The Art of Trying Something New
You would have thought I was signing up for a trip to Mars. That’s how hard it was for me to pull the trigger and take the leap. But with all the courage I could muster, palms sweating, I bravely put myself out there and clicked “register.” And with that, I was officially enrolled in the Stained Glass Wind Chimes Weekend Workshop.
As a part of my Re-Feathered Nest quest, I decided I wanted to learn something new. I have always been interested in creative arts – my family is full of artists – but never thought I had the skills. I vividly remember being terrified whenever I was assigned the arts & crafts station when volunteering in my kids’ classrooms. Even though I am a graphic designer by trade, using my hands to make something seemed so far out of reach.
But, I did it anyway. It was very intimidating to go to a new place, alone, and sit among strangers. I read and re-read the instructions multiple times, and took a deep breath as I walked into the studio. I sat down next to a pleasant-looking woman and nervously waited. There were several people navigating the room with ease and talking like old friends. Wait, is this the advanced class?! I felt like a complete outsider. But then the teacher started speaking, so I hunkered down. It was a whirlwind of picking out glass (I had commitment issues), setting up my workspace, and handling things that were completely foreign to me, like hand drills and scorers and nippers. During those four hours, I never got the hang of scoring the glass, but I did master drilling – the moment I made that first hole, I triumphantly whispered “I did it!” which made the pleasant lady laugh.
In the end, my finished product looked like wind chimes but didn’t actually chime, with glass that I basically found pre-cut in the bin. After class, I got in the car and sent a photo to my husband and kids, and was showered with praise, even though I knew it kinda sucked.
Emboldened, I decided to take things a step further and sign up for an 8-week class in mosaics. Again, my nerves took hold being in unfamiliar territory. Luckily, everyone in the class is lovely and we have developed a lively banter. And I have become more confident.
I started with this beauty, which was supposed to be a trivet featuring a sun in the sky, but ended up being more grout than glass. My teacher told me, “Let’s see if you can take what you learned and do better.” And sure enough, I did!
Here is my next almost-finished project (just needs grouting). I hand drew the design and then spent weeks hunting through the supply closets for materials. I have loved every minute of it, and am feeling pretty proud of this one. Next up, I am tackling Kilnforming – vases and bowls and jewelry – I can’t wait.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, it can be scary to tackle a new skill – but what a great payoff! As moms, it’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget the importance of finding something new that’s just for us, that allows us to reconnect with ourselves and refresh our souls. Now that I have graduated from the said grind, I am finding new ways to refill my nest that are both exciting and challenging – and the best part – everyone will be thrilled to know they will be getting homemade gifts for years to come!