The amazing maternal counter-force

Besides being a great storyteller Melissa, who created Fabric Dyeing 101, has put together a truly comprehensive resource for anyone who is interested in dyeing fabric or starting her own business. Here's how she begins The Story of My Hand-dyed Fabric Business:

It started very simply. I wanted to make an Amish style quilt with solid colour fabrics and I started searching for the colours I wanted. At the time, my youngest was an avid breastfeeder (and the size of a small planet) and all those hours of sitting, watching, holding the baby invoked that amazing maternal counter-force that says, if I can do this (motherhood), I can do anything. Having a baby to care for, for many of us...summons up independent creative forces that know no limits.
Eventually, unable to find fabric in the colours she was looking for Melissa started to dye her own. I read her story some time ago and what she wrote about motherhood stayed with me, mainly because it's reassuring to have someone articulate something that you've felt but didn't quite have the words for. My daughters were two and four when I returned to quilting and started dyeing fabric a year-and-a-half ago. Not only have dyeing and quilting been a total blast but doing these things gives me something that I have not found anywhere else; this creative work, and especially working with colour, fills me up and returns me to a state of focussed concentration and peace that I apparently need in regular doses.

My attitude about myself in relation to my art has also changed a lot. When I see a piece that I admire or that inspires me, my mind rarely goes to "I am not talented enough to do something like that" as it often used to. Instead I am able to be much more open and to take in and also appreciate what I am seeing. What I have discovered is that not only do I *need* to look at other people's work but I also *need* to create, to put something physical out into the world , something that is beautiful to me, or something that helps me to work through a feeling or an experience that I've had. I now recognize this as a strong need in me, not just something I enjoy doing.

My connection to the "rightness" of the impulse to create is more accessible to me now than it was before. In part I credit this to the fact that my own time has been pared down to a fine sliver each week. Practically speaking, there's not much time to waste in self-doubt. In part I credit it to the fact that young children are still very in touch with an unfettered and core part of their humanity; spontaneity, boundless exuberance, affection, an insatiable curiosity, joy, tenderness, and a lack of self-consciousness in much of what they do is on display most of time. I am also more in touch with in myself, the things that I wish for them, namely, compassion, groundedness, challenge, connection, courage, openness and a certain amount of inner peace, the kind that, no matter what life hands them, they'll still be able to breathe deeply, and come back to themselves. Parenting is just one route to seeing certain things more clearly, and perhaps, it was something entirely different that got me here. Whatever the reason, I'm happy to have found the freedom to let go of some of the self-criticism.

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