Every Wednesday afternoon in Adelaide my mother with several other women go to Crystal’s house to work on their beading projects. Crystal, a designer of ornate jewelry, hosts these afternoons not as social occasions, but as a way for women to make a commitment to their creativity within a busy lifestyle. “It’s a way for women to stop putting themselves last on their to do list,” she says. “Women are great at nurturing those around them, but not so great at nurturing the need to express themselves.”
Now you might think that’s all well and good for a bunch of mostly retired women amidst tea and biscuits to get together and sew beads on handbags and thread Swarovski crystals onto lace necklaces in the middle of the afternoon, but what of the younger generation?
To friends my age, it’s equally appealing. Whether it’s the friend who bought some fabric to make a skirt last year and it’s now this year and there’s still no skirt; or another friend inspired by a short introduction course to glass blowing whose inspiration is still stuck in the classroom; or myself who buys endless cookbooks but can’t seem to find the time, energy or space to make any of the recipes manifest in the real world so live vicariously through the pictures of the finished product.
Time dedicated to creative pursuits is an out and out luxury.
Crystal says beading is not so much about a creative outlet where at the end of the process you get a beautiful object. Rather it’s the process – not what you actually make – where the fulfillment lies. “And the human contact that comes from the ancient way of sitting in a circle also helps women get in touch with their life force,” she explains. So rather than seeing our creative pursuits as time taking, we need to see them as life giving. And life saving.