Steve came in from work, my muse had begun singing and I was so excited! 

My creative muse has come home.  She isn’t completely settled yet but she is already singing and inspiring me back to creativity! I have interests in many art forms ~ writing, doll-making or soft sculpture, quilting, knitting, and beading.   It doesn’t matter what medium I choose to work with as long as I work in some creative medium, she won’t go away again! 

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