The Reluctant Artist

I’m not artistic. I’m not crafty. I am not the kind of person who writes blogs for a crafting website.

I teach Junior High English, History, and Bible at a tiny private school. Before that, I worked as a freelance writer for various blogs and publications. Writing is what I do. If I ever wanted to make something, I did it with words. Not with my hands.

I’ve always had a deep admiration for art and a deep admiration for the people that make it. My wife is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met in this regard. I took a few art classes in college and familiarized myself with some of the great pieces of artwork and the great artists, but no matter how much I tried, I never found something that I could do well. I never even found a type of art that was fun for me.

The table I made Beth.

That started changing a few years ago when I was forced to learn how to fix a few things around our house. Our home is over 100 years old and as you might expect from anything that old, it needs a lot of love. I learned how to fix and install toilets, sinks, shelves, flooring, walls, and more.

Suddenly, I found myself looking for projects to do and things to fix. I built an end table for my wife. I was exploring woodworking blogs and actually using Pinterest. It was fun. And I found myself wanting to make a lot of new stuff. Turning wood was especially interesting, and I eventually found myself buying a used wood lathe at a yard sale my childhood church had over the summer.

I’m still a teacher. I love teaching others and the fact that we are all so different and approach learning and complex tasks in unique ways makes this a great challenge. But as a teacher, I also find myself thinking, “how can I help others learn woodworking skills?” I’m definitely not a pro here, but one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. As I launch my YouTube channel, I’m finding that it’s pushed me to want to learn more and to make sure that the things I think I know are actually correct. It’s awesome and scary and fun all at the same time.

My first pen. It now sits on Beth’s worktable.

I’m still reluctant to call myself an artist, even if Beth says that I must. I think that this is a title that would be disrespectful to other artists if I bestowed it upon myself. But I also think that we need to realize that we’re capable of so much more than what we currently are doing. I never thought that I would make something that someone else would voluntarily want to put on display in their home. It was a surprise when I received that validation from someone else that I had a talent or skill that was worthwhile to them. It encouraged me to grow.

Outside validation isn’t necessary, though. If there’s something that you enjoy in the crafting world, it’s worth pursuing. You have that interest for a reason. Our interests (along with talent, experience, background, etc.) are part of what makes each of us unique. You might just find that you have this specific interest for a reason, and that it brings you and others great joy as you explore the gifts and talents that you’ve been given.

  -Matt-

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