Zooty Owl's Crafty Blog

Colourful Crochet, Craft, Cooking, and Contemplations

Thursday, 6 August 2020

The Path to Creativity

It was around the time of my fourth birthday. 

My father locked me in one of the outbuildings, in the cold and dark.  I scratched my legs until they bled.   In the morning mom fetched me into the house after he left for work.  She had to catch a train soon after as at that stage she earned twice as much as he did (mom was very clever and I think that was another reason he loved to degrade her).   

Our housekeeper, Gladys, arrived just before mom left and carried me next door to my Nanna.  My Oupa had already left for work.   Nanna bathed and dressed my legs and tried to get me to tell her what was wrong.  I just told her I was scared of the dark.

 My grandparents knew there was something wrong so they called the District Surgeon (the police doctor) who told them I was just ,"high strung," (over sensitive I suppose). Half a century ago not even medical professionals recognised the signs of abuse.

My Nanna started teaching me to knit, great granny came to visit and taught me to crochet and Oupa took me shopping and bought me whatever crafty goodies I wanted.  The methodical counting and concentrating on my knitting and crochet tension soothed me.  I started counting through being locked in the dark and later being beaten.   I started knitting and crocheting obsessively.   I was good at it and even then I could make pretty things.

My great gran's youngest sister was an artist and she would show me how to paint when she visited.  (She and my uncle died in a car crash on the way to their holiday home just after she painted this picture)

Mom gave the painting to me a while before she died.

I've enjoyed fabric painting immensely and lately I've taken to acrylic pouring and dyeing my own cottons.

I know that in many ways I was blessed.    I had the best grandparents a girl could hope for.  The lessons they taught me formed my character and really "saved" me.   Even though they were unaware of what was happening until "that" day their kindness and encouragement in many ways balanced out my father's cruelty (does that even make sense).

I started working on weekends and holidays a few months after " that"  day and just before my Oupa started getting sick (cancer).   It was probably just after my 15th birthday, but my life experiences had made me a very mature teenager.  

The fact that I had my own money (a pretty decent amount for a weekend / holiday job) and never had to ask for anything was liberating.   Once I discovered that independence my determination to work myself into a better life became set.   Of couse a good deal of that money was spent on creative pursuits.

I often think about the nurture vs nature question.  Did I turn out to be hardworking and able to express creativity because I spent so much time with "good" people?  

Whatever the answer to that question is, I will forever feel grateful for having had those "good" people in my life.