Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Handcrafting a Life?

Today, reading Jennifer Louden's blog about living a hand-crafted life got me thinking. What would that be? What would it look like and feel like? Would I have to move to the country and live without electricity and a toilet? Eat bugs and boil leaves for my veggies? Ok, I'm being a bit silly here, I know.

But Walt Whitman, I'm not. I like to be warm, eat my own home cooked meatballs and pasta, watch TV, crochet, read magazines and yes, sometimes, shop. Ok, that's out of the bag, then...but it occurs to me, that maybe I live a more hand-crafted life than I think.

I do grow some of my own veggies, tomatoes, zucchini, chard, lettuce, beets(if they actually grow this year) and peppers. I grow basil and make my own pesto which I freeze in little cubes so I can use it throughout the year. I even, yes by god I do, grow my own catnip and lemon verbena which I make into a soothing nighttime tea. Believe me, it's wonderful on restless nights.

And, since I am an artist working with my hands in clay and metal and paint, and a writer working with my hands on the keys, I guess I am living a hand-crafted life.

But I know that I forget that almost every day, as I answer emails and worry about class sign ups, marketing and gallery shows. What I see instead are the never ending post-a-notes and to-do lists.

Yesterday, I was in that mindset, again and feeling frustrated. I decided to close my computer and clean my house. Can cleaning a toilet with my own hands, be hand-crafting a life? Yes. Two hours later, not only did I have clean towels, I had a clean mind. It was then, I found my hands back to crafting in clay. Funny, it wasn’t on my to-do list, but yet, it got done.

Maybe that's the key to a hand-crafted life, doing what needs to be done-yes-but also doing what calls to be done. Doing it with care, with precision, with knowledge, with determination and with heart and soul. And taking the time you need to get it done, and at the same time, spend time being alive in the world. Smelling the lilacs. Admiring the tulips. Walking my dog. Leaning on my tree and soaking up the sun. And listening to the whispers of desire that call to me.

Jennifer asked this question: "How about you? What tulips will you stare at? What hunger, what hand-crafted stirring, is beckoning to you?"

This is my answer. What's yours?


Kim Switzer said...

Wow. This is fantastic, Susan. I think I need to spend some time answering that question, too. Thanks for this!

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Thanks! I was inspired by this idea and glad its inspired you, too.
Now, let's see what we come up with...keep me posted, ok?

Titania said...

Hi Susan, yes that about sums up a "handcrafted life"! I actually look at handcrafting hands, they are strong and competent hands with short nails, that do not shudder to touch an earthworm! Many people pass through life without recognizing that they are actually not living.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

So right you are!!! My hands have short nails and strong fingers! And I have not only picked up worms but snakes as well!

So glad you came by for a visit!