Creativity and Depression

Source: Creativity and depression… do they bother you? — SewCanShe | Free Daily Sewing Tutorials

SewCanShe is a great blog and tutorial site that I follow and would totally recommend for any sewists! But this post was a bit more personal and one that I really appreciated. I suffer from Clinical Depression and creativity (of lack of) is something that I spend quite a lot of time thinking about.

The post above and its comments mention sewing projects as a source of creativity and a bit of everyday hopefulness for people suffering through depressive times. I can definitely relate to this. Sometimes, just picking up a simple bit of hand-sewing and completing just *something* for the day can mean the difference between writing-off the day and salvaging something positive and hopeful. I think as well that the attention demanded of making something can be so helpful in re-focussing thoughts away from sorrowful or anxiety-inducing spirals.

Ballet, as well, has been and continues to be an absolute life-line for me. Again, for me, it is the quality of attention that must be paid in class that brings relief for me. If I can find the heart to just get there, to turn up and turn out, I know that for the next hour and half I won’t be at war with myself.

However going through depression and related issues can often mean that creativity grinds to a halt. I often feel overwhelmed by the thought of beginning any kind of project and a profound lack of creative energy and imagination. It is a real problem for me as my occupation as a graduate student means that writing is central to what I do – and I often feel absolutely unable to write.

I think there’s a bit  of a culturally-imagined image of the depressed or “mad” person somehow harbouring a special kind of creative energy or the ability to  create wonderful things out of darkness. No doubt many celebrated creative people have had mental health issues. But I find this assumption quite damaging. For me, depression is a very barren place and I really do feel the pressure of not being able to function or create.

I would love to hear people about their own creative lives. Have you found any ways to access your own creative energy through the dark times?

Dancing in the Dark. (photo: Erwin Olaf)

Dancing in the Dark.
(photo: Erwin Olaf)

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Dancing and Sewing

So it’s not a great photo but here’s my SAB skirt, made from the super fab tutorial from Adult Beginner!

Ballet selfie/belfie!

Ballet selfie/belfie!

It’s such a good tutorial, really easy to follow. The skirt makes you feel like your legs are a zillion miles long!

I’ve made a couple of longer ones in different fabrics for a friend, and have plans to make a mid thigh/knee-length one for twirly twirly purposes. I totally love this super short one for ballet though, the way it hangs feels so flattering.

A Canvas Rant

So you know I got some nice canvas shoes…

I’m still wearing my battered and laddered and grimy satin slippers.

This is why:

I CAN’T SEW MY CANVAS SHOES.

The backs keep slipping off my heels, which is a pain in the arse and also makes me feel like I’m going to go flying every time I attempt any turn. I have to pull them down when I’m waiting to go across the floor which is about as elegant as picking your leotard out of your bum.

This problem could be rectified if canvas slippers, like satin ones, came with elastics you could sew on yourself.

WHY DON’T THEY?

Do people really hate sewing that much? Do they retain it on satin slippers cos it’s somehow olde worlde dainty ballerina? I would have thought people were used to having to sew elastics and anyway everyone needs to do it for pointe shoes. So why just bang them on canvas slippers when everyone needs to adjust their shoes slightly for their own feet?

I’m going to have a go at unpicking and re-stitching, but I’m afraid that this may kill it rather than cure it…

Sorry for all the CAPS but it’s driving me mad. I love sewing and I love the fact I can fit my shoes to my feet perfectly. I also loved the line the canvas shoes, which were Bloch’s fancy-fancy stretch ones, gave my feet.

Back to lovely satin slippers. I’m well overdue for a shiny new pair!

Nymoooo

I want to to tell you all about Nymo. Because it’s brilliant.

It’s super-strong, silky thread which is used for beading and bead embroidery. It’s great to work with, you can get it for about a quid off Ebay or at a craft or bead shop (Beadworks in London – handily situated near all the dance shops in Covent Garden!) and it comes in all the colours. I was stitching with ivory which I happened to have from embroidery, until my cat stole and hid it. I’m now waiting for an order of soft pink to come through the post.

I use it all the time to sew my elastics onto my flats.  When I got my pointe shoes (Oh-ho. More about that later.) and had to sew my ribbons and laccys I really didn’t fancy using dental floss. Maybe the best ballerinas in the world have minty-fresh pointe stitching, but use weird coated plastic stuff which I don’t even own when a specialist haberdashery product exists?!? Oh nono.