I've just read a thoughtful blog, prompted by Etsy's competition #whyicreate - and it made me think about why exactly anyone creates anything.... And, in particular, why Karen and I have really taken to heart the making of various things, constantly developing, experimenting and coming up with new ideas.
What is not important at the moment to either of us is the earnings we hope to make as our enterprise becomes more focussed and we start to make sales. Naturally, the whole aim of our Etsy shop is to sell... But for me the process of creation is paramount at the moment, and the joy that working so closely with my daughter has brought me.
Joseph Conrad spoke of the 'web of affinity' that connects us all together, past, present and future. This interconnectivity is, I believe, uniquely human and, like a spider's web, links us all to each other, irrespective of race, colour or creed. We share a commonality in our compassion, our kindness towards others - and in our amazing capacity for renewal. In other words, our creativity.
As I sew baby bunting, carefully placing puffy letters on the flags, pinning the tape and the ribbon, my nails clack on the wood of my machine cabinet - and I am transported back to my childhood when I watched my mother sew, placing pieces carefully together and pinning, with her finger nails clacking on the wood of her machine cabinet. She taught me to knit, to sew, to embroider, to cook, and to have the courage to experiment without being crushed when things didn't quite work out.
My father was a craftsman, making beautiful things from wood, hand turning, fitting joints with care and precision that demanded careful preparation and did not accept sloppy, careless work that resulted in a less than perfect finish. He taught me the value of preparation, of taking time to get it right, of paying attention to detail, both in the creation and in the finishing. So when making a quilted picture, mitring the corners has to be precise, as I can feel my dad watching me as I work and I sense his approval when I get it right. He made bedside cabinets as a wedding gift for Trevor and me, designing them from scratch with only the vaguest ideas from me as to what we would like.
That ability to visualise and then bring to fruition is a gift that he has passed to me - and to Karen.
We don't sit at a desk and draw or sketch - or I certainly don't; ideas seem to percolate through my subconscious, browsing through Pinterest helps for inspiration - but much of what we test out is our own; some of it works, some of it doesn't.
Through it all, I can see my grandfather's talent in wood carving through to my parents' creativity and innovation, in my own daughter's handiwork, in the care she takes, her pragmatic assessment of what works and what is simply hopeless - and in how she is teaching her own daughter to knit and cook and create with patience (not easy with a 7 year old!) and with joy.