On becoming a swan

1acardswan007Becoming a swan is the journey of the artist and has been my journey. More than merely an ugly duckling story of finding my outward beauty, it has been about finding myself. Finding my own special voice as I create. Ignoring what is in vogue, what everyone else is doing and saying and doing what pleases me.

As an artist there is the element of spending time alone. Getting into a space that is quiet so that I can hear my truth, I try to listen carefully. What creative direction do I want to take? With my head games and self-imposed rules, I know that it is easy to tell myself what I should be doing and not what my energy tells me that I must do.

NestEggs-Ephemera-GraphicsFairysmSometimes I am inclined to travel in new territory, and expand my knowledge and experience. I may go with the energy and try a new craft. Like spinning or machine knitting. Here the inner voices try to redirect me. For in taking a new direction, I am taking a chance. Will I fail at this new craft? Will I lose my passion for my other beloved crafts? Will I ever return to them again? Will I lose my sense of self-worth?

I have found that I do return to each one in time. And revisit them with renewed vision, as if my time away from my familiar old crafts gave me new perspectives to apply to them. A new perspective on color or a stronger self-confidence with technique.

It is as if everything creative is more alike than not. And each craft, like different facets on a gem, all glisten in their turn. Creativity is dazzling!

Only rarely do I finish with a craft. If I do it is usually that I no longer find my voice in it. I make peace with this and accept that it is all part of my creative journey. Maybe someday I will revisit that medium. A door closes, a new door opens before me. I let it. In the past I have ushered out supplies and tools no longer in use. I feel a sense of closure. I feel more expansive. I will make room for the new.

For me, creativity means going with the flow of inspiration and not judging myself. Being gracious and tending the garden that is my soul.

And so that is my wish for your creative journey, that it may grow and be a more passionate part of who you are.

Blessings, Karen

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

37 thoughts on “On becoming a swan

  1. I think after reading this, I feel better about the “things” I’ve left behind and have no interest in picking up again. Thanks for so being so introspective this morning.


  2. I have always loved if not lived this quote. I do find getting older has opened my eyes to letting go as well as willingness to “to give it a try” whatever the “it” may be.


  3. It’s so nice and comfortable to know that there are people also fighting within themselves. I jump around also, from one creative process to another. And fight myself to stay on one track. But fail, jumping is me, there is to much in my head. Thank you for the inspiration to say, it’s alright. Kate


    • everyone’s creative process is different. ask yourself: what am i learning? if there is so much inside of you waiting to get out, perhaps you might consider a creative journal to be a landing pad for it all. sketches, words of inspiration, ideas, colors, glued photos and things found….


  4. Good Morning Karen,
    Have you been hearing what my inner voice has been saying to me? Has it been that loud, lol! Just these past few years I have been struggling with letting go of my previous craft and opening my eyes to try new experiences. Guilt of time and expense has plagued my thoughts. Until recently, did I think to sell this collection to clear my mind and space.
    Interesting timing of this blog which is giving into my own inner quest and granting me the permission to grow and be happy with that decision. I don’t believe anyone fails at creating art or anything else that gives them pleasure!
    Thank you so much for this blog. I am printing this to remind me…it’s ok!


    • investment in a craft can lay a big guilt trip on us. when i move the stash on, i try to focus on the joy that someone who i sell it to or give it to will have. thank you for sharing your journey today.


  5. Ah, inspiration to let go of the collection of tiny seed beads that have sat neglected for so long because aging eyes and fingers have made beading a chore instead of a pleasure. A nice thing about rug hooking is that one can use larger strips and primitive backing as the eyesight gets less acute! But the color play is just as much pleasure.


    • yes, i have had this experience also. i think that some of the crafts that i have left behind sometimes have to do with minute-ness! i don’t gravitate toward tasks that entail high intensity lights and a magnifying glass. yes, rug hooking with wide strips is luscious and bold and relaxing!


  6. You are amazing and I feel I am on a parallel journey..giving myself permission to let the artist emerge.
    I just finished meditation series with Depak Chopra and what you write is deeply aligned with this.



  7. Karen, on my walk this morning I was asking for a sign and then I came home and read your blog. It brings me to tears it hits so close to home. Thank you so much for sharing your creative journey, you help me as I make my way.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you. gwen


  8. i’m so grateful for this post and for the way so many have responded, echoing your own message. my heart has been telling me to stay home, quietly, listening, creating… my brain has been telling me to go grocery shopping, to clean the house, to do the laundry. because of your compelling words, i know i can tell my brain that it’s ok to wait while i follow my heart.

    thank you for the virtual permission slip to say yes to some things, and no to others!

    be well and happy,



  9. Hi Karen, Your message today rang true to myself. It’s almost like you read my mind. I jump around in the creative crafts, which most don’t understand. I return to some and not to others. Wonderful words of wisdom that I shall remember. Many thanks.


  10. Dear Karen, thank you so much for your thoughts today. I recently gave my counted cross stitching pattern books and supplies to my niece. It made her happy and it made me happy too! I had realized that I had not used it since 1996. Next are my basket making supplies.

    My passion has been rug hooking for the past six years and I am going to speed ahead without any guilt of art left behind!

    Deborah from Arizona


    • i understand how you feel. the path of creativity is a challenge at times. you have every reason to be encouraged, as your work is always exemplary. lisa, you just haven’t looked at yourself the way we all see you. you are the swan.


  11. I get bored with one and craft and try a new one. Every body does that, there is nothing wrong with that! You women are too hard on yourselves. Don’t think about it so much just enjoy yourselves with your time on crafts.


  12. Karen, as I was at work, I started to read your post and enjoyed it. I had to just reread it again. What you said rings true. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. You’ve opened my eyes and my heart. Thank you!


  13. I have been collecting swans for some years, now, and designed a stained glass window of a swan about 35 years ago. I have been designing and crafts for many more years. It is true that time spent in cultivating interest in and crafting to personal perfection is the source of real success as a crafts person. I find your remarks and work very inspiring.


  14. Wow! after reading all the comments form yesterday’s post–it seems there are a lot of “us” who go from one art/craft to another! I gave away all my cross stitch books years ago, but kept the floss–thankful that I did since now one of the things I enjoy is punchneedle embroidery. It’s nice to know that we all feel it’s OK to move on to something new or go back to something “old” if that’s what we want!


  15. Karen, your view of the artistic journey rings true with me. Love your analogy of the faceted jewel. I also love swans and the photo you posted above would make a beautiful rug hooking.


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