Things We Have To Make

There are things we want to make.  Things we like to make.  Things we think that someday we would really like to make.  And then there are the things which are not optional.  Things which are required, by circumstance, as proof of our abilities, or in some cases, things which are born because not making them turns out to be much harder than just allowing them to form under our hands.

Lindsay had to make a sculptural interpretation of a cell, with all its parts.  She had a clear vision of what it should look like, its size, and all the things she would need to execute it.  My jobs were to drive to the craft store and help procure supplies, and later, to fire up the label-maker.  Other than that, this is entirely her creation.

I stood looking at it, the product of her hands and her mind, thinking that it wasn't very long ago that she didn't know how to feed herself.  What happened to that little baby who spit mashed peas on us?  Whence came this capable young lady?  Not sure, but it's okay; I don't really miss the mashed peas.

I was sick last week.  Gnarly bout with the flu.  I wallowed around in an antihistamine-induced fog, wondering if the cure wasn't worse than the disease.  My sensitivity to cold medicine (required for breathing) is such that it both knocks me out, and keeps me from actually sleeping.  So I lay around in a fugue state for about four days, dreaming the same irritating set of knitting instructions over and over, unable to release my mind from them.  This unmade garment, a colorwork vest, had commandeered my subconscious, and would not let it go.  I know where all the steeks go, the order of the colors, how many stitches are in it.  The only thing left is to let my hands catch up.

But I don't want to knit a vest.  I have other things to work on, like a Trapeze Tomten, and the Caorah Dubh pattern to write.  And I wont tell you (yet) about the the Annual Christmas Knitting Start-itis that has besieged me.  Nope.  I don't want to make the Vest of Flu-induced Torment.  Not One Bit. 

But I realized last night that I don't think its up to me.

One of my most constant prayers is for inspiration.  That said, I believe that Inspiration, in and of itself, is for amateurs.  As one who has hitched my financial wagon to the art that spills from my head, I cannot afford the luxury of waiting around for the big idea.  So I approach creation like the work that it is: Joyful, surprising, exhausting work.  And because I so often have to lower my horns and plow on ahead, it occurs to me that I may not know a real burst of inspiration when it's given to me.  And I don't get to choose how the ideas will present.  I might have to wait until some time when I'd rather be blowing my nose for the ten-millionth time. 

So I cast it on.

MacTarnahan inspected what  will one day be the Flu-Induced Vest Design. 

Lindsay had to make her cell sculpture for school.  Its completion was not optional.  She didn't waste time questioning its necessity, just dove in and made it.  And really enjoyed both the process and the result.


I'm gonna learn a lot from her.