Early last week I set aside all the things I needed to do and enjoyed some pressure-free time block printing in my studio. It’s rare that I step away from the looming deadline work and do something creative for creativities sake.
So much of what I do on the day to day ends up being goal-oriented. While it’s good to plug away on those lofty goals, my sensitive self can’t spend too much time in hustle-ville before I lose touch with the easy joy of making. It’s what I love about doing creative work after all! Don’t get me wrong, I know the hustle is important. The struggle is that I also know it tugs me away from the joy of creativity. It’s all about balance.
This sunny afternoon spent block printing and carving and stamping was a much-needed return to that beautiful feeling of flow. It was like a glass of cool water. I had no idea how thirsty I was.
Truth is, I was caught up in a comparison spiral. You know the saying “comparison is the thief of joy”? Well, it seems no matter how much my brain knows it’s true…my heart doesn’t always get the message. Social media became a place that spread an icky feeling all over me and my head was full of, “Oh man. She is so much better at this than me!” or “I should just chuck it in, I’ll never have the drive she has!”
It felt as awful and embarrassing as it sounds.
That said, I know that forgiving myself and hitting reset is the best for these situations. So, instead of ‘chucking it in’, I set aside my computer and phone; put on some Bob Dylan and grabbed my notebook, pencil and my beautiful design books
I gave myself an afternoon to create without an end goal and without restrictions (including ignoring my inner critic). Block printing is one of my favorite ways to get out of my head. Perhaps it’s because it’s so immersive and requires so much focus. I’m not sure exactly what it is but I love it.
The inspirational books I reviewed are Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett, The Printed Pattern by Rebecca and Yvonne Drury, Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin and Lotta Prints by Lotta Jansdotter. I am a craft book lover and it’s because of moments like this one. Sometimes they are the perfect companion.
I didn’t intend to but I ended up using the block printed fabric to create napkins and those napkins made the perfect wrapping paper for the Valentine’s chocolates I gave to the family on Valentine’s Day. Now that Valentine’s Day has passed, they grace our table.
Once I got going it was hard to stop and I decided to stamp some tea towels as gifts for a few neighbors.
It was the perfect way to recharge and reconnect with everything I love about making things. I hope you give yourself some time to just explore a random creative side street sometime soon. It’s really worth it!
Note: This post includes affiliate links for some of my favorite creative books. I hope you can find these books at your local bookstore but if you can’t, a purchase through this link will send a bit of support my way, at no cost to you. Thanks for that!