When you spend many hours, or even an hour, making something, your mind is a part of the process just as your hands. Here are a few of the things that I think about while I’m making stuff.
Amazingly, sometimes my mind just empties and all that runs through the typically muddled space is just serene. When I get to this calm place it is a form of meditation. My focus is simply on the task at hand and not distracted or worried about the past, the future or anything else . On these blissful yet rare moments, my incessant multi-tasking mind is just employed with the one task. When I am able to just make and not have a stream of consciousness flowing through my head, I am content and at peace. These moments are not prolific as often I am simultaneously cooking and listening to music or I only have an allotted time to work so I am cognizant of the ticking clock. However, when I can get to this space, it is a beautiful thing.
2. The person I’m making __________ for.
Whether I am stirring away or stitching away, when I am making something for someone I think about how much I care about them with every movement. I think about how what I make will make someone I love smile, or fill their stomach or warm them up. I contemplate how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life that I can reciprocate a token of my gratitude with something homemade. I think about how happy I am when I receive anything made with attention and love.
3. My problems / problems.
There are times where you just need to do something to manage the downs of life. I suppose I could go for a run around town, but I’d rather pick up my knitting needles or start a batch of risotto. I have long sworn by the power of stirring to really work things out. I have solved many of my own problems simply by doing something else and channeling the troubles into construction, into something more constructive. This is often why I pedal home at lunch to make something that will make me forget about whatever has me riled up. Making is a great way to use my negative energy and turn it into something positive. If even after my best attentions to divert my bad energy into something better fail, I can always fall back on either an hour-long bath followed by an early retreat to sleep or a stiff drink and some mind-numbing streaming tv on the computer.
4. The art of making
When I am working away, I am aware of the fact that I am a member of the making class. The making class is a group of people who enjoy the process as much as the result. Often there are easier ways to do things these days than what makers choose to do. We could shop, order in, or simply wonder about how something is made yet not attempt it. Once you recognize that you are a maker you continue to try making more because the process is an enjoyable one and the results are the proverbial icing on the cake.
5. That even if it’s not perfect, it’s still pretty awesome
I don’t agonize over what isn’t right in what I’ve made. I see things that are not perfect and I realize that it really doesn’t matter. It is easy to focus on the small imperfections instead of on how much of the project is right. Rarely am I unable to fix something; even a bad loaf of bread can become croutons. My philosophy is that if something is handmade, then it should look/taste as if handmade and not manufactured.
Here you have it, a snapshot of what fills up my headspace while my hands are busy. I understand that making stuff is both my salve and my salvation.