Friday, August 17, 2012

Desire For Greatness

This is not meant to be a self-deprecating post. It is just what I've been honestly been running through in my head. I have been given a blessed life. I KNOW I have. That is not something I take flippantly or without a huge amount of gratitude. I am grateful to my Creator God for the life He personally designed for me & me alone. My life is not without difficulty or frustration but it is one I am greatfull for. I have made some bad choices & I have made some good ones. These, along with an amazing amount of grace & mercy, have produced this life I am in. What I have been pondering for a while now is: am I doing as much with what I've been given as I could? As I should? As I want? As others want? As my Creator desires?
Great, adjective: 1. unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions 2. large in number 3. unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc. 4. wonderful; first-rate; very good 5. being such in an extreme or notable degree
I have a desire to be great. In this I am referring to the last two definitions, heck, maybe even #3. (Do we all have this pull? Is this just me?) I've been given a great life & I want to do great things with it. I want to be great. I want to do great things. I want to do great things with the gifts I've been given and the skills (tangible & otherwise) I've developed...Why? To what end? I want to achieve greatness is many aspects of life. Important or superficial, I want to be great. I want to "do" that aspect wonderfully, firt-rate and to an extreme or notable degree. Some are silly & some are more important than others & others still are the most important of all. But it still remains that I want to be great at them: I want to be a great follower of Christ I want to be a great desciple, pray-er, study-er, listener I want to be a great wife, sister, daughter, friend I want to be a great employee I want to be a great dresser, with great style I want to be a great housekeeper I want to be a great steward of this earth, my pets, my posessions I want to be a great church family member I want to be a great pattern maker & seamstress I want to be a great small business owner I want to be a great exercise-er I want to be a great encourager I want to be a great dancer (like I said, some are silly) The list goes on... But again, why? What drives this struggle for greatness in such a wide variety of aspects of my life. Do I want others to think I'm great and what I do &/or accomplish is great? Do I want to think of myself as great for my own self image, self-confidence &/or pride? I look at "great" people and think, I want to do that. Not necessarily their task but their impact. I have stood in awe of what I considered greatness at concerts, speaking events, class rooms, art exhibits, theatre, church services, etc. But with greatness comes responsibly. As cliche as it sounds, it's true. Those "great" people are responsible for what they do with their greatness & how they impact those around them. That's heavy. I don't want that. I just want the good stuff. Not the work. Would I be great at these things if I put in the time to each of them? With as busy as I am, I can be lazy. While I am busy doing, doing, doing, I'm lazy to accomplish the things I desire. I want to look great in "that dress" but I not do the exercise nor the diet to get there. I want to truly HEAR my Savior speak in a great way to me but I'm not willing to be still & listen. Etc. Perhaps my focus must be narrowed. No one can be great in all aspects of their life, no matter how blessed that life may be. Can they? Perhaps I desire too much greatness & should focus on being great in one way. But that seems lazy too. Is this the world's expectations fueling this desire for greatness? I already know the world lies. Or, is this a legitimate conviction that I should do greater things in fewer areas while setting down other areas and stepping away from them.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Artist or Craftsman? An Essay of Sorts

According to (not the photos):

art·ist [ahr-tist], noun
1. a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.

2. a person who practices one of the fine arts, especially a painter or sculptor.

3. a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.

4. a person who works in one of the performing arts, as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.

5. a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.

crafts·man, [krafts-muhn, krahfts-], noun

1. a person who practices or is highly skilled in a craft; artisan.

2. an artist.
I guess I should have looked up the definitions for these words years ago. They are words I have struggled with for some time. I love the idea of being an artist. I love the idea of being a craftsman. I think "artist" somehow has gotten a romantic connotation in society and is therefore put on a pedestal for all to gaze at with admiration. Meanwhile a craftsman is respected for producing high quality wares in a dark, dusty workshop, but an artist? I think society says, "No." Sad really.

What is even sadder is that while I believe myself to be a good craftsman I frequently long to be an artist. I have wanted it to the point of silent tears several times. Many people (some of whom I consider artists & some not, but all of whom I love) have referred to me as an artist. Sometimes I "correct" them & other times smile & let them believe their "error".

Why do I usually not consider myself an artist if definition #1 clearly states "a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria". I produce work in "the arts...". I should think I am an artist. But I often do not. I guess it is because the work I create is almost never an original idea of my own. Does this make me a non-artist? I guess I would usually answer yes, & to a lot of people's horror, I would also follow that up with "I'm not even creative."

Back to the dictionary:

cre·a·tive, [kree-ey-tiv], adjective
1. having the quality or power of creating.

2. resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative: creative writing.

3. originative; productive (usually followed by of ).

cre·ate, [kree-eyt], verb
1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

2. to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

3. Theater . to perform (a role) for the first time or in the first production of a play.

originate, invent.

A friend of mine, who's work is similar to mine, shares in this same self-struggle told me once that she considers herself a "creativity facilitator". It is her job (and talent) to take someones original, "creative" thought & make it tangible. Another friend of mine answers back, "Doing that takes creativity and therefore an artist!" Does it? Or does it take a craftsman?

I know the line between artist & craftsman is a blurry one. My husband & I have discussed this blurry line on numerous occasions. Is an artist a craftsman? Is a craftsman an artist. We've come to the conclusion that the answer to both questions is "Not always." Do you have to be one in order to be the other? No. But I guess for the "art" to be of quality, both of those rolls must be filled, not necessarily by the same person. So then, I'm a craftsman. That's cool. I take a person's art & use my skill set & love of the "art" to make it tangible. As a craftsman. After all my workroom is dark AND dusty!

But what about my Lucky Zelda items? Surely I am an artist to create those pieces. No one is telling me what to make & when or how to make it. So I'm the artist there! Am I? Given enough time, I can copy anything. I use patterns or images of vintage items or items that strike my fancy for no particular reason & re-create them with the materials available to me. RE-create. Somehow this takes "artist" out of that equation for me.

Perhaps a way in which I am an artist is in my use of materials. I've got a cash of fabric & trims that I am constantly fighting to not takeover my little condo. So what can I make out of this or that piece of fabric so it comes to life in a new way? Is that being an artist or is it an insanely "thrifty" (let's use the polite word for cheap, shall we?) puzzle solver. Putting the round pegs in the round holes while spending as little of my hard earned money as possible. I love jigsaw puzzles, always have. Perhaps Lucky Zelda is a fabric puzzle. While that sounds fun & the whole idea makes me smile, it doesn't make me think of "art". Sigh.

I guess the real question is, why do care so darn much? Who bloody cares if I am an artist, a craftsman, both, or neither? Perhaps it comes down to envy, ego & pride. Never three friends you want to visit at the same time. Ever. And yet as far as this topic goes, they're practically keeping their tooth brushes at my place.

I have numerous friends who are artists in various mediums. Some of them artists in multiple mediums (which totally blows my mind, by the way). I am envious of the way they can see something before it's there. I am envious of the "I gotta get this "art" out of me before my bones start burning!" (or do I, because I know this is often the cause for sleepless nights). I am envious of their creativity in the sense of "to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes". My ego would love the stroke that hearing "How in the world did you come up with that?" would give it. My ego is wounded when told by an "artist" I was trying to help, "Well, I'm an artist. I don't think that way." My pride is hurt when others treat what I do is as though they could take it or leave it. Not that an actor's costume or a Lucky Zelda purse is going to bring clean water to the world but that my work is handmade & handmade well is important to me. My pride yearns to be puffed up with accolades & praise. Aye, there's the rub.

It is not my job to have a well fed ego. It is my job to do my job to the best of my ability. End of story. The fact that I have a job I love so much I've started a side business in a similar "art" form is an undeniable fact that I am blessed beyond my worth.

So I will continue to facilitate other's creativity. I will continue to put together my "fabric puzzles". I will continue to admire the work of those around me while taking pride in the product I produce. I will attempt to do all of these things without needing or desiring a label that I believe society values. I have value without it and for that I am truly grateful.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Gone Retail

Lucky Zelda has gone retail. South Coast Repertory, a regional theatre in Costa Mesa, California now offers several Lucky Zelda purses in their gift shop. As I work as South Coast Repertory's costume cutter/draper, Lucky Zelda occasioanlly uses scrap fabrics from productions to create purses. Audience members & customers alike can now take a piece of a favorite production with them.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Salt Vessels

A Taste of Wisdom
A yogi grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so one morning, sent him for some salt. When the apprentice returned, the mater instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. “How does it taste?” the master asked. “Bitter,” spit the apprentice. The master chuckled & then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt & put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, & once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink form the lake.” As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” “Fresh,” remarked the apprentice. “Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. “No,” said the young man. At this, the master sat beside this serious young man, who so reminded him of himself, & took his hands, offering: “The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.
While listening to this parable being read aloud during my yoga class's closing Savasana I smiled (a perfect ending to a great class by the way). As a follower of Jesus, this parable spoke to my faith. Perhaps because I have ones precious to my heart that are currently in pain. That of course pains me. I realized that I, we, are the glass. But we have no need to become the lake, something we don't have the ability to be. By allowing Jesus to be the lake He desires to be in our lives our salt will be surrounded & washed away by His freshness.

"Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." Luke 4:13b

Friday, May 28, 2010

If They Have No Bread To Eat...

They should come to my house! You see, I got a hankering for a bread machine. I found one cheap on Craigslist not too far from home (I love me some Craigslist). Pictured here is the maiden loaf. Pretty, huh? I opted for your basic white bread thinking that'd be the easiest. Sure 'nough! It's tasty!

I informed Kaisara that said breadmaker was not purchased to increase our bread intake. His response was, "Why not? We'll just put alot of butter on it & less meat." While I would be more than happy to acquiesce to such direction, I don't think it's healthful. My hope is for a healthier product due to the absence of preservatives & ick in my bread. My theory is that making my own bread (or having my machine do it for me) will be a healthier & delicious choice for Kaisara & I all the while being a greener choice for my environment.

Did I mention it has a timer so I can have fresh bread waiting for me when I get home from work? It's hard being me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ooops! It's Been A While

Wow. November. Really? It's been that long? I blame Facebook for my lack of blogging. Not that I spend alot of time there but apparently it's more time than here. So, if you're out there & are interested, here's an update of the life of Cate:

I'm only 4 shows away from finishing my 1st season as staff cutter/draper at the theatre. I was a little leary going in, you know, without my safety net of the staff cutter that I had as over-hire. Now I'M the safety net. Yikes! Turns out, I think I'm doing pretty well. Given, this has been a pretty easy season. No big builds. No really complicated periods. But still, parts of my job have been challenging & I think I'm succeeding at my new post. I'm fired for the summer the 1st week of June & am looking forward to summer break.

Summer break. Aaahhhhh. I love that I still get summer break as an adult. Not many of us do. Theatre folk & teachers. Anyone else? And that's only if you don't teach summer school or do summer stock (Did it once. That's enough. At least it taught me about cherry lime-aid. Thanks Cat!). My 1st day off Kaisara & I are heading up to North Hollywood for a wedding & are planning on staying up there for the night. Who needs that drive that late? The following weekend is our church's camping trip that I'm planning. It scares me that I need to be doing that now. Oy.

Kaisara & I are once again turning over a new leaf in our life-style as it concerns our chub-ness. Things have gotta change. AND THEY WILL!! We're eating better, moving more & have been enjoying it. Though we'd enjoy chips & cookies more. But alas, it's not to be. Sigh. I find it interesting that I loathe exercise when I think about doing it. But during & after the fact, I love it. I love it more than clicking away at solitaire or FB & yet, those things usually beat exercise out. Why is that? So, it's been about a week. Progress will be slow. But it will be.

We took our 1st advanced level Lindy Hop class. We decided we needed to do it. In the intermediate classes we haven't been challenged & while the intermediate/advanced class was more fun, it seemed to be review. We've got a laundry list of moves that we can do & do well. In class. It's on the dance floor as a lead & follow that we sort of loose our finesse. Our instructors told us that the advanced class would help. It's less about moves & more about dancing. Sweet. We liked it & are planning on going back.

So that's what I've got for now. I'll try to do better at the posting. Cheers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Am I Vulcan?

I am really starting to wonder if I'm part Vulcan. You know, Spock was a half-breed. Though I don't go as heavy on the blue eye-shadow as Great Uncle Spock, maybe I've got a little Vulcan-ocity in me too.

According to the all-knowing & ever accurate Wikipedia, Vulcan's "are noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic with no interference from emotion." Now mind you I'm not ATTEMPTING, it's just been happening. It's most apparent during the holidays. I'm not using "the holidays" as a P.C. term but really do mean the holidays as in: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, Independence Day, and even vacations. As the years go by I just don't see the point of all of the hoopla. I want to celebrate each holiday and remember it's meaning but why must those be the days you MUST spend with family, you MUST decorate your house, you MUST have a generic gift at the ready to give to someone that might give one to you, you MUST have nasty macaroni salad at the bbq before the fire works even though no one eats it because it's gross? It's all illogical.

While I haven't decorated my home for any holiday including Christmas for several years now, my family has been understanding. They see it as, "if you don't wanna, don't." Have I mentioned I LOVE my family? I do however wanna buy them gifts & spend time with them. But with as awesome as my family is, I wanna do that all year 'round. It's not the holiday traditions, it's my family & friends that I want to remember the reason for the holiday with. And here's a shocker: it doesn't have to be one the actual day of the holiday.

My Vulcan bend does have to be knocked down a peg or two from time to time. For instance when I'm sitting out on a pier in beautiful Monterey having a lovely lunch with my amazaing husband while on a road trip celebrating our wedding anniversary, the Vulcan in me starts saying, "Why are you doing this? This money could be better spent? This is illogical. You should be paying bills with the money you're spending on this trip." Shut up Vulcan. What you say is true but this is good for my marriage & it's good for me. Or, when I'm asked what I would like for a birthday or Christmas gift and the Vulcan in me says, "You don't need anything. You've got more that most people in the world could ever dream of. It's not logical for them to buy you a gift". Shut up Vulcan. These people love me & want to show it. The truth is, these things are illogical but they're good for me and the people involved in them with me.

I want to get all gushy over the holidays. I really do. I'd love to get bundled up to brave the chilly 68 degree evening to find the perfect Christmas tree. But I'm just not interested. The Vulcan in me says it's a silly way for me to spend the time, money & stress of putting it up, watering it, taking it down & cleaning up after it. I'm not saying all of this is not logical for all. I'm saying it's not logical for me. I'm just not that sentimental I guess.

Part of the Vulcan way of life that does not apply to me is the lack of emotion. Anyone who knows me can attest to that. But I'm not emotional about holiday traditions for traditions sake.