healing through craft

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…

Maize Hutton lives in a cottage in the woods with her Westie Violet Blossom. She’s the President of MommyTags.com and MaizeHutton.com. You can visit her blog at maizehutton where she shares numerous DIYs and snapshots of her daily life. 

In 2003, my daughter was kidnapped at gunpoint, beaten up and managed to escape.  That incident and the months that followed caused me so much stress and grief, I was afflicted with a severe case of Bells Palsy.  The left side of my face was paralyzed for 6 months and I was unable to continue my work as a paralegal.

One day during my recovery, I pulled out a book a friend had given me called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. It helped heal my broken heart and was the catalyst that put me on a path I never could have imagined. I still write my Morning Papers and find they help keep negativity at bay. I often find myself jotting down ideas within the borders and sometimes end up writing poems. If you’ve never tried writing your Morning Papers, you should start. Pronto. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what happens when you do.

While I dabble in everything crafty, my one love at the time of my healing was making jewelry. One evening, after hearing of my niece’s birth, I decided to make a silver pendant personalized with my niece’s name and date of birth. I christened it Mommy Tags.  My sister in-law loved it, told her friends and I set up a website. I sent a sample of the tags to American Baby Magazine, and in April 2004, much to my surprise, they published a picture of Mommy Tags. It was right before Mother’s Day and I was inundated with orders, so much so that I had over a million in sales in two short years. Mommy Tags was declared a trend and soon many jewelry designers started making and selling personalized tags for moms, which you now see different versions of today.

My creativity has taken me in interesting directions. In 2009 and 2010, I won the Montana Ecostar Award, which is given to small businesses that take environmentally responsible steps to improve their business through reuse or recycling.  It was an honor to meet and be presented with the award by the Governor of Montana. I’m also a contributor to GreenCraft magazine by Stampington & Company, where several of my projects have been featured within their pages.

My true love is to design and make things. I’ve taught myself how to knit and crochet, embroider, sew, and I hoard vintage sheets. I love to thrift and often the joke around our house is that I’ll buy back things I’ve donated to the thrift stores! My current aspiration is to sew my wardrobe or refashion what I already have.

My creative process is to scour thrift stores for ideas or take a walk with my dog in the woods. Usually, I wander around looking for items I can use in a project or redesign into something else. One idea, The Woodsy Hanger was sparked while I walked along a country path. I like quick crafts that are executed well and are simple to do. The KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid, is my mantra.