This year, I have decided to make a commitment to art and craft as a means of reclaiming my own identity. I made a painting for the first time in more years than I care to think about with my husband as part of a fun exercise (he needs to get back in touch with his inner artist too). Then I decided to design and make our Christmas cards this year. While I love to dabble in graphic design, what makes these cards special is the fact that the artwork is a painting I commissioned from myself. High art, it’s not. Craft and artistic expression it is. Best of all, I had a lot of fun making it. It is a digital painting, but created using painterly techniques one stroke at a time. Once the cards were designed and printed 3 up on a page, it was time to cut them out. I used an X-acto blade for the first time in way too long and found it surprisingly satisfying. This tool, one the bane of my existence, then a secret weapon for all kinds of crafty undertakings, had lain at the bottom of my art bin for years. Scissors, while nowhere near as precise, had become the lazy substitute. I took an odd pleasure out of having to get out my cutting mat, precisely line up an edge with a steel ruler, and once again make the series of scores that result in a precise cut. It was mindless yet mindful all at the same time and I realized how much I missed this kind of work.
Challenge yourself to a greater expression of your creativity and to bring out your inner artisan in the coming year. Not just for your life as an architect but for your whole creative person. The art of craft is something not to be lost, even if we move seamlessly between digital and 3-D life to invent new processes. We are not virtual beings, but physical ones who do our best work when we don’t forget how to translate the ephemeral and conceptual back to the tactile.
I wish all of you a happy and wonderful Christmas and a 2012 filled with possibilities. Please leave a comment to share your aspirations for cultivating more creativity in your life in the upcoming year.