Apparently, I am good at beading with a loom. In just about a day, I finished two 6 inch strips of loom bead work in five colors using a design I created. And they look GOOD! I very rarely get a chance to pick up a new hobby and find I am good at it from the beginning. Over the past few years, though, I have to say I have tried many new things that I have always been interested in but only had the guts to attempt recently. For instance, I have always been a self-proclaimed Queen of Stick Figures even though several members of my family are incredible artists. Just before I turned 30, I picked up a book about figure sketching and found out that I am not half bad at pencil sketches. It takes me a long time and nothing I have done is worthy of being displayed, but I can confidently say that my sketches often look recognizably like the subject I was using as a model. Strangely enough, my style is eerily familiar to that of my sisters and mother. Maybe it's like a family whose handwriting is all similar?
So, after I tried (and succeeded) at creating a few pencil drawings, I branched out a bit and tried drawing things from my mind instead of from a photograph or a model. The results have been...less than stellar. Actually they have been just short of embarrassing. Also, I found I was better at plain pencil than I was at using colored pencil, pastels, or paint. That was a little odd to me, because some thing I DO know I am good at is coloring. I can fill in colors and shade and chose complimentary palettes and all sorts of stuff, as long as I don't have to start with a blank page. Plain white paper makes me nervous, I guess, and inhibits part of my creative flow. I can ink in pencil drawing (Oh...you trace...) so I would probably make a great addition to some comic book artist team, as long as I didn't have to create all the art myself. Interesting, no?
Besides coloring, inking, and pencil sketching, I have found over the last few years that I enjoy working with cloth and yarn. I grew up watching my mother sew and make all sorts of things. She has some amazing costume work that she completed for the local Renaissance Faires. At least one of her gowns is made from multi colored brocade and beaded with semi-precious gem stones from neck line to hemline (it weighs several pounds) and is intricate enough that it could go in a museum. Naturally, I assumed that I would be at least passable at sewing, too. No way. I can sometimes pull off a straight enough seam to maybe make a pillow case that isn't totally even, but anything more complicated than that, and I have to call in the Cavalry (that, of course, would be my incredibly talented Husband who makes me sick with how easy all this stuff is for him.)
I mentioned that I am good with yarn, and that is basically true. I braid, and crochet, and knit, and finger weave pretty well. I don't do it nearly as much as I would like to because gripping the yarn can be hard on my fingers and hands. I have a few projects that I am working on, though, and I pick one of them up when I am feeling good and I work on it until my hands get tired and I move on to something else. I have thousands of ideas on projects and color combos and designs,though, and I know that if my arms would just cooperate I might be able to be a successful and prolific crafter.
One thing I would LOVE to be able to do but I have not the space or tools, is woodwork. It is a combination of sculpting and building with wood. Laugh if you want. The image of a rather round, short, and clumsy female wearing goggles and turning blocks of wood into cuckoo clocks IS pretty comical. I love to do it, though. I used to help my dad when I was younger with creating wood projects all the time. I love the way it feels to sand something so smooth you can hardly tell it used to be rough wood. Measuring (twice) and cutting (once) so that the blocks fit together, just so and creating useful and beautiful projects is always something that makes me smile. I can linger in the wooden section of the craft store for hours, walking along running my hands over the wood, imagining how they would look finished, sanded, maybe stained or painted. Unfortunately, this is one of those things that I will have to put off for awhile longer, at least until we have our own home again with a garage and a work room. Maybe then, I can have the space and freedom to turn the blocks of wood I see into bowls, pens, crochet hooks, knitting needles, and anything else my imagination creates.
So, the moral of the story? Try, try again. If you have never done something and it interests you, pick up a starter kit or borrow some supplies from someone you know. It could be that you realize all your interests were completely unbased in reality. However, you might just find out that you are better at something than you knew you could be.
Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was in her seventies. Before she died, she created more than 3600 pieces and was recognized world wide for her skill and talent. Someone asked her once, why didn't she start painting before her retirement years. Her answer? That she just never tried before. Can you imagine what would have been different had she picked up a paintbrush 20 or even 40 years sooner?