I'm approaching graduation now, scurrying to write my final papers on the Psalms, Keats' poetry, and the cultural events I've attended throughout the semester, some of which have been an amazing lecture given by Dr. Michael Ward on Lewis' Narnian series, David Hirson's play La Bete, and scenes from Thomas Cranmer written by Charles Williams for the Canterbury Festival.
But, lectures and papers aside--well, I'll stop there, because that is something I've been tempted to do these past weeks: scrap the school work for sewing and painting. I've got some old clothes I want to reconstruct when I get home--you know, making alterations such as adding a bodice to a skirt to make a dress, bleaching designs into solid tee-shirts, or even just salvaging the fabric and making a whole new garment or pillow or quilt. Reconstructing old clothes is something that's all too easily lost when it's cheaper and faster to get something new rather than rework what we already have. But with the ease of buying factory-made clothes, we lose an opportunity to exercise our creativity and our minds.
As for painting, I've recently started Japanese brush painting and have been painting birds and rabbits and fish and trees as much as I can. It's such an exercise in distilling the complicated network of muscle and movement and texture down to a few strokes which still must convey the animal. Sometimes my birds don't look like birds and my carp rarely look like carp, but I still love the process of grinding the ink stick and mixing it with water and experimenting with all the strokes of which the brush is capable.