Friday, November 30, 2012

Grief and Creativity

I have to be honest, I am baffled and mesmerized by the artists that seem to thrive on grief and turmoil. These days, I'm actually envious of them. Back in September, my beloved cat Mitzie was diagnosed with cancer in her jaw. My creativity immediately took a hit. I was okay with that, because I devoted my time and attention to her. Spending as much time with her as I could, and taking care of her as she declined.

When we had to say goodbye to her on November 18th, my creativity vanished entirely. I've barely stepped foot in my studio, except to grabbed random items needed elsewhere. Mitzie was part of our family for seventeen and a half years. Nearly half of my life.

My artwork is nearly always positive and happy. I don't like make sad pieces. I generally have no desire to put a piece out into the world that makes other people sad. Maybe that's why when times of great stress or in this case overwhelming sadness come, I don't want to create. I don't want to create artwork from grief, because I feel like it would intensify the feelings too much. I'm already a mess. I don't want to delve deeper into the abyss, because I don't want to get lost in it!

I know that eventually my desire to create will return. It always has. Though I have to admit, this is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. I miss her terribly, and have thought of doing memorial pieces for her. My fear is that I will never be able to be satisfied with what I create for her. She was perfect, and it would be hard to live up to that in creating a piece about her.

For now, I will spend what time I can with our other kitty Molly, who is also seventeen and a half. I will try not to worry about her. I will try and let my creative self heal, and come back. Until then, give your furry family members some love for me.


  1. Hi Hon, It's still hard for me to think of my dear furry friends who are gone. And I likewise probably wouldn't try to make a "memorial" piece -- I remember them well. Just be patient. When the joy of working begins to tempt you, go back into the studio and do a little something. Or, do some work in a sketchbook -- something no one sees -- to express some of that sadness without worrying about bringing someone down. Hang in there. Love, JS

  2. I understand where you are at. It may sound trite but things do get better. .. . give yourself time.

    Sending quilty hugs to you & Molly.

    Sherry V.

  3. So sad, Stephanie... I had a cat for 18 years that was my shadow. I would work on something in the living room and he was there, sitting on a chair with his feet tucked under him, eyes closed. I would move to the kitchen and do stuff there and look over, and there he was, same Buddha pose and I never noticed him move from one room to the other. At the end of his life, he died of kidney failure and it was so hard. He went into a coma and I held him and cried all night and I called the vet and she said that he might be like that for days as some animals just don't want to leave. It was awful and I felt so bad for him, so I took him in. That was about 9 years ago and I still miss him. His name was similar to your cat, Mitchka.

    This year, I lost one of my dogs to cancer. She was fine, then she peed black and quit eating and was dead within a month. She was my heart. I still have two dogs and love them both, but each one has its special place and it never goes away, no matter how many years pass. At least for me it's like that. I can't imagine living without them, even knowing that their life span is so much shorter than ours.

    Somehow, their spirits make their way into the art, too. C.S. Lewis, theologian and famed for the Narnia tales, was a huge advocate for animals. He felt that if they give us so much meaning and pleasure here on earth, they will surely be with us in the afterlife. I don't know what you believe about these things, but it's something that gives me some comfort.

    All I know is that it is an honor to know them and to have walked on this earth with them. Eventually, we too shall pass, and hopefully those that remember us will also remember that some four legged creatures shaped our path, too. Be at peace!

  4. I feel for you, having lost a special companion cat last year after twenty years. I still miss her although I now live with two crazy kittens. Not replacements just the need for furry friends. My work did suffer without my muse and I hope at least one of the kittens will become a textile artist !