Monday, February 27, 2012

So You Want to be a Creative eh?

I took a (creative) leap this past Saturday. Well, the leap occurred a few weeks prior when I emailed The Makerie--the Boulder-based retreat for creatives--to see if I could volunteer my labor for the event. I wasn't sure hubby and I could scrap together the funds to enroll as a participant, so I deduced that, maybe, I could get some of that creative inspiration simply by proximity.

My filled Crock-Pot
Fortuitously I sent my email in time to be invited to participate in the first annual soup swap for Makerie volunteers. So this past Saturday I whipped up my favorite Roasted Butternut Squash and Italian Sausage bisque and headed to the Savory Spice Shop in Boulder to meet the famous maker of The Makerie and the women helping to make her vision a reality.

Amidst the lovely jars of freshly ground seasonings, I mingled with the creatives. The marketing force behind the Horseshoe Market. The owner of Old Glory Antiques. Knitting teacher genius from Common Threads. And one of the Flygals of Firefly Handmade. Oh no, no I wasn't intimidated (!).

Then, when asked, "What do you make?," I found myself searching for an answer that would justify my presence. Why didn't I anticipate such a question given the audience? Hmm, I stammered. I read blogs about design, decor, and art. I shop at vintage, handmade markets. I pin all my favorite local indie artists. I encourage craft with my kids. Oh, and I go to Goodwill, a lot.

I knew I wasn't REALLY answering the question. How could I? I didn't have a claim to fame! Dare say, a poser amongst genuines???

Photo from Art Therapy Association of Colorado
So when it came time to do a round robin of introductions, I began my monologue with, "I'm not an artist but...". I'm not sure what I said after that, but I do know that The Makerie maker then used my "apology" to emphasize the motivation behind starting the retreat. (Never mind I taught public speaking during grad school and know better than to begin a public speech with self-deprecation!).

She described The Makerie retreat as a space to play, to create, and to be inspired. In this sense, we are ALL artists, she continued; since our day-to-day lives are often over-scheduled and over plugged-in, simply retreating for a few days to the wonder of all that surrounds us is a gift, the gift of The Makerie.

Ok, I bought the vision hook, line, and sinker, and long before the smell of yummy soups! Creativity IS important--to work, to parenting, to our souls.

Yet, I keep asking myself. What makes an artist? Who can claim that moniker? Only professionally trained and educated painters, sculptors, or fabric designers?  Seems limiting (at the same time, they earned the title...). What about those of us who ASPIRE to have an integrated, creative work life? What do we call ourselves?


  1. You are absolutely an artist! What a beautiful post & I couldn't be more excited to have you as part of our Makerie family! XO

    1. Thank so much for taking the time to read and comment Ali! It's women like you that inspire me to take a chance on creativity (and on myself?)--not sure exactly how or what that looks like yet, but I'll never know unless I try. all my best--nikki