Sometimes our creative lives can take on the role of lover. Most often my relationship with my leathercraft is respectful and divine, full of gorgeous inspiration and tender moments.
Sometimes, though... hm.
These last few weeks have been.... interesting. We had no interest in each other, my chosen craft and I. I flirted and dabbled in other things: metalsmithing and painting were the objects of my passionate focus.
My patterns and leather sat by in the same room, seemingly unaffected by the lack of attention, growing no less beautiful without my eyes to behold them.
As the days passed I became fearful and slightly angry: this has been my life for two years: fallow periods of days were the most I'd ever been away from tooling, mostly due to travel and social engagements. This fallow period began in late December and it was now January 25th - where was my muse?
Where was my love? I remembered Julia Cameron writing about this in The Artist's Way, her groundbreaking book on creative nurture. Reading her words again I felt lifted: Oh! This happens to everybody.
This was not to be treated as an outbreak of Rubella or a case of food poisoning - there was nothing to figure out: just like any love, this one had cooled as love can when left untended. With people obviously it's HARD at times - but you always have a listening ear. You and your partner get to discuss the ins and outs of love together in concert.
You and your art are strange bedfellows, unable to communicate in anything other than the most subtle energies of sort: the "Aha!" in the shower or the slow solo smile of realization. There is no "I feel".... no blaming and no reconciliation.
How odd!! All the trappings of a love affair and all the problems that follow suit, but a much more one-sided communication.
I'd like to think that my hides missed me... that somehow inaudible as it was, my little hand-drawn koi pattern wept as I did at our strange absence. Perhaps my marble block felt a slight resentment at the dishes and ceramic squares it bore as I smithed upon it, thinking, "This isn't what I am here for!" In reality, I'll never know -
But I do know this:
Today I tooled again. It felt AWESOME - like waking up from a really perfect amount of sleep into a day you know holds some amazing things.
I am shy about it a little, but I know the reasons why I fell under a grey cloud and I will take a little more tender approach to my creativity.
There will be silversmithing.
There will be leathercrafting.
There will be time made for play and social ease.
Most of all, there will be a healthy love between all three no matter what we experience - of that I can be certain, if for no other reason than today's timid first dance with an old flame.