Can You Get Something Great from a Mess?

Crafts have always been something I’ve enjoyed. As a child I loved making stuff. I would look at magazines and books and create bookmarks, bookends, name plates, and many other crafty things. This passion for creating continued to more complicated crafts as I grew older, such as quilling (click to see info from Wikipedia), crewel embroidery, plaster crafts,  and even creating plastic flowers by dipping shaped wire into some kind of liquid plastic that dried hard.

As a poor teacher, I supplemented our “fun” money by painting wood cut outs and selling them at a craft fair every fall. This enabled us to join the family on Christmas ski vacations in Steamboat Springs every other year for a period of time.

I have cross stitched, needlepointed, hooked rugs, and stamped cards. Wow, now that I have written this out I think that’s a lot of crafts, and I have probably forgotten some.

Currently my interest lies in beading. I mostly make necklaces, but I have done a few bracelets. Chico’s and Coldwater Creek are really to blame for this current interest. I liked some of their jewelry, but didn’t want to pay the price. My friend said you can make this. I’ll show you how and that was the end of that. I now have a tote with lots and lots of beads (mostly stones of some sort). I’m sure it would have been cheaper to pay the price for the store’s jewelry, but where would the creative pleasure be?

However, I don’t have time to pull it out very often. When I work with beads, I want to see all my options of what’s available. How does

 this stone look with this metal piece? Or what about this seed bead, can I use it somewhere? Oh yeah, these are nice, how can I use them? So . . . sometimes I have a dining table and a few evenings available.

I create a mess! (Good thing I am there alone.) Note that even in beading I need a mentor text (i.e. page ripped from Chico’s catalog).

As I sat there stringing and restringing the variety of beads, stones, and metal spacers, I thought this is just like writing. You have to get in there and play with the words to create the message you want the reader to understand. Move this word or sentence here and this piece flows better. Take this part out, it doesn’t fit. When you are finished with making a mess, you have a wonderful piece of writing or just maybe a cool necklace!
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19 thoughts on “Can You Get Something Great from a Mess?

  1. Tam says:

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. You are so crafty–pun intended! Your correlation of writing and beading is very clever. I love your idea of looking for necklace you like then finding the right beads yourself and making it your own. I love Chico’s and Coldwater Creek–not willing to spend the money either. Beading was popular awhile back. I made Christmas ornaments then and love them to this day. I’ve been looking for a new hobby………….

  2. I have a friend who does this & makes some amazingly beautiful pieces, like that final photo, Elsie. It does involve so much choice and deliberation and consideration of differences and nuances and weight. See you’ve got me thinking already! I love that you shared this. I made a lot of crafts early in my teaching career, before children, then with the children, but rarely now. Maybe someday I will return. Thanks for the great connection.

  3. Interesting connection between beading and writing. And such nice complete sentences in the last picture.
    I have been thinking how drawing and writing are similar. A slice is coming out of that idea. Two and three dimensional characters and drawings.

  4. Elsie, great connection. I chuckled when I saw your stuff spread all over. It made me think of my friend who makes a huge mess in her classroom right before school starts every year as part of getting her room ready. It also reminded me of myself when I scrapbook. Everything needs to be in my line of vision so I can see all of my options and make the very best choices. There is probably a slice in that for me, but for tonight…I’m too tired to figure it out! Another day…

  5. I love how crafty you are- both with beads and with words! 😉 Great connections between your hobby and writing.

    Oh, and I think you should totally sell them…they’re really cute! 🙂

  6. Love this post Elsie! I was a scrapbook creator when the boys were young and needed to see all my options too. Choice is so important for creating. You are a talented creator and enjoyed reading about the connection you made to writing.

  7. You have a knack with beading! I’ve never been much good at it so I admire anyone who can take some beads and work them into a beautiful creation.

  8. I was always a craft kid too! One of my favorites was creating patterned beaded bracelets on a little Native American bead loom I had. Your analogy between your beaded bracelets and writing was really cool — what a neat connection! I haven’t really crafted much since I’ve been older (other than some scrapbooking and photo frame decorating), and your post makes me miss it!

  9. So true, “You have to get in there and play with the words to create the message you want the reader to understand. Move this word or sentence here and this piece flows better. Take this part out, it doesn’t fit.” I loved the analogy between beading and writing. So true!

  10. The mentor text, Chico’s catalog, was great! Isn’t that the truth don’t we look for examples on how to craft our words, art, etc? I am jealous. I love beaded jewerly… I have never tried! Why? I am scared. I don’t think I have the eye. Keep creating in all you do!

  11. grade4wizard says:

    You clearly have fun creating the mess, playing with beads and words, and then seeing what you created. Both the process and the result matter.
    I like the connection you made between creating jewelry and writing.

  12. Judy C. says:

    Elsie, I totally agree that writing is just another form of crafting. My hobbies pretty much overlap yours – at least up to the beading. I’m so glad that I have a work area where I can leave everything out and be creative whenever I feel like. Thanks for sharing your beautiful bead work & writing!

  13. Great metaphor – the more I think upon it the better I like the connection. Especially this:
    “As I sat there stringing and restringing the variety of beads, stones, and metal spacers, I thought this is just like writing. You have to get in there and play with the words to create the message you want the reader to understand”.
    I survey my necklace collection and I think to myself, Elsie is right, I have some lovely, perfectly strung ones and some clunkers (what was I thinking?!), just like my writing pieces.

  14. Beautiful! I am into crafts myself, but beading is one thing I have never had the patience for–so tedious. I am impressed with the fruits of your crafting, and I can totally see the connection to writing (after all, both beading and writing are arts).

  15. Yes indeed! I too liked your ‘mentor text.’ Hah! I’ve been thinking about this a lot this March too – writing is a craft, a puzzle. I like this definition from wikipedia:

    A playwright, also called a dramatist and dramaturge, is a person who writes plays.
    The term is not a variant spelling of “playwrite”, but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder (as in a wheelwright or cartwright). Hence the prefix and the suffix combine to indicate someone who has wrought words, themes, and other elements into a dramatic form, someone who crafts plays. The homophone with write is in this case entirely coincidental.

  16. I giggled when I saw your “mentor text” in your writing and picture. You are living the writerly life and seeing it everywhere. I’m in love with the outside necklace on the right hand side of the picture btw. Thank you for the feedback on my blog. I appreciate the tips, hints, and compliments. They mean so much.

  17. You do such a nice job of walking us through the connection! I think so many things are like this I often say you have to “muck around a bit” to get to some deeper meaning. I know your theory holds when I try to clean my desk or organize my house. It sure does seem to get worse before it gets better, but the end result is worth it. Writing IS like that too!

  18. We are thinking alike today! I too am finding that just about everything connects to writing in some form or another…my post was about cooking (I too enjoy a little beading here and there-earrings are my thing)!

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