or, earthchick loves alliteration
With all the blogland goodness I myself have been the recipient of these last few months, it's time and past time I had a little contest myself. I've actually been wanting to do this one for awhile, and now the time is just right. So here goes.
Doing my little crafts and trying to claim, nurture, and use my creativity sustains me in ways I can hardly name. It keeps me sane. It is a form of resistance - my little attempt at revolution against mass-produced ready-made everything, and my small effort at a slow and relished life. Also, it's fun!
I believe that as children we are innately creative, artistic, crafty, curious, expressive. Over time, through the forces of prevailing cultural norms and institutions, we get some of it drummed out of us. We spend our energies trying to fit in, keep up, get ahead. Consumerism and conformity supercede craft, art, imagination. I want my children to find another way, join the resistance, value the things they themselves create. So I believe that one of my primary tasks as a mother is to encourage and nurture the natural creativity, curiosity, and imagination of my children. In some ways this has come naturally to me. Tiny Dancer likes to dance, so I dance with him. Little Buddha likes to help in the kitchen, so I give him little jobs to do. In other ways, it has struck me as more difficult than I had anticipated. Nurturing my little artists means, among other things: being patient, letting them make mistakes, allowing messes, paying attention, thinking outside my own little boxes.
I have learned an enormous amount about craft and creativity from the web of craftbloggers out there. My own creativity has certainly been nurtured and sustained by my participation in the craftblog community, and I have learned an awful lot about encouraging the creativity of my children, some of which I will share in upcoming posts. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the entire craftblog community, and no one more so than SouleMama.
I don't know how I first stumbled onto her site last year, though I'm sure I surfed in from someone else's blog - that's how I've found most of the blogs I read. Amanda's blog is inspirational in every way - phenomenal photography, wonderful writing, extraordinary crafts (sewing, quilting, embroidery, knitting, you name it). But what inspires me most of all is her approach to family and to child-rearing. I am blown away by the little people she is raising, and the sorts of things they create and do. She and SoulePapa are doing one heck of a job at affirming, encouraging, and nurturing their children's native creativity and individual gifts. That's the kind of mama I want to be.
So when Amanda revealed last fall that she had just finished writing a book, The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, I went a little gaga. Began stalking Amazon, watching for a release date. And now, at long last ... well, it's still six months away.
(You're wondering when I'm going to get to the contest part, right?)
I want to share in the anticipation with people. Also, I need something to tide me over till the book is released (you can check out the table of contents and sample pages here). What I need is from you, dear readers. I need your ideas. Your advice. Your links to great resources.
So here's the contest:
Leave a comment between now and midnight on Monday, October 8th, with one idea you have about nurturing children's creativity. How do you build a culture of creativity and imagination in the home? How do you resist convention? What do you think hinders imagination, and how do you deal with that? What rituals and rhythms do you think help nourish the artistic souls of children and families? I do not assume that only parents have good answers to these questions. If you don't have kids yourself, I still want your ideas. Did your own parents do anything in particular to support your creative pursuits? What do you do to feed your own creative self? Where do you find inspiration for the creative life?
Leave me a comment with one of your best thoughts. Next Tuesday, I will draw one name, at random, as the winner.
The prize? I will preorder for you your very own copy of The Creative Family. (Judging from the table of contents, this book would be inspirational even for someone without children, or it would also make a lovely baby shower gift.)
And just so you're not sitting around empty-handed for six months, I'll also throw in a couple of other goodies for the prize-winner:
- one skein of Malabrigo, in Indigo (a sort of blue-purple). A treat to knit with, as many of you can attest. One skein (225 yds) of worsted weight merino yarn is plenty to make a long skinny scarf, a great hat, a Calorimetry or two, a pair of wristwarmers, or a little shrug (like the One Skein Wonder). If you'd like to see how this particular color knits up, check out Lolly's fab sweater.
- a set of custom stitch markers made by yours truly, in your choice of color. You can see some examples of my new little craft here. If you're not a knitter, I could try my hand at a pair of earrings instead (if you don't mind taking that risk!). If you're not a knitter and not a woman (hi, Chris!), well, I guess we'll have to work something out.
There it is. My little contest, with hopes that I don't sound too much like a soulemama-stalker (though her blog is most definitely stalk-worthy). I look forward to reading your ideas. Let the games begin!