Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sore Hands and Rodent Temptation...

I’ve been working SO hard on book illustrations, computer stuff and stitching that my hands are sore and stiff every morning when I wake up. For an artist, there is no greater terror than to have something happen to your hands... and for someone who is now in her 40s, a shadowy specter looms on the horizon for the first time. Will there come a time when I am still mentally alert and physically healthy, but with hands that are no longer able to create things? It didn’t help to find out this summer that my mother’s grandmother, a brilliant knitter, had such severe arthritis that she had to give up everything like that in her early 60s!

I try to give my hands a rest as often as I can. I take small breaks and Nick does a wonderful hand massage, but the fact remains that I am dependent on what these hands are capable of creating and like any other body part or talent, then can get strained. Last night I went to bed wide awake but knowing that my body, and hands especially, needed the rest. “I wish I could clone myself!” I wailed to Nick as I imagined a copy of myself that would stitch quietly through the night. He just shuddered and said “I don’t think so!”

I am lucky enough to have wonderful model stitchers who can help me bring stuff to life, but there are times when I am unsure of a design or it evolves as I am stitching it and needs changes, so those models are ones that I must stitch myself... and I am such a SLOW stitcher.

It has felt like a great defeat somehow to know that Santa’s Dragon won’t be ready for the show in Charlotte. I try not to look back over the last 4 months and wonder where I could possibly have found more time, slept a bit less, stitched a bit more, ignored other things that needed doing to have the model ready and framed by now. Nick reminds me that some things just need a bit more time and that if the design is truly something that I am proud of, which it is, then it will be worth the wait. Thank goodness he is there to ground me in my life!

I woke up early this morning and tiptoed down to the office to work on a few things before I begin another day of stitching and drawing. Reading the Yarn Harlot’s blog for the 21st of July certainly helped!! The way in which she captures the angst of writing could certainly describe creating art as well. The silly things that others imagine about life as an artist or needlework designer do apply as well. Self Doubt? Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that I face that same demon, I just may not describe it as well as she does.

Amid all of this chaos, pre-show panic, Nick getting ready for yet another conference this week and life in general, a little furry rodent temptation has been thrown our way. We stopped by the pet store where we’d bought our dwarf hamster Wuffles, who though old and creaky is still fine, and discovered that there is a batch of baby midnight black dwarf hamsters that will be old enough to go home with owners in just over a week!! They are just ADORABLE!! Barely an inch and a half long, these little furry bundles were zipping about the cage playing tag as my daughters let out super sonic squeals at their cuteness and reminded me that we have an empty cage now....

My head and heart are a bit more practical than that. Perhaps I am not ready to replace Jellybean so quickly, especially right before we go away, even though we have a fellow dwarf hamster owner to look after them. We will go back in a week or so and see if any of the males seem really friendly. I have told the girls not to count on getting one.... and yet little names like Soot, Midnight, Shadow etc. are already rumbling at the back of my brain.

4 comments:

Cherylann said...

I am looking forward to Santa's Dragon and know it will be worth the wait. Can't wait to see the final product, especially if it exactly how you want it to appear. Besides I have several of your designs that I need to stitch before this one. Best of luck and enjoy your trip to Charlotte!

Pam B said...

You sound as bad as me. Every time I come home with a new pet for one of my boys my husband looks me straight in the eye and asks "who wanted the new animal?" I fear most of our pets are of the scaley features because boys aren't into cute that much but we have two hamsters, a bearded dragon and a dog right now. We have had fish, turtles, water frogs and a snake before.

Mire said...

I can hardly wait to see Santa's Dragon (fantasy and the holdays, two of my favorite themes!), but we all know perfection takes time...

How about a virtual hamster to play with? I just found a kinda cute one here: http://bunnyherolabs.com/adopt/customize.php?mc=hamster.swf

monique said...

I've been suffering from sore stitching hands/wrists and my mother suggested witch hazel. turns out it works! just dab it onto the sore spots.

I'll be watching for a pic of the new baby! :)