Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. Maya Angelou

On Saturday, I attended the Cranberry Christmas Market hosted by the Mississauga Arts Council. To be part of the creative community is wonderful, and humbling. At the table beside us, a craftsman was selling wooden spoons and forks made using an axe and knives.

At another table, a gentleman was selling hand-made wooden pens and he included the story behind the wood in each pen. I bought one, and it is from a 250-300-year-old black oak that stood beside the rose garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. I like the story as much as the pen, but the pen is wonderful to hold and write with. There were hand-crafted items of all sorts, jewelry, soap, hand-dyed yarn, decorative items, knitting, art, and books, and I’m sure I’ve left out some. Choirs entertained us and incredible musicians played chamber music. At our table, we were three authors representing the Mississauga Writers Group.

The craftsmanship in the items on display was amazing; one of the reasons to visit these markets is to get an idea of the array of crafts other people are creating. We might see something we want to purchase, but also items we would like to create. When there is a story behind an item it is more impactful to me, than if it is just the item.

The blankets I knit at Mom’s will be treasured because of the story behind them more than the craftsmanship, but when we make things there is a story behind each one. It might not be a story that would grab someone else, but when we look at the item we will be brought back to what we were doing and our mindset when we made it.

It’s no good being too easily swayed by people’s opinions. You have to believe in yourself. Donatella Versace

Creativity is a gift we give ourselves. I watch my daughter and grandson paint and the object is not what he creates, he loves the doing. Sometimes we think the treasure is the object we create, but the real treasure is what being creative does for us.

On Friday, we had a girls-night at a friend’s house and she showed us slippers she’s knitting for her family. What a lovely thought everyone will be wearing hand-knit slippers, knit by their mom, grandma, sister, or mother-in-law. What a special Christmas this will be, and how precious will those little slippers be as a keep-sake for her twp-and-a-half-year-old grandson? She also showed us a scarf she’s been knitting for her daughter, fine knitting, with beautiful yarn. It is truly a labor of love.

A fellow author at our table crocheted star bookmarks. What a lovely idea and one I might copy. The other author at our table has kept the blankets she made for her children and wishes she’d kept the sweaters knit for them by her mother. Often we are cleaning up, getting rid of what is no longer being worn, and we don’t think of the treasure we put in the bag to be given away or thrown out. We all probably have items we’ve given away or thrown out we’d love to have back, because of the story behind them.

If I’m lucky, I will get to knit more items at Mom’s, and help her finish her last quilt. If Mom hadn’t taught me to crochet on my last visit, I would look at the crocheted bookmarks as a great idea, but not one I would create myself.

Being crafty has pitfalls, we need to find a repository for what we create, or we might become overwhelmed by our creations. The more we create the more we want to create, and I’ve wondered how some authors are so prolific but now I know, they love writing, and when they finish one project they start another one, and over time it adds up.

I’m not sure it matters what we create, what is most important is we find some form of creativity that feeds our soul, and if we end up making a little money at it, so much the better.

If we can’t use creativity up, the more we do, the more we can do, and the more we want to do, are we as creative as we want to be? Is there a creative project we’d love to start, what’s holding us back?

Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working. Henri Matisse

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. Mary Lou Cook

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Books written by members of the Mississauga Writers Group at the event: