When Colored Squid Gallery owner, Joyce, reached out to me to lead a Sweaters for Sticks Workshop at her shop, I was initially confused. It was my assumption that the process of wrapping yarn around sticks seemed too basic and boring for anyone to be interested in paying money to do it in public, but she assured me that people would enjoy the opportunity to gather and make something for their homes.
So last week, I led the workshop for a small group, and was delighted to find that Joyce was right! She and the participants taught me much more about the process of wrapping yarn around sticks. The workshop was an opportunity to practice creativity without having too much pressure on technique and outcome. Even better, it was an opportunity to share stories while our hands were busy winding.
I began by sharing the origin of the sticks. They came from an old oak tree that had been rotten throughout its core. It fell violently and dramatically, last fall, in a terrible thunder storm. I was devastated that it fell, but I was delighted that its branches could be repurposed for this project.
We also talked about life’s stages, works, passions, jobs, and passions and how we choose to spend our time here on earth. As we talked about our experiences, we slowed our minds and hearts as our hands kept busy. There was opportunity to listen while we wound, to admire the color combinations of each other’s branches - to notice that the color choices and patterns resemble ourselves. We found joy in this simple experience.
And by the end of the evening, I realized that this Sweater For Sticks Workshop was much more than I had thought it could be. The participants encouraged me to develop it further.
So, I decided to formalize this workshop and make it available to groups of all shapes and sizes. I'm excited to see how it takes shape!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.