“Did you make that?”
If you're a maker, you know there are two ways to take this question: compliment or condescending.
We have a burning need to create written into our DNA. We can’t NOT be creating. Creatives yearn to make beauty, to make a point, express what we struggle to articulate, or, just fill a need. We toil away to bring our ideas into reality. And oftentimes, we collide with the reality that our skills aren’t up to par. But we carry on. Because making is what we do.
Can you relate?
I come from creative people. Art and music are heavy on both sides of my family tree. We're a clan that works with our minds, our souls, and hands. We create out of need or inspiration, primarily using what we have.
And what we have around our place is junk.
My Handsome Prince scraps metal on the side. That means there’s never a shortage of junk metal out by his barn. Old filing cabinets, metal parts and pieces of all kinds collect back there. If you take a minute and look around, it’s pretty darn cool.
There's wood, too. Friends and family bring over scraps for the burn pile we have out back. Furniture, trim, tree branches; it ends up here. It’s the place to be on crisp autumn nights, gathered with friends by a roaring fire.
I won’t lie. It’s taken awhile to see potential in what’s lying around here. Our home is in disrepair, and our yard...well, it “needs work”. There's so much of that "work" that it's overwhelming. Prince Charming works long, long hours. And my strength goes up and down due to autoimmune disease. Needless to say- progress has been slow. But, it happens.
Turns out, there's a lot to work with around here.
Sections of our old deck have been repurposed as table legs, shelving, and benches. The old pendant light that was boxed up in the basement now hangs upstairs, thanks to a can of spray paint. Love that stuff! And the box beams we took down in the living room became planters, trays, tables, and shelves.
There was the old fence panel- weathered and beautiful. It stood alone out in the backyard by the clothes line. All the other sections of fence were too far gone; but this one had charm. It became our headboard for awhile. Later, the boards were removed to frame a full-length mirror.
Even my tools are hand-me-downs. In fact, the majority of what we have lived a previous life elsewhere. House plants, clothes, dishes, furniture, paint. Bulbs, perennials, and bird feeders. We may not have a pinterest-worthy home, but everything here has a story.
They’re the stories of amazing family and friends, who share so generously with us. They are stories of people who don’t clean out their cars before getting rid of them. (Seriously. You wouldn’t believe what people leave in their cars.) Stories of projects gone awry, and second chances.
Somewhere in the bad experimental paint mixes, wobbly “yard art” attempts, and uneven table tops, I’ve found a groove. It took a little scrap wood. A love for dogs. Empty wall space. Most importantly, it took a changed perspective.
And voila! I made a piece that felt authentic. One that I really liked. So, I made a couple more. And when people asked, "Did you make that?" I couldn't help but reply with "Yeah! I sure did!"
It's like the door to a million possibilities has been opened! Creative juices are flowing and dust is flying, friends. I have a lot of work to do.
I wonder, have you felt stuck, too? Have you had a shift in perspective that made all the difference- no matter the circumstances?
Below is a link to some of my favorite creatives on Etsy. There's no kickback for me, no affiliate link. Just beauty from the hands and minds of other makers. I'm awed by what others can do. I thought you might be inspired too.
If you need me, I’ll be busy down in the workshop.