This is the latest in an occasional series about my favorite pieces of art.
Create. It’s a word that has rolled around in my head and heart for most of my life.
One of my favorite pieces of art in my office reminds me to create. It’s a 6-inch tall, handmade ceramic vase that sits on my desk. Made by artist Beth Mueller, the vase is milky-white and reminds me of vintage milk bottles.
Above the word “create”, a yellow pencil with an eraser draws a wavy line, which could be the start of a sketch, the flourish on a signature, or the doodle of a writer struggling with writers’ block. (Not that that has ever happened to me.)
I found the Create vase about ten years ago at an arts festival. I loved the color and shape of the bottle and the simple style of the word and illustration. I bought it for a friend I love and admire because she is so creative. I just knew she would love it.
I’ve been a writer since I was eight years old, and recently I have developed an eye for outdoor photography—at least iPhone photography. But I can’t paint or sculpt or draw. So, for most of my life, I have not thought of myself as creative, and it has not only made me sad, it has kept me from trying new things to stretch and challenge myself.
Where did that limitation come from? Did someone tell me I’m not creative, or did I compare myself with others and decide I didn’t measure up? No one said it directly but a few people implied it, particularly in college. In addition, I have compared myself to others at times, and it always makes me feel worse. Comparison leads to discontent with and ingratitude for what you have. And it can make your own gifts seem small.
I never sent the vase to my friend. I gave her something else instead, and I’m glad. I have realized, finally, that I can let a meaningless message in my head define and limit me, or I can get on with growing creatively.
This whimsical piece of art is a reminder and an encouragement to do just that.
Is there something you believe about yourself that has limited you from stepping out or stopped you from growing? What do you think you should do about it? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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