Sunday, May 21, 2017
It Runs in the Family: An Inspiration Morning
A quiet Sunday morning. I should be in church and I know it. But I'm not. It's a perfect Inspiration Morning.
Rain is falling in big ploppy drops, not the heavy tropical deluge that we usually have, and it somehow hushes all other sound. My little world is quiet, closed in, shadowed, and I have much to think about. So I made a mug of tea, collected my notebook and the Brilliant box, piled pillows high, and climbed back into bed to while away an hour or two while I called upon Inspiration.
My mother also used to do this. She always said she created her best designs in bed. Mother made stuffed toys and she crafted quilts. I can see her yet, propped up against the headboard, surrounded by crayons and brown paper, beckoning me (with scissors in her hand!) to come see the plans for her latest clever project. She came to her work late but she had amazing creativity--the best perhaps was her Storybook Quilts with moving parts (one of them graced the cover of a magazine). Oh, she only managed to make a few but she enjoyed them and so did many children. Mother became a storyteller, and she was welcomed by every school in the district to bring her quilts and tell stories.
Unfortunately, I don't have much of my mother's work--a couple of stuffed animals and a pillow she appliqued from her own Kitty in the Garden quilt block pattern (the model for the feline was her beloved Russian Blue cat Gracie). Mother put Love Hearts on her teddy bears long before Care Bears thought of doing that; she always wondered if they stole the idea from her (although I kinda think that Raggedy Ann had the red heart thing going on first).
My mother's mother Nana was also prone to do her artwork in bed. Sometimes this was a good thing--like when she worked on the hundreds of dolls that she repaired for charity or when she sewed on the many baby quilts that she sold to supplement her income. Sometimes, perhaps, it wasn't such a great idea--like when she left stray pins on the bed. Ouch! (We shared a room; I know from personal experience the pain of sitting on a pin.) Or when she attempted to hand carve a chess set. There were woodchips and shavings everywhere but she only gave up that project when a slip of the knife nearly cost her a finger.
Nana was also an accomplished painter and she worked in oils. Again, she sometimes pursued this project from her bed. I recall one painting in particular because a variety of shades of green oil paint daubed her sheets and no amount of washing ever removed it. The sheets wore out before that paint wore off. I have only one of Nana's paintings--a rather grim and forbidding seascape which I inherited from my uncle. (That green painting, a forest scene with a mountain lion, was actually supposed to have been mine but it was accidentally gifted to someone else. Oh well.)
And then there's me. What work do I accomplish? Sometimes I wonder. I'm a bit of a magpie, and I get distracted by shiny objects. I quilt. I bead. I make various stuff. But lately I've been researching for a larger project and I've been unable to focus on all the aspects of it. No matter where I have chosen to sit, no matter how I have tried to approach it, nothing has seemed to work; and it all began to feel a bit daunting.
But this was a rainy day morning. I got the big study board that my stepfather made for me when I went to college; it's perfect for working on. I got the Brilliant box--it's just an old case that once contained a make-up kit; it's covered with cardboard fake-alligator print in truly horrid shade of cherry pink. That's where I keep all of my creative concepts, silly notions, and various pie-in-the-sky ideas--there are years of them in there; it's my very best place to go mining for Gold. I got my current notebook, some pens, and a mug of tea. And then I curled up in bed for a couple of hours with the window wide open so I could listen to the plashing raindrops.
And, finally, ideas began to come together. It's the start of a plan, and I'm gonna make it work.
Life is good.
Especially on an Inspiration Morning.