Mom, The Maker
They are the woman trying to find a creative outlet in the midst of bottles and diapers, looking for ways to create something special for the new little ones in their lives. I know for me, it started during my time at home during my pregnancy. I had left my job early in my pregnancy due to health reasons, and had a lot of time on my hands between the art classes I began to teach. I remember searching high and low for a nautical mobile for our future baby. Frustrated after not finding one that I liked, I decided I would make my own. This project was one that took over a month to complete, each detailed piece required almost an afternoon to sew and finish.
So, after successfully completing my first hand sewn mobile, I made a couple more as gifts and explored other felt goods such as flower headbands and baby shoes. "You should open an Etsy shop!" was the refrain I heard from many friends and family - I considered it - but what would I call this new hobby of mine? Humble + Heartfelt it became.
After Elenour was born, the making went on pause for a while. I had a lot of healing and learning to do. Breast feeding was a challenge for the two of us and so I pumped every couple of hours. This little window of time away from baby gave me the opportunity to start making again.
After posting on Instragram, I would get messages requesting custom creations. People liked what I was making, and I liked making it. Making almost felt like an escape to me. It felt like a remnant of myself I hadn't lost. In our (mine and my husband's) field of work in Prosthetics & Orthotics, working with our hands, creating with our hands, is a daily part of the job. Creating with my hands again gave me the sense of mastery again - in a season of motherhood where I sometimes felt like I couldn't do anything right.
Slowly I ventured into working with different mediums, I tried embroidery on a whim and I fell in love with it. I loved the rhythm and pace of it, that one side was perfect chaos and yet the other side created something structured and beautiful. I started creating signs for other maker moms, ones I admired. These moms like myself had stepped out to learn a new skill - some of them supporting their families with extra income their creative shops had brought in. I found this community beautiful and inspiring and it taught me so much about being a maker.
Firstly don't be afraid to start making. For me I just wanted to create. I wanted to create something people would love enough to put up in their homes, in their nurseries. I would give them often as baby gifts, I would post things online, more recently I started display them at a few craft shows. I didn't have grand expectations and that's important, I see success as coming up with new pieces that people really love - not the number of sales I make. So start making, even if it becomes nothing more then a hobby - handmade things are always so meaningful and precious.
Secondly, look for inspiration. Look at other maker moms, how are they framing their photos, what does their packaging look like. Find a style you like. When I saw a custom stamp I loved, I would ask makers - where did you get your stamp from? When I was in a shop and saw some cute packaging, I made a mental note. I know the feeling I want people to have when they buy or receive one of my products. That's what fuels my creativity.
Thirdly, Create and re-create. When I saw other shops creating similar things as mine, I reminded myself, there is room for every maker and each one brings something different to the table. When I saw similar creations to mine, I branched out. I learned there were a lot of things I could do, but some things brought me much more joy than others. I let some projects go while I ran with others. "Find your niche" a friend of mine encouraged me. She had done the same - focusing on the one product she has perfected.
Fourthly, You were Created to Create. I feel as though this realization is one that has stuck me the most recently. If we look at nature, we see how complex and beautiful it is. Even the most complex and beautiful human made sculpture could not compete with the beauty and complexity of a natural tree; How it is made up of a network of branches and leaves, how complex and yet simply beautiful it is, how it changes every season. Its incredible really if we stop to think of it. But that tree is handmade by an amazing maker, the same one that made each one of us. He made human kind to reflect His creative nature - to care and cultivate the earth, to take raw materials and create. In his spoken word 'The Greatest Artist of All Time' Jeffereson Bethke says "you were created because someone else was creative" I find it encouraging to remember that any creativity in me is an outflow of His, and that is to be celebrated.
For more inspiration check out this amazing podcast episode:
called Creativity and Motherhood