Suzie Cabbage has a crafts room– a gorgeous, inviting room with sleek white cabinets and dozens of drawers, filled with materials for creating. Each drawer and cubby holds things like fabric and beads, colored pencils, paints and tablets, embroidery floss and ribbon. Opening a cabinet or a drawer, these things rise and swell, overflowing into your hands.
There are several places to work, and the room is conducive to play and creation for a few people as opposed to solitary endeavor. In short, it is an enviable room that you can’t help but think about somehow replicating in your own home; a place that you could retreat with close friends to make things with your hands–some ancient longing for women gathering in a circle.
I am not an artist. My expression is with words. I am comfortable with laptops and spiral notebooks. I devour Natalie Goldberg books and sit for long period of times, reflecting upon the stories that live in my heart and the stories that I want to tell. So when Suzie Cabbage said to me one evening, as we were relaxing with our tea, “let’s make art,” I felt a rush of excitement and dread. I used to sign up for art classes as electives when I was in college and I was always the worst one in the class.
Suzie Cabbage, (not her real name, but that story is for a different blog) pulled out fabric with glue on the back that allowed it to be fused to another piece of fabric with an iron. She gave me scissors and pencils and beads. With a little direction, and a mound of gentle encouragement, I was transported back to a time when boxes of Crayons were jewels, and upside down petunia blossoms were skirts for the ball. Horses could fly and mud pies were a fine meal fit for princesses. Then, I grew up and traded barefoot for high heels and muddy hands for manicured nails. The magic things faded and the latter things became the accessories of a more stressful life.
Some long ago remembering in me kicked in and it was as if I knew exactly what I was doing. I wanted teacups. Not the delicate kind of teacups from your grandmother’s china, the kind of tea cups that I had at home. Cups that were really mugs, like the mugs that held morning tea for my husband and I as we sat on the deck looking over the Grizzly Peaks and planning our day. Cups that were the symbol of a morning ritual: A little caffeine. A teaspoon of honey. Sun on the face. Picking up acorns and twigs that fall from the Oak tree that watches over our house and holds stories for me in its leaves. I wanted to make cups in the morning sun.
Into the evening, I cut and ironed and stitched. And when I returned home the following day, I carefully removed the small square of art from my bag and proudly showed my husband what I had made. I installed the piece ceremoniously in my laundry room.
The form of creative expression that I take both joyfully and seriously is writing. I will probably never have a crafts room in my home, but I am so grateful to have a friend who does. I am a little girl again, who can’t wait to get to her friend’s house to play. Suzie Cabbage and her extraordinary, excellent, most fun in the world crafts room awakens in me that part of myself that knows that horses can fly.