Another gadget

Almost as life changing as the pressure cooker (used nearly daily since it took up residence). The gardener and I went halves in an overlocker a little while ago and I’ve finally had the time to make use of it.

Overlocker From Above

All those knits and jerseys I’ve stashed – at last, they realised their purpose! Some pj’s for the lass and a fetching velour top; and plans for other tops and jackets. It sews like a dream and it’s so much fun. It’s not at all difficult to get the hang of it and I had a little guide book as a reference. Re-threading is tiresome the first time you do it but it’s not the drama I’d been led to believe.

The only trouble is that I haven’t found any shops in Australia that sell quality children’s knits, terry and jersey. Crafty Mama’s do but their stock clearly flies out quickly and doesn’t have the range I’m after. So I’m waiting for an order of fabric that should produce a hooded jacket for the lad and complementary long sleeve top, a crossover top for the lass, a hooded top and a long sleeve t-shirt. In the meantime, there is a particularly luscious plum jersey to be made up into a 1950s wrap-waisted top, knight’s costumes, and probably pj’s for the neice and nephew.

I have pieces of orange velour and chocolate velour which were intended as a jacket for the lad a year ago. Unsurprisingly, he’s not keen on the colours now. I love them but not entirely sure I can pull off velour – it’s seems to be a kid’s texture. I’m sure my infatuation with the overlocker will help me arrive at a solution.

Creativity and freedom

You know, I was looking at the referral letter I have for a specialist because I am losing my hearing in interesting circumstances, and right at the end of the list of ailments that I remembered was “2006 – DEPRESSION’. I wish that was the only time. And it prompted me to think about all the times I’ve had bouts of depression and they all revolved around identity: adolescence, getting married, two lots of post-natal, the struggle to assert my academic identity, and the absolute spin dive, finding out my partner had bipolar (manic depression) and that I was trying to be mother, father, carer, professional full time, and that I no longer knew how to be me. And under the gentle yet insistent prodding of my therapist, quite unsure what ‘me’ really meant.

I realised after some months of painful reflection, anger, sadness, indifference, passion, determination and hurt that I needed to do what I understood about myself. I couldn’t simply say, ‘I am an academic in my bones and any other kind of work is not good for my soul or my health’, I had to be an academic. I’m nearly there; working in an academic position outside of my field. I’m applying for positions in my field and doing the publishing thing and hoping that it’ll all come good soon.

I realised that I couldn’t satisfy whatever creativity was inside me by making very nice utilitarian clothes for myself or my children. I had to think about why I wanted to do these things and then follow that through. So now I still make clothes for me and the kids but it’s about customisation, bringing out each personality for self-expression, making choices about fibre and colour for the joy of texture, hue and value.

I realised that while I might not be really good at drawing, I did some okay stuff at school when I had the time to observe and practice and the freedom to explore. Slowly, I’m coming to that again, giving myself the time and space to make marks on a page and think about what I could do with them. I think that will be the most difficult one because it’s about what I see in my head and how I see things and being sure about what I see and mark. But a start is better than being frozen.

There’s a bit of a conversation going on over at innercitygarden about creativity and motherhood. And I listened to a conversation between Alan Brough and a philosopher, Damon Young, about a type of freedom that is gained by avoiding distraction. Making our choices about who and what we are and how that gives us a personal freedom that cannot be legislated for or voted against. But it can be trampled by what we expect of ourselves and others, by believing that our creative and passionate selves should always be subordinate to social norms. In short, by being distracted from what is true of ourselves.

There have been ups and downs since 2006 but being sure of myself is a good foundation.