I love making things with my hands, and it's something I would normally say I have always done. I can't say that now, though, because over the last couple of years I have stopped making things with my hands altogether. I stopped around the time I quit my last outside job and devoted myself to full-time design and consultation work.
Susan (of Learned Happiness) has brought this issue back to the surface. She and I were introduced at breakfast on our last day in San Jose after the BlogHer '14 conference ended, and we spent a few hours getting to know each other while we wandered through the San Jose Museum of Art, found lunch, and eventually made our way to the airport. At one point I commented on her purse — a quirky, blue, crocheted piece — and she said she'd made it on the plane ride to the conference. I am the slowest crocheter of all time, you'd think I had three fingers and a broken crochet hook, so I was impressed that she could whip up a purse during a single flight, and I told her so.
"So you crochet, too?" she said.
"Yeah, but mostly gonzo-ish stuff like cats with giant buttholes and leggy birds. I haven't done it in years, though."
"I want to see it," she said, and I guess she meant it, because she mentioned it twice more before our flights and she just tweeted at me about it.
So, Susan, for hopefully more than just posterity, here is my history with crochet (each image clicks through to my blog entry about that piece):
They were not all works of great art, but I loved making them, seeing their individual characters grow as I went, watching what came out of zero planning and random balls of yarn. It was a great way to let my brain rest and wander, which is something I rarely give myself time to do these days. It was a truly meditative practice.
Is this the little kick in pants I need to get started again? I hope so. I tend to look at any highly unpractical activity as a waste of time and energy, which is the Mennonite workhorse part of my personality, and, frankly, that part needs to shut up a lot more. Maybe if I slide a start date into my calendar and pretend to myself like this is serious-for-real work, I can override the internal taskmaster who screams at me auf Deutsch ARBEIT MACHT STARK!