I have shared here on the Art Nurture blog many times about my journey back to my creativity and thus myself. Today as I was driving to work, I was remembering the time in my life when I was so frozen in fear and down-and-out that I wasn't making anything at all.
Losing my identity as a "maker of cool stuff" was hard.
Not only that, but losing the connection with my hands and the work I had been familiar with since childhood, was ridiculously painful. I couldn't get my mind to get my hands to do anything.
I went to the craft supply store one day and wandered around, looking at the tools and supplies I used to devour so quickly, creating new things constantly. I had a fuzz in my head. Nothing was clear. I wandered around the aisles looking for something to latch onto again, to engage myself in and to get to the simple act of making again.
My eyes fell on a strange set of tools I was completely unfamiliar with.
I found The Knifty Knitter.
For those of you who have not heard of this, it is basically a plastic and colorful version of what has traditionally been called a "Knitting Loom". It is a a frame with pegs on it that you twist the yarn around and then flip over with a hook in different patterns to create different types of knitted effects or knit stitches. Being as I was not a knitter, this seemed like an easy way of figuring out how to do it.
It basically seemed simple and I needed something simple.
So I bought the Knifty Knitter and some brightly colored chunky yarn, as recommended on the back of the Knifty Knitter packaging.
I went home that evening and began winding the yarn around the pegs. Right and left, creating figure eights of yarn. I then used the patented Knifty Knitter Hook and flipped the bottom strand of yarn over the top. At first it didn't look like anything, but the motion of the yarn was repetitive and easy. There was something so right about moving my hands, working with them again. It was like deep meditation.
Eventually, my yarn meditations became scarves. I figured out a pattern of width (number of pegs wide) and length (when the skein ends) and began myself a repetitive scarf making factory. Some friends and family began making special orders; it seemed to them that my creativity had not really gone away but merely shifted it's focus. I didn't realize it at first, but later I saw that I had Knifty Knitted my way through the dark door of my creative block, like a Knifty Knitting Kninja!
I ended up making so many scarves in the same style and my yarn collection had grown to take up three shelves of a book case in my apartment that it was time to find another think to do with yarn! A dear friend from work offered to teach me to crochet and I could not wait!
Let me be honest with you, learning crochet was not as easy as learning the Knifty Knitter, but I was getting back in the swing of things and was pretty determined. My first crochet scarf did not look so good, but by then my evening commitment to working with my hands during 'yarn meditation' time was habitual and the scarves in crochet became easier. Once I got off of work and headed home, I picked up my yarn. So the crochet began to take over and the Knifty Knitter was only used to fulfill my orders that had been placed prior to the "Crochet Renaissance".
During this process, I heard about a local artist gathering together some painters to work on a mural. I went to a meeting and he asked who wanted to go to Miami to paint a mural for Art Basel. I felt like the natural response was, "Yes". So I went. I got the time off of work and headed on the road with a group of artists I barely knew with one thing in mind...paint.
Paint and I had been on the outs. I loved paint. Paint had at one time loved me. It seemed we maybe still loved each other, but had been on a hiatus to work out some personal stuff.
The good news was, we had a project and it had to get done. Paint tends to cooperate with it's artist when there are no other options than to be successful. Not only that, but there were a group of us working together and we were going to get this done. Our name was The Asheville to Miami Mural Project and that is exactly what we did.
This played a huge role in my coming back to my creative self.
Six months after this project, I found myself a studio and began drawing and painting again.
You may have even noticed that some crochet has begun to cross over into my life in new ways.
So, yes, basically I'm saying the Knifty Knitter could have possibly saved my life.
Either that or I am saying that trusting that vague inclination to purchase it that day was the right thing to do. I can't really say where my life would be if it weren't for yarn. But today I have the joy of being an art educator and an artist and sharing the joys of creativity with others. My journey is not the same as yours. Perhaps yarn is not what will lasso you back to your true child like self, filled with joy and excitement on a daily basis. But if you do find yourself wandering, allow those things that speak to you to have presence in your life. They need presence so they can tell you important things about yourself. Things you need to pay attention to and act on because they are a part of your story and your journey.
How Knifty is that?
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