I took a ceramics course for a month and have probably taken about seven courses in total. Despite my inclination for making all kinds of art, working with my hands, and all the classes I’ve taken dedicated just to throwing, I can safely say that I can barely make a bowl, haha!
This set of classes, I decided to let loose. Generally a detail-oriented and meticulous person, the best gift I’ve learned from making art is that this is a space where I can allow myself to be free. And with that, I’ve rediscovered the childlike joy and wonder of play for the sake of play.
These days, I feel like I’m constantly talking or thinking about space. Holding space. Making space. Physical space. Figurative space. Mental space. Emotional space.
About four months ago, I hung one of my pothos plants on a ladder by the window:
Because I’m a klutz, I inevitably walked into it and knocked the whole thing down. I lost a precious vine in the process, some of which I plopped into a jar of water to propagate. After sweeping away the spills of my accident, I re-erected the ladder, secured the pothos onto the rung, tidied up the soil, and wiped down the leaves.
A couple months after hanging, I noticed that the soil was no longer holding onto water. The leaves continued to remain sad and wilty even after a hearty watering, and I suspected that the roots needed to be shaken loose and have more room to grow.
I finally repotted and re-hung Sylvia (that’s what we’ll call her now) last week. Here she is immediately after repotting, still getting used to her bigger pot:
I let her get used to her new space—let her stretch out and expand. Here she is today:
I’ve found gardening to be a haven for my thoughts and emotions, a reflection of ways in which I, myself, am trying to grow. It’s so easy to stick with the same because what’s familiar often feels comfortable. But is that familiarity constricting your roots? Do you need more room to grow? Do I?
Today after work, I decided to combine two of my favorite hobbies—gardening and painting. I’d been growing a pineapple top since late last year, and it’s sprouted more than double the leaves it started with. To celebrate, I gave its planter a new look.
I present… meta piña:
This was a fun, low stress project and a perfect way to close out a number of stressful weeks.
I was speaking to my partner about a painting I recently finished, which I titled, “Dream of Flight:”
I spend so much of my time day dreaming. My head constantly in the clouds, an eternal optimist, for better or for worse. I often laugh with my partner, who is the pragmatist out of the two of us, that I spend so much time in my thoughts that the line between earth and sky becomes a blur.
In the times when I’m much more invested in my inward world, I ask myself if I’m trying to escape something. Truthfully? Yes.
I’m experimenting with a series of paintings. I finished the first of these today as a gift for my best friend, whose birthday was earlier this month.
Planning a peaceful afternoon of painting, I finished this piece after responding to my ex, who recently reached out to me for my birthday, which just passed this long weekend. I said that we should cut contact. I was in tears.
While contemplating this piece, I channeled power and passion. Today as I wrap up, I seek peace and balance.
It’s almost the end of the year, and it’s easy to feel like 2020 was both the longest and swiftest year of my life. Nationwide cases of COVID-19 are surging, as we brace ourselves for winter and a holiday season that brings a greater sense of isolation and financial instability for many this time around. I work in public and mental health, and the question around the work we are all asking is how do we manage physical distancing and sheltering in place when addressing mental health is critical for longevity?
Frequently working from home, it’s also easy to feel a sense of monotony throughout the days, weeks, months, and soon-to-be year. (To be fair, I am deeply grateful to be able to work from home.) I’ve been rotating various hobbies to keep things fresh and moving, and one of the hobbies back in rotation is painting. I am far from having any formal training in this craft, but I’ve always loved creating anything by hand and have painted for years. Recently, I started off painting a derpy portrait of my cat, but now painting pet portraits has become a side project, and I’ve managed to get a queue of portraits together.
I’m only on my third portrait, but I’ve got three more in the queue!
I try to get to know these pets’ personalities so I can capture unique quirks. It’s honestly the best part, and I often find myself laughing as I paint these silly facial expressions.
Painting has also been great with relieving stress, which also helps when I have technological issues and want to throw my laptop across the room!
If you’re reading this and feel apprehensive about starting anything crafty, just try it! No one starts off a master at anything anyway, and the most important part is whether you find joy in what you’re doing. If cost is an issue, try repurposing things you’ve already got at home. I’ve also painted old planters that have otherwise been collecting dust. I’ve used my glue gun to put several odd objects together, including repairing my toilet seat. (It’s easier than bugging my landlord and way more cost-effective for me.) Happy crafting!