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Cringe and Create Check In: The Halfway Hump

It is the ides of May, and we are halfway through our Cringe and Create Campaign for 2023.

At this point in the journey sticking to it can feel tedious, taxing, and difficult. If you are struggling to keep up this new habit, or feel discouraged, I see you. I appreciate your struggle, and we can finish strong together. Struggling is okay! This is why we come together in community; for support and understanding as we cringe our way through growing pains. Creativity is a lifestyle we cultivate. It takes effort. It takes practice. That is what this campaign is all about - creating a practice of honouring creative time, your inner artist, and sifting through the uncomfortable beginnings of awakening your creativity.

In an effort to promote the cringe side of things I want to share my cringe and create journey thus far with all of you, and hope you feel empowered to do the same. I chose, as most of you probably know by now, to embark on two different branches of artistic creativity: pastel painting and embroidery. I set fairly flexible boundaries and expectations, but have held firm. I set a time limit, a frequency expectation, and activity requirement.

Let’s break it down. I know this feels redundant, but if you struggle with goal setting, this is an example of setting achievable, realistic goals in your creative practice.

Pastel painting or embroidery work daily for a minimum of 10-30 minutes for the month of May with the goal of creating new work in each session (stitches, pieces, colour blocks, artwork).

Thus far I have thoroughly enjoyed both practices. Admittedly I have done more embroidery work than pastel painting, but both have filled my evenings with more colour and provide a meditative space to unwind after long days.

Epic Embroidery - I started with a sampler kit, however, I found it did not contain enough information regarding stitch instructions. Changing gears rather quickly, I found Cutesy Crafts which has excellent step by step instructions and videos for beginning embroidery, diverse stitches and free, downloadable patterns. Getting to learn the process of separating the flosses, the focus required for threading the needle, and the therapeutic nature of creating stitches in a rhythmic way with beautiful colours, creates a delightfully calm environment. I have loved this practice, and have been massively fulfilled by learning this new medium. Giddy I bring my little row of new stitches up to my husband and ooh and aah over the fact that the lazy daisy stitch looks like a little flower. I gave myself freedom this past weekend, and went off of learning new stitches in favour of freehanding a flower bouquet. Yeah, no pattern, no set guide to follow - this was an exercise in creative play. That is what this campaign is all about - creating as a beginner, creating freely in play, cringing when things go wrong and learning that there is no wrong in the creative journey, there is only learning.

Loving - The meditative state I enter when stitching; the colourful flosses; seeing a pattern or a stitch come together.

Cringing - At my poor posture while embroidering; My lack of finesse and technical skill, especially when it comes to no knot techniques.

Creating - A stitch sampler; a free hand bouquet.

Painting in Pastels - This has been a more humbling experience. The pastels have added layers of colour to my life, and getting to see it flow across the page and colour my hands is a delight. Playing in the visual space is exciting, but not being a visual artist, when I play on the page with colour, it is very evident that I cannot draw. My artistic skills are limited, and that has become very apparent when comparing my little study of a tree in pastel to the example outlined in the workbook. However, this has not stopped me from the joy and desire to play in pastel. This is another lesson in developing technique, but also a study in intuitive artistic exploration. Dabbling in a whole new plane of creativity has really inspired me to branch out more, try new things. As one explores more in the creative sphere one discovers shifts in perspective. I may not be able to draw the best tree, but I created a tree no one else could create because they are not creating from the same place as I am. Though theirs may be better, though they may have more practice or knowledge, they also have a different perspective, and that changes the way we see the world and therefore changes the way we choose to express ourselves within it as well.

Loving - The colours and blending aspect; playing with new mediums; diving into more technique

Cringing - At my poor sketching/drawing skills that base the shape of my work; my blocky patch work colour

Creating - Studies of techniques in blocks; a tree study bringing all of the techniques together

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