Mending Mi Broken Corazón

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”

Neil Gaiman

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an online craft retreat I paid for, attended over Zoom, and didn’t skip. It was what my heart needed. What my life needed. A little productive distraction doing something completely out of my comfort zone. After all, I credit myself with art skills of a third grader, if that. I’m not that great. I’ve read about creativity and doing something other than what you already do to express yourself. You get more ideas and it helps your craft. In my case, writing. My thoughts on that are on the March 7th post, Building Creative Stromboli.

Life, as it’s currently happening, competes with craft projects. I needed to allow the clay piece to dry over a few days. It did. I moved it to another location, to keep it safe. It wasn’t safe enough. I knocked it over and it broke in three pieces. I didn’t throw my adult tantrum. I picked up the pieces, sighed, and mumbled, “Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I can make another one.”

My son reminded me about the Mandalorian’s helmet. Beskar steel was used to mend it when it was broken. It became part of the helmet, part of him. It was much stronger, reinforced at the weak points, part of the art it once was making it into something new. Holding on to its originality. He took a look at my broken project after I mentioned I’d probably throw it away or glue it together with Tacky glue so it wouldn’t be too obvious.

“You know Mom, if it’s obvious, then it makes it that much better. You can see what it was supposed to be, but if you use something else, like glitter glue, it will be different and it becomes part of what you want it to be.” Whoa. Nerds beget nerds, but I can’t take credit for this one. And, hello, glitter!

Red glitter glue resembles blood. Oof.

Determined to paint the thing, I repaired it, first with almost dried out craft glue (it had been that long since I’d used it), then with almost empty tubes of glitter glue. I used the paint from the craft kit and got it painted. Lesson(s) learned: you do need to use good paint brushes. And have a good idea of the colors you choose. Maybe practice on another surface ahead of time. Almost dried glue applied with a toothpick doesn’t create a strong bond. Red glitter glue looks like blood.

Not too shabby.

I worked at my end of the kitchen table, covering it with poster board I use and re-use for making messes. I noticed random sketches from our beginning-of-the-pandemic flurry of craft projects to keep us busy. I haphazardly painted, knowing this isn’t something I’ll be holding on to much longer. I wanted it finished along with the experience of painting something other than walls. By that, I mean a fresh coat of interior house paint, nothing interesting or fancy like a mural. I worked quickly because ‘tween wanted to take over.

Finished! It still has a weak spot, but there’s no Beskar steel at Michael’s.

I worked in phases and finished it. I made plenty of mistakes, but my intention was the experience more than the end product. It got me thinking. If we mess up on something, no need to toss it. We keep what’s good. Aren’t we human art works? Our bodies mend themselves with new cells to heal wounds. Our lives mend themselves with experiences we live through to figure things out. Sometimes we can’t start over, but we can mend. We can use what we have to put things back together. We may not use glitter glue or Beskar steel, but whatever we choose makes us unique. There is beauty in the art of being human and it’s supposed to be there.

March 23, 2022

Mi Crafty Corazón

Mi Corazón quebrado

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.

Work in progress

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.

Little Intentions Pillow

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.

Tin Matchbox Shrines

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.

Mini Journal

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.