I am delighted to introduce Gra Gacek who is the talented owner of Crossstitchtheline - a wonderful Etsy shop (click here)
Doodling on squared paper as a young child was just the start of her creativity - her mother taught her cross stitch, and she has been designing her own projects since her teens. Much of her work starts with pen on paper - 'It may be just the child in me still wanting to colour in little squares, .... It has to be handmade, it has to take patience and time and dedication.'
In answer to the question 'why do we create', Gra says....
I have always loved crafts. My mother was very creative herself and instilled the love of it in all of us. These days, my young daughter and I can easily sit for hours next to each other, each involved in our own project, chatting away every so often and sharing our progress.
Personally I feel very attracted to cross stitch in particular and, to some extent, to knitting, crochet and beading, because there's a certain regularity, rigidity and awkwardness to it. You have to 'bend' the materials to make them behave the way you want. Try it and you will see: it is not easy to make a circle out of squares!
These crafts also have a very clear feel of building something. Each little cross, each stitch, each bead slowly adds to the previous one until something beautiful comes out at the other end.
The only point in my creative process where things are completely free is when I'm sketching. And I can assure you that to me this can be the most frustrating part of the whole. It is not easy to draw what you don't see, what you have only imagined. The pencil seems always to fall short of my expectations and it does take me many hours to get to my Eureka moment and decide that this is IT.
Once that is done, then the fun starts in full: transferring my tentative doodles into a perfect geometric grid is like bringing order to my world! To top it all off, then and only then I start playing with colours, one of my very favourite things.
This is why I haven't even seriously considered using dedicated software for my patterns: it would be like cheating myself out of one of the most pleasant steps of my own creative process!
I am a very restless person and not exactly disciplined unless I'm sitting down with my needle and thread. Then things take a pace of their own, they have order, they have logic, they have structure. And my mind loves this! - my hands doing something soothing, making something beautiful while my brain clears up and somehow gets rid of worries, of problems, of doubts. It is absolutely my 'me' time, when I feel most relaxed and happy in my own company.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn't creating something or at least planning what would come next. It is definitely a pleasure but most certainly not a hobby. It is a necessity. I would not be me if I wasn't creating at any given time.
So that's why I create: for my own sanity!
The images shown are examples of Gra's work - copied with her permission
The main header image is of my son and my sweet little granddaughter Olivia. A wonderful moment captured by my daughter-in-law.