Indulging Our Creative Side

May 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Mental Health, Ways of Living | 6 Comments
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Creativity - intelligence having fun

I am constantly amazed – though I shouldn’t be – at the number of writers who engage in other creative endeavours.

A few members of my writing group are also artists in paint and/or drawing. Many of the writers whose blogs I try to keep up with also engage in creative activities beyond writing.

creative-writing-art-design-craft

Activities among the women include cooking, art, ceramics and pottery, dressmaking or other sewing, crochet-work, knitting and many other arts or crafts.

I haven’t heard much about the non-writing creative activities of the male writers I read, but I suppose there are many of them who are also into other areas of creation – music is one that has been mentioned.

Arts-and-crafts-icon

I have found it difficult to get much going beyond my writing during the last few years – I only began to write about eight years ago, and I am now in my mid-sixties. However I have always needed some form of creative activity to keep me happy.

I have always been a reader of course – what writer isn’t? However, I cannot draw for the life of me, nor can I paint or make music – and you don’t want to hear me sing, even though I do break out now and then.

I love to make things. Over the years, I have constructed all sorts of things for the house and garden. They include fences, chicken coops, bird cages, small items of furniture and garden beds.

Leatherwork 2 (1280x960)I learned to do leatherwork when my youngest was a toddler, and loved it. I made the usual things: key cases, wallets and bags, belts, and also bible covers. I didn’t sell them, just made them for myself, family and friends. The trouble was that the cost of the leather became too high for me to continue. With a family of five sons on my then husband’s teaching salary, the money wasn’t available for expensive hobbies.

A nice cheap activity I took up for a few years was woodwork. Mostly, I made small items from scrap wood that I scrounged or was given. The main items I created were fridge magnets, key racks and pen holders, but I also made a couple of larger items. I really enjoyed it.
Our market stall Nov 03

I also took up making rugs for the floor, using the technique that my mother used when we lived in England in the 1940s and 50s, and then when we first came to Australia. I would peg strips of fabric cut from old clothing with a tool on to a sacking base. The resulting rugs can be very colourful.
Pegged rug 2
A few years ago, concerned that all my photographs were digital, and that not many ended up in photo albums – my last album was 2003 – I decided to print the best ones to mount into scrap books. I don’t do scrap-booking as often as I’d like to, but I do at least have my sons, their families and their children, as well as some of our road trips, represented in four or five books now.

Scrapbook 2 (1280x662)

It appears that many writers like being creative in other areas of art and crafts too. What activities do you indulge in to fulfil your need for creative outlets?

You-cant-use-up-creativity

© Linda Visman 17.05.14 (539 words) Craft works photos by Linda Visman – my creations.

S is for Seashells and Stones

April 22, 2014 at 10:11 am | Posted in Australia, Family, Family History, Nature, Travel, Ways of Living | 4 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014]

seashells &stones

 

I love shells, and I love stones too; shells and stones of all shapes and sizes and textures. The beach is made up of fragments of shells and stones and many shells and various kinds of rock have their own beauty.

From the time I was about six or seven years old, we had access to the beaches of  Shellharbour and Kiama in eastern NSW. Like many kids do, I collected shells. I always wanted to create something using them, but didn’t know how.

When I was about fourteen, I worked out what I could make and drew the outline of Australia on a piece of plywood. I filled in the outline with small shells I had collected from the beach – mainly from Shellharbour. Then I drew the more complex outline of the British Isles on another piece of board and filled that in with small shells too. Both were finished with a couple of coats of varnish.

My shell map

My shell map

I hung them in my room, where they stayed until I got married and left home. I forgot all about them for a long time.  Almost 45 years later, as I was checking through a cupboard at Dad’s, I was really surprised to come across the one of Britain. It was in fairly good shape and had only lost a few of its shell.

Mum was also a shell lover, even more than I was. She  decorated objects with shells too. Dad made things from wood for her – a small wishing well and a wheelbarrow are two I particularly remember. She covered them with shells and made very attractive ornaments from them.

DSCN0831

Wheelbarrow: made by Dad, decorated by Mum

Mum also took things like mirrors and pictures, and dressed them up with shells – small or large, depending on the size of the mirror. I have the small mirror that hung in their bathroom for many years, and another from their bedroom. However, the one from the front room was just too big to keep!

One of Mum’s smaller mirrors

Mum also bought larger shells that she particularly liked, and a couple of wall plaques that featured seashells. Dad kept everything after she died in 1994. When he died last year, all the shell items except those that I been given, were sold as part of his estate.

DSCN0835

A few of Mum’s shells

After Dad retired in 1981, he and Mum made occasional trips around the state, towing a small caravan. On those trips, Mum was always on the lookout for nice shells, and rocks too. One of the pieces of rock she collected from out west served for many years as the front doorstop at their home. It now resides on our verandah.

Mum's quartz door stop

Mum’s quartz door stop

I have collected unusual stones and rocks for many years, not by following slavishly in Mum’s footsteps though. I gained a love of them after I’d been married and living out west, far from my parents for some years. I learned a bit about the types of rock, like igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic and so on, and usually had some stones and rocks around the place.

My piece of petrified tree branch.

My piece of petrified tree branch.

For a few years, Mum and Dad collected small pebbles, and Dad polished them in a tumbling machine he made himself. He made bracelets and pendants for Mum from polished stones. I now own one of each of them – nobody else among my siblings is interested.

Pebbles on the shore, Lake Macquarie, NSW.

My youngest son is a geologist – I think he loves stones too. Maybe I had some sort of influence on that – I’d like to think so.

I haven’t gone into why I love shells and stones here; maybe it would be too hard to sort out any particular reasons for it. I just know that I love their beauty, their colours, their textures and their composition, and I am amazed at their variety. Rocks are the basic component of our world, and if they weren’t here for us, we wouldn’t be here either.

 

Gorge in Karijini National Park Western Australia

Rocky Gorge in Karijini National Park Western Australia

 

Do rocks, stones, seashells affect you at all?  What do you like or even dislike about them? Do you collect natural objects, or make things from them?

 

© Linda Visman  22.04.14  (709 words)

 

 

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