I spent a couple hours in the kitchen last night cooking this soup. While measuring out the spices, chopping the vegetables and sipping a rather nice glass of Shiraz, I spent a bit of time thinking about art, crafting and my creative process.
Have you heard of Zen cooking? Lynne Rosetto Casper, my Saturday cooking buddy, discussed this a bit recently. Essentially it means you get so into the recipe, the ingredients, the flavors, that you enjoy the process more than the food. You cook to cook, not to eat. I felt that way last night.
It’s kind of like being the “zone” with exercise. Every now and then, I pull on my running shoes, stretch my hamstrings and find myself smiling while making my way down the dusty canal. The wind whips by, the birds chirp and the stars align to create the sort of run that you won’t soon forget. You are fast and it seems effortless.
I’ve rarely found this in crafting. While the monotony of knitting is meditative, I’m never without worry that I have, or will, drop a stitch. Sewing is a bit stressful too. I’m terrible at patterns. I try and try and then try again, but ultimately, I have to see someone do something to master it myself. My seam ripper is getting dull.
I don’t think I’ll find the zen of art + craft until I slow down and remember what it is I love about being at my sewing machine. Is it the end product, or the process? Why create 15 wristlets with sloppy zippers when one perfect pouch incorporating a new technique would make my heart soar? Less is more.
Like I said, soup and pondering. And maybe a bit too much wine.