Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…
Marcie has lived as an organic lettuce farmer, a tropical rainforest field technician, an Alaskan tent-dwelling field biologist, and a Manhattan biology teacher. She now has two young girls. After a few years of babywearing, Lego-playing, Play-doh-making, puppet-showing, costume-making, fort-making, worm-digging, goop-making, tadpole rearing, mudpie-making, tomato-growing, and forgetting herself and forgetting just about everything she knew while kid-less, she developed Mossy. A blog about child-rearing and family life, with a focus on simple natural growing and making projects.
I grew up spending a lot of time outside—with parents who took us camping, hiking and sailing. Before kids, I worked as an wildlife field assistant, went to graduate school in Alaska and then later taught biology and ecology in Manhattan. My creative projects were mostly geared toward rugged outdoor endeavors—functional ski gaiters, messenger bags, backpacks and snow pants.
When our two girls arrived amidst a house renovation and cloud of plaster dust, crafty projects were neglected for several years. As the girls grew, it became a matter of both necessity and pleasure to get them plugged into nature and to get their creative juices flowing through hands-on projects—felting wool, making superhero costumes, making tents and playhouses, building a vegetable garden, making a bee coop, designing field guides, making finger puppets and stuffed animals. It was really an organic evolution that we not only find ways to work together at home, but that we understand the nature behind each activity—Why does bread rise? What causes a seed to germinate? —I deemed it my “job” to nurture the creative part of our kids and offer small simple real-world experiences that matter.
I love unraveling life’s mysteries with my girls—the messy, the comical, the unexpected. Before they were here, my projects were more intricate and utilitarian in nature. Now with them my projects are smaller, slower, more whimsical and slightly messier. Always, their ideas propel things in an unexpected direction, and, in the process, we build upon an old skill, or learn a completely new one. More importantly, we’ve spent time slowing down and connecting with each other.
I think, to build lasting connections with our families and our environment, we need to understand where things come from—how they are made, how they are used, how they impact the surrounding environment throughout a life cycle. I think sustainability should be securely sewn into the fabric of every day, as an awareness that touches all that we do. Sometimes it takes substantial patience and effort to slow down and merge family and creativity. But sometimes it’s the things you do while standing still that make up who you are.
On my own, I like to think carefully about the process and combine like-minded colors and textures in my projects. I like to use high-quality cast-off fabric—wool remnants, curtains—and notions and materials like Bakelite buttons and hand-me-down silver. I like to reconstruct unwanted clothing and upholstery into vintage and modern designs. I like to make things out of things. I like to make things that will last.
A woman I used to know told me once that she was inspired by orange and sometimes red. The following people and places inspire me daily: