I broke my heart this morning. Not on purpose. I grabbed my phone and charger in a rush to get out of the house on time because, you know, always running late. The cord yanked it off the ledge and plopped it straight to the floor. Broke in three pieces, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and… I threw my phone into my bag, picked up the pieces, and put them back on the window ledge. I didn’t even think twice about it. Had this occurred last month, I might have cried. I would’ve overthought the implications. It broke into thirds. The petals of a flower fell off. The thorns on the vine were fine. But what awful thing awaits, the day after St. Valentine’s Day? My literary brain overanalyzes everything.
That might have been the case before I even made it. The heart. But once I decided to grit my teeth and sign up for an online craft retreat over Zoom (despite how I HATE online meetings now), I paid my money and waited for my package and February 5th. One of my favorite bloggers and artists, Kathy Cano Murillo, known as the Crafty Chica, hosted a mini-retreat to create five Mexican-inspired crafts. She’s in Arizona, I’m in Texas. Zoom is the closest I can get to participating.
She sent supplies for all of the crafts, one being a clay heart. We rolled, sculpted, trimmed, and shaped while asking questions and learning about techniques for using terra cotta colored air dry clay. It got messy and I loved it. While it wasn’t (isn’t) an artist quality piece, everything stayed intact. If all else fails, she suggested gluing pieces back in case they break or fall off during the drying process.
I was proud of myself. Everything dried well. I planned to paint it this weekend, to get the gist of it. My preferred medium is the written word. I stepped out of my comfort zone while comfortably crafting in my home where no one could see what I created. Advanced crafters and artists attended. My art skills sit at around those of third graders. Not a joke.
The point was to play and learn something new. I repeated this to myself multiple times. I knew many of the pieces wouldn’t turn out well and I breathed in and accepted that-not an easy feat. Kathy mentioned how sometimes you get “the first batch of cookies” when you make something new. As you keep practicing, it gets better. My daughter snagged the leftover hunk of clay, so I only had one shot. I wouldn’t have enough to make another.
The day continued with sewing a heart pillow with a pocket on the back featuring her new fabric. I have hand-sewn before, but this was my first time for a blanket stitch. It took three sets of turquoise colored thread before I finished. Somehow I managed to tangle the thread useless and thought I’d have to patch up the final stitches in a completely different color. I haven’t completed the final step: writing an intention on a slip of paper and tucking it into the pocket to save for next year.
The matchbox tins seemed easy until I tried to “emboss” a simple shape onto the back of a piece of a Bud Light can. With the right tool, it might have been easier. I managed. Painting on wood earrings seemed easy. The flaming heart didn’t look at all like a flame. I attempted to create my own pattern at the top and wound up with what resembled blotchy Texas bluebonnets. I didn’t put the earrings together; I doubt I’ll wear them.
We ended the afternoon with a mini-journal. This was the easiest of the projects since I’ve been making and teaching kids how to make their own journals for years. I didn’t expect an online retreat to be so enjoyable. Fortunately, I wasn’t required to leave my camera on, but we still experienced those group meeting glitches from the early online meeting days: microphones on, talking to the boss during the break, pinning the speaker, co-hosting… Overall, I’d do it all again.
My heart broke, but it’s more of a burnt cookie I’ll toss into the garbage. I kept the template and I have ideas on small pieces I’ll try making and painting. I ordered two tubs of the air dry clay. It arrived yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. Just in time to replace my broken heart.