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Dear Gy, I honestly had something else planned for today’s note but your creativity over the last 2 weeks has blown me away. So, as with all best-laid plans, this too went awry. Before I knew it, I had changed what I wanted to write about. Today, let’s talk about being creative and learning to nurture it when you find something that you love doing.

Creativity is not an inborn trait, although many people will tell you quite the opposite. It’s not even restricted to the Arts or the humanities, another misunderstood concept. No, being creative is finding that spark within you that compels you to work on something long and hard because it gives you immense pleasure.

A couple of years ago, you took up paper quilling. Now I am terrible at anything craft or art related. It’s not something I am ashamed of, merely a factual statement. So if you were to ask me to make a rabbit out of origami or a quilled flower, I would laugh and walk away.

But not you. For some reason, art and craft fascinate you and for someone who is otherwise given to numerous flights of distraction, you change completely when it comes to doing things with your hands. Late last year, you took up knitting and it surprised me that within 2 months, you’d knitted an entire scarf! You tried to teach me, I remember, but none of it made sense! I didn’t know what to lift, loop or turn and twist. Yet you persevered and I admired that quality.

Then, last month, you announced that you wanted to join a terracotta workshop! I don’t know the first thing about making jewelry. I just wear them. You were gentle and firm when you proclaimed that you wanted to give this a go. A bit surprised at your insistence, I agreed.

What a delightful decision that was! Within a week you’d learnt how to mould terracotta clay into pendants, earrings, beads and chains. You worked through the day, rolling the clay, patting it into shape, taking a toothpick and etching the designs painstakingly onto the pieces. I watched in fascination as you then applied layers of rust, gold, silver and copper paint to the set pieces. I whooped in joy as the patterns came together to form a thing of beauty.

Through it all I saw something else. I saw your eyes shining in pride. I noticed that you blushed whenever a friend of mine sent an appreciative comment. A bit of amusement filled my heart as you seriously asserted, ‘Amma, so many people want me to make these for them. Please keep track of the orders, so I don’t forget.’

Beneath everything else though, I see a very important quality that only comes with innocence and childhood: humility. You liked the praise but didn’t work for it. You did what you did because you loved it.

And that, my dear, sweet, incredible child, is the hallmark of true creativity: To be completely involved in the process while being utterly detached from the outcome.

May this never change.

I want you to remember this beautiful quote from a favourite writer of mine, Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book, Big Magic, she says:

 The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.

You, my darling, appear to have found those jewels. Nurture them, keep the flame burning and never let them die.

Lots of love,

Amma

*Note to the reader: The images in the picture below are all pieces crafted,strung together and painted by Gy herself.


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Creativity: DIY handmade Terracotta jewelry

 


For the months of April and May, I will be writing short notes to my daughter on some concepts that I hold very dear. 

I hope you enjoy these snippets as much as I love writing them.

Thank you for being part of my journey.


  • Featured and images courtesy: Shutterstock

Comments

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10 Comments

Rachna · April 9, 2018 at 7:44 am

I saw the updates that you shared about Gy’s workshop. Really gorgeous stuff. Such patience and creativity! And these days kids are moving away from traditional things like embroidery, stitching, knitting etc. that our mums were adept at. After your suggestion, I asked G if he wanted knitting jenny. And he was excited at that idea. I am going to get him one now. So happy to see Gy nurture her creative side. And you know, she does get it from you. What can be more creative than writing?
I sure hope she always keeps this streak alive.
Rachna recently posted March, Exams and GratitudeMy Profile

Vishal · April 9, 2018 at 8:09 am

What a heartfelt and lovely letter for Gy, Shailaja. I hope she read it before us 🙂

It’s wonderful to hear that she’s keen on tapping into her creative side rather than being forced into it.

Looking forward to seeing more photos of her exquisite work.

P.S. Would recommend Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit. You and Gy would love reading it, I hope 🙂

Nabanita Dhar · April 9, 2018 at 9:40 am

This is lovely, Shailaja. My mom is very good with arts and crafts. I, on the other hand, have no patience for that. I don’t know how M will take to arts and crafts but I’ll support her completely. Do anything I can to help her.
Beautiful note.

Pratikshya Mishra · April 9, 2018 at 10:19 am

These are indeed so beautiful. From paper quilling to knitting to terracotta.. and she’s all of 12 yrs . That’s really amazing.. she is i must say v v talented.

Love these. Do post about Gy’s next creative venture…
Pratikshya Mishra recently posted Melody Hansen: Art That Speaks VolumesMy Profile

Shilpa Gupte · April 9, 2018 at 10:21 am

Okay, so first things first. Gy is taking orders for this jewellery? Then add mine to it, too. I want dangling earrings and the neckpieces – at least five of them, each. And, ask Gy the price, too! No discount, okay? Because, at the age at which she has created these amazing pieces, she deserves to quote a price she deems fit. Seriously!

So, Elizabeth Gilbert seems to be floating in our Universe, on an everyday basis, I feel. I have quoted her in my J post, too. Each and every word feels like having been written for me! And, I am also doing as per her instructions and suggestions!
I agree…it’s creativity if it makes your eyes sparkle, if it brings a kind of happiness in your life as nothing else does and if it keeps your mind occupied and too busy to entertain any rubbish thoughts.

Keep it up, my dear little GY! I love your art, your creations and look forward to a lot more. I know you have the determination to pursue things and not give up. That is what will take you a long way!
Shilpa Gupte recently posted H – Health. #AtoZMy Profile

Vidya Sury · April 9, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Wonderful. Reminds me of my letters to my son during the April AtoZChallenge in 2015. I think that’s the only year I actually stuck to a series-theme.

Children teach us so much with their focus on what they love to do. Nurturing them is the best thing parents can do–and I can see you do that. Thanks for all those lovely updates on Instagram. Now, all I want to know is: what did she make for Vidya Aunty? Hmm?
Vidya Sury recently posted Happiness Habits to Practice Every DayMy Profile

Snehal Joshi · April 9, 2018 at 8:31 pm

I loved your post. Simple yet it conveys a very strong message. Creativity surely needs to be fostered by both Mom and Daughter..thats what I do. So that we both are there together for most of the times. Reading On!

Obsessivemom · April 11, 2018 at 7:22 pm

I love what you’re doing Shailaja. I am sure Gy will cherish these little instances of her childhood so beautifully woven together with important life lessons. And I absolutely loved the trinkets she has crafted.
Obsessivemom recently posted The exam checklistMy Profile

Jennifer · April 12, 2018 at 8:15 pm

I love to see the creative process at work, especially with children. They get so wrapped up in the work. This is a lovely note to your child.

    Shailaja · April 13, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you, Jennifer. It is indeed a treat to watch them lose themselves in something so wonderfully.

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