Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making Things

I have been reading A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book for book group.  It is a novel about many things (probably too many things), but it is mainly about people--a potter, a writer, a jeweler, a puppeteer--who make things.  There are delicious bits where Byatt writes about the potter seeing the world in terms of glazes, the writer examining the events of her daily life, even as they are happening, for their potential as stories. 

You can tell that Byatt loves to make things (she thinks of writing as something she constructs).  In an interview, she says:
I think of writing simply in terms of pleasure. It's the most important thing in my life, making things. Much as I love my husband and my children, I love them only because I am the person who makes these things....Who I am, is the person that has the project of making a thing.

Ah, the project of making a thing!  First, for me, there is the itch in the fingers, then the project, then the thing itself.  A thing--a piece of writing, a picture, a sculpture, a  tablecloth made into a dress--that wasn't there before.  It is only when I am making something that I feel affection for myself, and that then allows me, like Byatt, to love others in a better way.

What things--art, gardens, rugs, dinner--do you make that make you who you are?

7 comments :

  1. I love the "itch" part best, I think. The creation in the mind before the actually doing...the second best part, for me, is the finished project and the satisfaction of it. Well, unless it didn't turn out. And I am always amazed re the picture I had in my head versus the actual end product. Most of the time they don't match! It took me many years to realize that's alright too. I wonder if God(dess)' mental pictures matched the end product? I imagine the thought, "Hmmm. Universe=Great. Humans=Didn't quite see that coming!"

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  2. Quilts. I'm a process quilter. I rarely, if ever, repeat a pattern or technique, unless it is to perfect it (like piecing curves). Once i've made a Japanese inspired kaleidoscope pattern, I'm not going to start a series of them. It's time to do a homespun bear tracks or a 30s reproduction sunbonnet sue.

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  3. Jaimie, I know what you mean about the gap between the itch and the finished product. And for a weaver like you, there are so many intermediate steps!

    Bridgett, I wish you'd post more pictures of your quilts on your blog....and those bento lunches are works of art too.

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  4. Dinner definitely. I always feel slightly dissatisfied if I have made an "easy" dinner or one that doesn't really reflect ME.

    And of course my photographs. I make a lot of cards from some of my photos (flowers, trees, animals), and photobooks, and have a wall down a stairwell that's covered with black and white travel photos. I spend hours tweaking them till they're just right, and making sure they reflect what I felt when I took them.

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  5. Mali, what luck to live under your roof, with those dinners! Black and white photography is my favorite.

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  6. yes, this is why i was not satisfied with my first job--shelving books at the public library. it was what i called 'circular work'--you worked and worked and at the end of the day there was no evidence you'd do a thing. you'd shelved a bunch of books, but a bunch more got returned in the meantime.

    i wanted a job where i created something, or at least had some tangible resule of my hours. and so--newspapers!

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