Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Creative Heart

Cooking up a storm...

All of my life I've always created in some way or form. But then, don't most kids? Creativity becomes life when kids are young - hide and seek, dress ups, creating a library from the encyclopaedia set complete with check in cards and pockets... or was that just me?

Ages 3-11
As I grew up there was always creativity front and centre in my life. Speech therapy for a lisp turned into speech and drama lessons turned into acting in school plays, which turned into singing in school plays. The neighbours had a word to my parents when I would ride my BMX bike up and down View St singing the Weetbix song in the wee hours of the morning when I was six, because I loved to sing. Paper crafts, a sewing kit for a birthday when I was young, jingle bells that mysteriously disappeared not long after that Christmas, turning up five years later thanks Mum, stilt walking, drama day camps, choirs and so on and so forth.

Ages 12-16
It wasn't until high school that I discovered I wanted to play a musical instrument. So I rented a flute from my high school and began taking lessons with the approved school teacher. Who I promptly fell out with (He was very snooty, very french and quite mean) and found a lovely teacher called Sarah, who was 19 and the coolest girl ever. She also got me well and truly drunk for the first time when I was 14 and we went to a heavy metal concert after my flute lesson. I can't believe the things you let me do Mum.

Flute took a back seat when I was blessed with a mouth full of braces at age 16, but I kept singing and playing guitar.

Ages 16-22
After I finished my secondary education I applied to and was accepted into a Contemporary Music tertiary qualification run through the Arts and Music Campus at my local TAFE, which was where I met Mr S and his collection of 80's dress shirts. Still crocheting and quilting and paper crafting and baking in the background. We install a recording studio into our house, which terrified (and continues to terrify) me, but it keeps music as a constant in our lives.

I take an interest in all things graphic design, get some software and fiddle and play, eventually fluking myself into a job in Tasmania... southward bound!

Ages 22-27
When I moved to Tasmania in 2005 the first person I met was an 8 months pregnant Mel, who introduced me to the local Australian Songwriters Association group. When Mr S joined me we spent the next four years attending and playing. Somewhere in there I was asked to play a gig at a local pub. I hadn't played on stage for years, let alone played original songs, let alone be paid for it!

I spent the next 6 years making a living from music and graphic design. With lots of help from Mr S I recorded and released two EPs over the last three years. In this time I hit some career highs that have made me feel satisfied with where music has taken me. Cygnet Folk Festival, Australian Blues Music Festival, Falls Festival, Taste Festival, other festivals around Tasmania, radio interviews all over Australia, so much support and airplay from Edge Radio, loads of support from ABC 936 Local, newspaper interviews etc. It's these successes that make me feel content with what I've done and perhaps have quenched my public musical thirst for a little while.

In this time my father falls terminally ill, and I need distracting, so I start baking. And baking. And baking. I also study cake decorating for a year, and fill the kitchen cupboards with yet more creative gear. I can pipe a cake like a mofo.

Ages 27-28
When I fell pregnant my focus shifted and I wasn't driven to music like I usually am. I needed home crafts. I started sewing. I letterpressed all our wedding invitations (sucker for punishment I am), I kept crocheting, I made cards, I made matching chairs and wall canvases and doona covers (nesting Mama times), I cooked gargantuan amounts of food for my freezer (see nesting Mama times, above.)

The one constant in my life is creating. It's an itch, I've got to scratch it. My desk is currently covered in two balls of bamboo yarn (Summer crochet hat for M), two bags of red yarn (leftover project that didn't work), a photo album (to make a flip book for M), a roll of ribbon (ribbon flowers), my Mrs Smyth notebook and a whole lot of crap. And a coffee mug.

Before we dreamed of Millie I read this fantastic book by Rachel Powers called 'A Divided Heart' and whilst I loved it, I didn't really understand it as deeply as I do now. It's a series of interviews with mothers or mothers-to-be and their relationship with their art. It's such a beautifully written book, I think you'd like it...

So now, sometimes, I MUST. I MUST create SOMETHING. Be it baking and decorating a cake or sewing something or crocheting for an hour or strumming my guitar, all the time, there needs to be something.

No matter where my day to day life takes me, next to my family and friends, my creativity is right there, threaded through my life and it anchors me.

What's your anchor?


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