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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Getting to your roots

In yesterday's post I reminisced about the creative passions of my youth that I am now revisiting as an adult. I asked friends in my Etsy BBEST team (Boomer and Beyond Etsy Street Team) to look back at what arts and crafts they were drawn to as children. Their insightful and interesting answers are posted below.

The Questions:

What arts and crafts did you do as a child? Did these interests carry with you into adulthood or did you return to them as an adult?

The Replies:

I always loved drawing and did a lot of it as a child. I also did collage and glued things together. They certainly are what I do now.
Six Sisters,
Fairy Frond,

I played with playdough a lot! I played in the mud out side. I remember digging clay out of a creek bank and making flowers. hehe... I colored and drew and painted. I sewed from the time I could stand and press the foot petal and was tall enough to see the needle. Every time my Mama got up to press a seam I stood and sewed until she came back to sew her next bit. I never stopped doing any of them.

I did all sorts of artistic things as a child and I still do. Played music...still do....wrote, still do...draw, still do, but now I do it with glass....
Gimme Beads,

I learned to knit when I was 8 years old - and I never stopped! I also did crochet, needlepoint, cross stitch, and embroidery. I learned to sew, but I have always preferred more portable crafts. In addition, I have been playing piano since I was a child.
Alysa Merle Handcrafts,

I knitted as a child - still do. I also liked to create things out of other things and draw. I was an art minor in college and have dabbled in watercolors. I was also a drafter for a few years - actually drawing for money!
Blazing Needles,

At about the age of nine I started embroidering, and continued to do so for years. I also did some knitting at a very young age but was terrible at it, so I lost interest pretty quickly.

I loved making clothes for paper dolls (do they still have those?) and was designing clothes for "real" dolls by wrapping them in various scraps and ribbons from my mom's sewing drawer until I was old enough that she let me use her machine. I think I was about 12. As an adult I made most of the clothes for myself and my oldest daughter, but by the time my youngest was born, I was over it. As a kid, I was always doodling and drawing, but don't really have a talent for that. I loved writing and wrote a lot of poems, stories, and plays. I've always adored horses, so they were usually the inspiration for my drawings and writings.

There were no beads, gemstones, or wire involved in my childhood, this passion must have grown from my general love of making things with my hands!
Night Sky Jewelry,

As a child I loved to color, draw, paint, and play with clay. I took tap, ballet, and toe dancing for 13 years. I used to sew a little and I love to knit. I am still pursuing my love of color with my glass work.
Firefly Glass Design,

I loved to draw as a child, but wasn't any good at it, and can remember making clothes for dolls out of tissue paper... no cloth or anything around. I learned to play the guitar when I was 13. These days, I work in cloth and paint, and have lots of stringed instruments, including a lute.

I always loved to color and arrange color. Colorforms, paint by number, crayons and coloring books were our favorite Christmas gifts. We also made those potholders and I remember being very picky about the color, feel and quality of the loops which were randomly packaged. Drove me nuts. We did sell them door to door in our neighborhood, too. I learned cross stitch and loved that and then learned embroidery. My sister and I would also design elaborate doll condos out of cast away 'stuff'. We'd build these on the floor at the end of our beds and they'd last for months, we'd add and detract over and over. We didn't care for playing with the dolls at all. Just designing these complex structures.

Our family (genetic) creative interests were cooking/baking, photography and home movies. I've always loved, pursued and excelled in those areas. In High School I learned to sew with a machine and I also learned cake decorating, which I loved & would love to do again. I was married very young and sewed and did embroidery work a lot. Experience with both of those has led to increased skill, a sense of joy and happy satisfaction.

What carries over from these activities into my art life today is my interest in assembling things from 'nothing', being very color and environmentally affected oriented (both immediate and global), and, of course, there's those indispensable scissors ~ the tool that arranges all of my disparate findings into a whole new creation.

Although I sometimes wonder what path I might have taken if I'd had opportunities for art & literature higher learning, I do like being self taught and there's plenty of time for things like film school!
Flying Housewife,

My mother was a wonderful seamstress who made all her own clothes and mine too! She was brilliant at embroidery, I remember dresses being embellished with embroidered flowers using French Knotts. Also, tablecloths, bed linen. And then, she discovered machine embroidery and a lot of open work which brings me to the conclusion... she was so immersed in her sewing etc with me sitting in the corner just colouring whilst she learnt her skills that I ended up taking a real dislike to sewing!

In fact I remember sewing at school. Our first project was to make an apron. This was supposed to only take a few weeks before you were allowed on to another project. I took a whole term and hated it! It looked pretty awful too. Now cooking? That was a whole different ball game! Loved it, and to this day I love cooking.

However, in later years I have delved into the world of sewing but this time, patchwork. Something my mother just could not get her head around!!

........... and then I remembered! As a child I used to love doodling with pen and ink. Picture after picture and maybe that is why I love 'doodling' with encaustics because I never know where I will be going!
Precious Quilts,
On A Whimsey,

Interesting question. I have always, as far back as I can remember, loved making things. I've said for years that I must have a short attention span as I seem to change interests often. I remember making makeup when I was maybe 7 with magic markers, water and baby powder. Geesh! I did the doll clothes thing, I always had the coolest halloween costumes, loved to make these shoebox things where you would cut a hole into the side to look in and there would be a diorama inside.

As an adult I've been all over with crafts. Again short attention span. I have a dollhouse that I built that has a chimney that spews smoke. I spent a couple of years making beaded jewelry, painting sweatshirts and t-shirts, got more advanced with machine embroidery, I sill love photgraphy and here I am now, addicted to glass.

Chauncey Design,

I learned to sew (and knit & crochet too!) when I was around 6. Mom had a Singer. She sewed clothes for us kids. My Paternal grandmother taught my Mom and I both how to knit and crochet. I still love it all. I used to sketch and paint on everything. Got in trouble for sketching nudes. Heck it was a Catholic school. When I got to high school I excelled in anything to do with art. Forget Home Economics....I cooked and sewed at home. I did scenery for plays at school and the local theaters. Designed costumes. Made some large scale sculptures working with clay. Did commissioned art work for different businesses and private owners. I had been accepted to several top schools for design but chose to marry my childhood sweetheart instead.

I have continued with designing and sewing (my kids had the greatest wardrobes as they were growing up) and got into patchwork quilts for awhile. Then I found model railroading and started creating miniature buildings and making trees and landscapes. I developed a business making resin structure kits that I finally closed last year after almost 10 years and am now back into (I never really left I guess) sewing. And with the age of the digital camera I am having fun with photography. Whatever medium....I need to create.
Scottie Acres Boutique,

I did a lot of needle crafts as a child. My mom and grandma taught me to crochet and a bit about sewing, embroidery and tatting. I wanted to learn how to knit but they told me it was too hard, because it used 2 needles.

I kept up with crocheting, sewing and embroidering, teaching myself new things all of the time. I found crocheting to be a BIG stress reliever in college.

While working at my 1st job in a Pediatric ER, one of my fellow nurses would knit during her breaks. When I asked her about it, she said that it was easy. Soooo, I bought a book, yarn and needles and taught myself to knit - a sweater!! I still knit today. I love learning new techniques.

I've also done lots of other arts and crafts:quilting, stained glass..... In fact the other day I thought that probably the only thing I haven't made is a boat.

I think what I learned from the various needle arts has helped me greatly in the wirework I now do. Much of my jewelry making reminds me so much of sewing and embroidering. What I learned about color from making quilts has also had a big influence on my jewelry designs.
Mary E Jewelry Designs,

I used to draw A LOT. I would read a book or story and then draw whole notebooks full of illustrations for them. Also in school, I remember drawing a lot, even on the chalk board! I took shop instead of home economics, which means I only learned the basics in sewing (which I hate), knitting (which I did a lot as a teenager) and crocheting (which is not my thing at all). I did learn to make things with clay early on, which was love at first touch, and I became a professional ceramic artist and teacher in the end. I also loved to write, mainly letters, I had some pen pals, this was before the internet obviously.
But clay really was my favorite thing ever. I still get sentimental about it, but don't have the energy to start a studio from scratch any more, since I sold everything before I immigrated to the US. The window clings reflect my love for drawing, but they also have a texture, like glazes do.
Clinging Images,
Nice Old Stuff,

I used to play with my mother's and grandmother's jewelry, taking it out and running it through my hands and putting it back. I always had some of my own. I still have a huge rhinestone that I called "my diamond"! Other than that, I was mostly interested in nature, outdoors, butterflies, bugs, dirt, rocks - once found a huge rock at camp that was loaded with garnets. Somebody stole it after I brought it home!
Hemlock Hollow Creations,

I did paint by number some as a kid and lots of coloring books (all carefully within the lines). They were constrained but that was what was available in my mind. I also learned to knit afghans. In art class though I felt freer... I still have several paintings I did that color-wise look just like my work now. It is so cool to look at them. I guess I was too caught in not being able to take risks outside of class.

I did read - lots and lots!! And I stared a lot into a few reflective surfaces we had (like bathroom window sill) and imagined other worlds and upside down worlds in the reflections. The reading I did also totally stretched my mind into other times and places ... and these things impact my work now as an artist.

In my 20's I started to do embroidery on my dungarees and work shirts and they are colorful and free. I also painted a few practical things like utensil holders made out of an old bed headboard. I also started quilting and making pillows with quilting techniques ... that is when I started coming into my own (in life too).
Diane Clancy's Art,

As a child I loved drawing, coloring, and experimenting with a variety of techniques/mediums. One of the highlights of my summer was always going shopping for school supplies. I begged my mother to let me buy the big box of 64 Crayola crayons; she usually would give in, even though the school only required the 24 count box. I loved those crayons and remember the smell of the fresh wax to this day.
J.B. Guess & Company,

I loved drawing, coloring, and painting with watercolors as a kid. I played with play dough and clay. I learned to crochet and sew when I was a teen. My big love was music. I played the violin, cello, and taught myself to play the piano and guitar. I still play the last two.
I still sew and crochet and started painting again on wood and ceramics. Cutting out wood pieces on a scroll saw is a lot like sewing.
Jill's Treasure Chest,

I never realized until now how much my childhood has affected the person I am today. What an ingenious question which will get us all thinking of things from the past to the present.
I have always loved working with my hands and creating. I couldn't have been more than 4 when my grandmother purchase a tiny Indian beading loom with Native American beads. Strangely, one of the few things besides my Madame Alexander dolls that I kept was that loom and still have some beads left. Could this have been the beginning of my love of beading and jewelry making?
Another memory that immediately comes to light as I think back was my first sewing machine. It couldn't have stood more than 6 inches high; but I had the best dressed dolls in town. Who even knew what a pattern was. I would just lay my doll on the fabric and cut around it and stitch it up. I still design and make my own quilts, and design and sew all the costumes for our theatre group; and yet, I still don't know where to begin using a pattern. It just evolves from my head to my hands. Unfortunately, I never kept that little machine, but my sister so kindly brought me a new one this year for my birthday.

Ever since my formative years I have been an observer of life - that has been a keen approach to my becoming a photographer. I feel my observation skills have served me well in creating images that I'm proud of showcasing my work in gallery exhibitions.
Susan Elkin Photography,

As a young child I loved to draw/paint and create all sorts of crafts from gathered natural items. Pinecones and twigs were transformed into pins or collage pieces, or even used for a 3-d addition to a current painting. I made many a clay bowl and ash tray, not to mention picture frames from popsickle sticks. I was always creating something and made all my own gifts.

Then one day my art Teacher chastised me for drawing a tree without leaves. Gave me a "d" for teh project and sent me home in tears, drudging through the snow, only to tell my Mom that I would not ever paint again. Of course I had to fill my time somehow, so I explored other crafts and spent hours amusing myself as I attempted to sell my creations. Other kids may have had lemonade stands, I had art and craft shows! Yes, I was an enterprising young lady! I began taking my braided bracelets to schhol and selling them during luch. Many a Mom received my special pine cone pin for Christmas!

So, yes, I did continue crafting and jewelry making, often with a strong nature influence as I became an adult. A few years ago, I even attempted to paint again. However, I must say that my covered bridge charcoal drawing that I did when I was eight looks much more professional than my most recent attempt. So I am just going to stick with the other 99 or so things that I do and leave painting and drawing to those more talented artists!
Unique Garden,
Unique Treat Dog Bones,

As a child I was always checking out craft books from the library and trying all kinds of things. I learned to sew and a toy sewing machine first and then my mother sent me to a sewing class at the Singer sewing center in our small town. I had my pattern pieces all pinned onto the fabric and was cutting them out, the two instructors were so busy gabbing and not watching me that I started cutting on the hem line instead of the bottom. They had to scramble to stop me. It turned out okay and I won first place in our district. I still have the dress to this day complete with piping, covered buttons etc. Maybe I'll photo it and post on flicker. I sewed all my clothes through high school and did a lot of embroidery on them too. Still have a few of those also. I took a dress design course by correspondence when I was in high school.

The other think I loved to do was collage work, I remember cleaning, crushing, and painting eggshells and then making pictures with them. I also used common postage stamps my dad gave me to make designs. I still have one of those too. The other thing I loved to do was doodle drawings where I "scribbled" with a pen and then colored in using different colors.
Big Island Rose Designs,

I can't remember a time in my early childhood when crayons and colored pencils, paper, scissors and glue were not available. Etch-A-Sketch had just come out, as well as Play Doh, so we experimented a lot. Although coloring books were available, it was much more fun to make and dress our own paper dolls. My brother and I would rewrite fairy tales into plays, make our own costumes out of whatever we could find (because at that time we did not sew), and we turned a bedroom closet into a stage with the doors serving as curtains. We held puppet shows, too. I liked to write stories and illustrate them, and told everyone that when I grew up I would be an author.

My first experiences with hand sewing included hemming a bandana and darning socks on a darning egg (do they even make those anymore?), and my first sewing machine experiences were in junior high, when we sewed an apron and a kettle cloth jumper. During the summers, the local elementary schools had activity programs that were free for all ages as long as your parents registered you. I can remember weaving lanyard keychains, making paper mache masks, and forming colored tissue paper flowers.

While I was in high school and college, all of these activities seemed to drop off the map, probably because I had different (academic) priorities. But it's interesting to note that when I graduated from college, one of the first things I did was to take a class in crochet, and I bought a sewing machine. It was as if a floodgate opened, for this was just the beginning of many experiments in different kinds of arts and crafts activities.

At age 52, creativity is more important to me than ever. I even volunteer for an international non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage and promote creativity in youth. And those claims that I would be an author one day? Well, I do write for publication, even though I don't do any illustration!

My first crafting memories are of creating little gardens in the mole-hills in the lawn, using bits of broken mirror for a pond. I also had a passion for drying out melon seeds and making necklaces from them for my sisters. Glueing paper chains and lanterns kept me occupied for hours each Christmas. Still doing all that kind of stuff 50 years later!
Make your presents felt,

As a kid I played in the mud a lot and made dishes and play dough was always turned in to coil and pinch pots, my whole family was involved in ceramics even before I was born.. I’m the only one who moved over to pottery..

There was a lot of sewing also.. We were taught to embroidery, knit and made doll quilts.. by my grandmother..

Also we lived by DU so I hung out with the hippy chicks by our house learned macramé, candle making and those kinda things and still do them now..


Blogger On a Whimsey said...

What a totally fascinating subject to read about where and how these people arrived, where they are now but still evolving! Absolutely magical!

August 11, 2008 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Sixsisters said...

This is so interesting ! Thanks for doing such a great

August 11, 2008 at 1:40 PM  
Blogger Judy Nolan said...

I love reading about people's varied backgrounds, and where those backgrounds have led them today!

August 11, 2008 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger AltheaP said...

This is so wonderful. What fun to read this stories and imagine the little children that we used to be! (Maybe we could put these descriptions with childhood pictures?)

August 11, 2008 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger ZudaGay said...

Oh, Liv!! Thank you so much for doing this!! I loved reading them all. So interesting to see how the things we loved doing as children has taken us to the adults we are today.

August 11, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Chauncey said...

Liv, this was so interesting and fun to read. Great job!

August 11, 2008 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger maryeb said...

This is such a great idea. It was interesting for me to think back on my crafting past. It's great fun to read about others' experiences.
Thanks for doing this.

August 13, 2008 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

What a great read! I will have to come back and read some more. What a fun way to get to know others better! And some of us share very similar stories!

August 15, 2008 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger MagdaleneJewels said...

Thanks Liv for a beautiful idea. I loved reading each person's memories, learning how each one of us developed into the artists' we are today. So interesting, I would have loved to read more!

August 19, 2008 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Thank you for posting this, Liv. It's great to see how others got where they are now!

September 7, 2008 at 9:59 PM  

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