Labor of Love
Creativity is a magical experience. There is a level of mystery and institution that comes with creating, times you must rely on the gut feeling or trust your instincts. Moments when the creative process feels as if some Jedi force is guiding you, often I stand back at what I have made wondering, “did I really make this?” Those are special moments we all live for as creatives, where everything just flows out in a effortless stream of poetic depth and power.
If only it were always that way.
Recently I have been reading, “Gathering Blue,” by Lois Lowry, which I highly recommend. In her book Gathering Blue the character, a hand embroidery artist, is capable of effortlessly crafting beautiful pieces of detailed work. Yet she must learn not only the craft of sewing, but also the art of of dye making.
Before the days when we could walk into an art store, or any store for that matter, and pick up paint or colored thread, before the day of photoshop and digital colors, there was only plants, and roots for dye. To be an artist, you not only had to have the magical intuitive touch of creativity, you also had to have the skill and craft to find the pigments and make them.
A intensive process of growing, harvesting, pressing, and pulling the colors from plants required you to not only know the types of plants and what color they give you, but to also be able to produce the color needed. All these steps involved one to labor patiently and faithfully as certain colors would only come in season with what was needed.
There will always be a double edge to the creative sword we swing, one side tuned in to the intuitive spirit, listening to the deep undercurrents and movements of the human heart. The other, will be the labor of love you must endure in preparation to produce such masterpieces.
Sure there are overnight success stories, but often behind those stories are people who labored tirelessly, preparing their own dye and collecting their own plants, doing the hard work no one sees that will produce the perfect colors needed. That kind of labor, needs love, a kind of love that is tenacious, patient, faithful to believe in the vision even when you see nothing.
Are you willing to labor for the things you love? Are you willing to undergo the hard and often gurling work that no one ever sees, all in order to do what you really love? Maybe it’s not just what we create that makes us artist, but what we create when no one is looking. Only then when you have labored in love, will you love to labor.