I had the opportunity to meet Amanda from On The Craft through a blogging network on Facebook. I absolutely love her outlook on crafting and the philosophy that goes behind what makes people like myself and many of the other Handmade Holiday businesses you will read about tick. Please welcome her as my FIRST guest blogger (and hopefully not the last!!) as she shares about her space. I’m sure you can relate.
This is about intention. It’s about symbolism. It’s about looking past what something is to be able to get at what it does to you.
There was never a doubt in my mind that when I had a home of my own I would have my own space; a place to work and create. It was always my intention. What I didn’t know was that adorning it with an ugly yellow couch that I love very much would become part of that intention.
Intention, the way my friend Carmen uses it in her Prespective, got me thinking about this post. It’s aboutness. I disagree that intention is different from intentionality the way Eastern Philosophy uses the term. Living with intention is most certainly to live about something. It is intenionality and aboutness alike.
My lot in blogging-life is to lay the framework for how to craft a space meaningful. Your space is your nest, your house, a room, a closet…wherever you choose, but the point is to create it in a way that speaks to you when you’re in it.
My space is the loft. I would’ve chosen it even if it didn’t become mine by default, out of lack of space anywhere else. The reason is: it’s above and it’s open. When I write and do what I do when I’m making, I have a sense of elevation up there. It’s like I’m floating above everything else and I look down on it from above.
I don’t have a traditional desk because I wanted a mirror in front of me when I write. I have a vanity that my husband got me. I wanted to be able to look myself in the eye when I’m hard-pressed for the right words. I reign myself back in to what really matters when I question my motives.
I have a set of bookshelves from my parents and a corner cupboard handed down because it needed a home. I keep the books that keep me going there. They’re the ones that blew me away and made me decide I’d like to try to do the same someday. I also keep the things that remind me who I am and where I come from there. The mile markers and smile makers that proved I lived and I had fun.
The window overlooks the woods. The shades are never drawn. Thinking about what’s going on behind all those trees reminds me of possibility and potential. It poses questions that sometimes turn into stories when I answer them.
On the sill is a blue bird. Because, well, everyone’s got a bird, right?
There isn’t really one thing I allowed in that space that didn’t mean something to me. That was my intention when creating it, so when I decided I needed somewhere comfortable to soak up rather than spit out, I was hard-pressed to find one that was going to fit into the theme of meaningfulness. It was just a couch I was looking for, afterall.
Suffice it to say, I succeeded in dragging home the ugliest, yellow-ist, most meaningful couch that ever was.
It came from a tag sale and it was half priced. I was told, when my husband came to help my dad…and the neighbor…move it, that whatever I paid was that much too much for it. I knew better.
Retro is a poor synonym and vintage doesn’t hold a candle to the thing. It’s a roll-away bed disguised in mustard-yellow tweed and weighs something bordering on obscene. But it spoke to me. It came with a story even though I’d never know it.
You’ll see an afghan over the back NRT made for me in teal sparkley yarn. It’s scratchy, but the pattern is pretty, it puts her in the room with me and it reminds me of the ocean because that’s the place from which I returned when she gave it to me.
The couch has a secret and a past. It’s a place to sit, but it’s also a place to go and wonder who spun stories in their head there before me. I think of how many books it saw read and conversations it overheard and how many dinners were eaten from it.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, parts of the past get forgotten. That’s not good or bad, usually, but that’s how it goes and I don’t know for sure that we have any say in the matter. We don’t have the power to stop them when they go.
I create spaces meaningful on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose. That’s, perhaps, the best way I can think of to live with intention. Find the purpose and live it. That gives life meaning.
When we outlive certain memories, it’s kind of like the couch. We’re here, but part of what made us what we are isn’t even a memory anymore and we have to do the same thing I do when I fantasize about the history of the ugly yellow thing in my loft; only guess.
Use what you have. Create with what you know. The intention is to craft your place ; your niche in the world. Despite what any of them tell you, yes, it’s absolutely ok to make the rest up.
My name is Amanda Casto. I’m from Akron, OH and I’m a wife to Scott, mom to Elise and Jack and a Philosopher (according to the University of Texas at Arlington). I work in the Courts by trade. My grandmother changed my life when I was four and taught me how to knit.
Please check out Amanda at On the Craft!