Home > Uncategorized > Call me Ma Ingalls

Call me Ma Ingalls

In modern society, I think we’ve forgotten the real meaning of creativity. It’s come to mean making something unusual, new, unique. But really, it just means making something.

For instance, last night I made a dozen jars of applesauce. They are lined up on the counter right now, ostensibly to cool but really just so I can admire the golden jars for a while longer. I saved the peels and cores and boiled them with spices and water to make juice that I’ll turn into jelly tonight. Those will be even prettier, I’m sure, all rosy red with a brown undertone from the cinnamon and cloves.

Looking at those jars make me feel very satisfied in a way few other things can. Why? Because I made them.

Am I the first person to make applesauce? Not by a long shot. Is it fancy and different applesauce? Not at all — no sugar, no spices, nothing, just mushed apples. But I made it all by myself (with some chopping help from The Husband) and it fills some primal need to see that.

agniThe gnomes and fairies and whatnot that I’ve been making for The Child’s advent calendar are very similar. They are cute and all, but very similar to all the other gnomes and whatnot out there. Thousands of crafty moms like me have done very similar things. Just like thousands of people have made nine-patch quilts before. But I still find both very satisfying.

I think that that’s part of what’s missing in modern society. So often our jobs are so abstract. At the end of the day, we have nothing but numbers on a bank account to show for our efforts. That’s great and cerebral and wonderful, but I think that the desire to make things is a deeply human one and that we feel the lack. I was at the craft store to pick up some thread the other day and was amazed at the variety of what I (quite snobbishly, I’ll admit) call “fake crafts.” You know what I’m talking about — a pre-fashioned piece of something upon which you glue a variety of pre-fashioned gew-gaws. Despite the almost token creativity involved, it still fills some need within people. At least, given the huge piles of them at the store, I have to assume it does.

(When I get the cutsey-poo glue-on assembly-line crafts that The Child makes at preschool, I get the same feeling. I wish they’d let them just explore rather than “here’s a mouse, here’s a tail, glue them together…. okay, add whiskers….”)

When I started getting interested in Waldorf, I wondered at the fact that so much was devoted to handcrafts: knitting, sewing, baking bread, making things. But as I spend more time making things from raw materials — bread, jellies, applesauce, quilts, dolls, cookies — I think that I begin to see the point.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 16, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    the black background makes your blog incredibly difficult to read. I’ve been getting into actually CREATING things lately. From dinner to Christmas gifts to my two children and a blog and a home and a body of work, etc. Love it.

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