mandalas for marinke

Here is the next of the beautiful, inspiring, special contributions coming in to the #MandalasForMarinke remembrance project. I am grateful for each and every amazing contribution. You are invited to join; learn more here.

Beautiful Crochet Mandala

annemaries mandalasformarinke

I think what I love most about the crochet mandala is that the design looks good in any color, whether you work it in a single solid color like we see here or in an array of different colors. There’s just something mesmerizing about the circular shape. This one, in bold pink, makes me smile.

Meet the Maker

annemaries mandalasformarinke

I was happy to receive this contribution from Annemarie of Annemarie’s Haakblog, a crochet blog I’ve been following for ages. I always adore the work of this Netherlands-based bilingual craft blogger who gives back to the community with her inspirational weekly crafty link-ups on her site.

She shared this beautiful message for Wink:

“Thank you Marinke for sharing your lovely patterns with the world. You were an inspiration and you will be dearly missed. It is so sad to realize that behind your happy, bright blog, a totally different world unfolded.

My sincere sympathy goes out to Marinke’s boyfriend, family and friends. I hope it is of any comfort that Marinke touched so many hearts.”

Annemarie also added in a beautiful personal message she wrote to me,

“it is very comforting to see so many crocheters around the world sharing their grief about the loss of one of the members of our crochet community.”

I so agree. Every contribution inspires me and I thank Annemarie for hers. She was one of the designers whose work was featured in Wink’s recently published crochet book Boho Crochet. She also contributed to Baby Brights and she has authored two of her own crochet books in the Dutch language. You can see more of Annemarie’s own work on Etsy.

Words by Wink

annemaries mandala

In June 2012, Wink returned to her blog after a two month hiatus. When she came back, she shared:

“I guess life just happened, as it sometimes does.

Most of you don’t know this, but I am autistic. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and because of that I haven’t had a job in over two years. Crocheting and being creative has really helped me a lot with dealing with my autism, and my blog was a great outlet for me, a place to voice my creativity and feel welcome and appreciated.

But of course, when you don’t have a job, you have no income. I won’t get into the specifics of my financial situation, but let’s just say that it was time for a change. And with that change, a lot of other things changed. I felt like I had lost my mojo or something! I was still being creative, but I just didn’t feel the need to share it anymore. I was really struggling to find my voice again, and because of that I have neglected the crafty side of the internet.

Seriously, my crochet mojo was basically non-existing for a long time. But I realize now that I don’t need to have mojo everyday, all the time. It’s totally fine if I don’t feel creative for a day, right?”

I feel so touched by this post because it reveals how important the creative community was to her and how it was still sometimes not right for her to engage with it. Plus it deals with the difficulty of maintaining a sense of creative energy over time, something I know that I’ve dealt with a lot and that gets tied up with my own depression in many intricate ways.

About Depression

crochet mandalasformarinke

One purpose of this project is to raise awareness about depression so each post will end with some facts, thoughts or quotes about depression, suicide and/or mental health. Today I want to share an interesting article by Tanner Christensen about the link between depression and creativity and the possible evolutionary reasons for this.

Christensen explains that:

“To be creative is to make sense of and connect the small details of everything we experience, the good and the bad. Creatives naturally tend to think more, and think about their very thoughts too. When we ruminate, however, our brains are naturally drawn to things that are vital to our health. Pain and suffering are such immense experiences, even if they’re short-lived, that those who ruminate tend to loop through those painful experiences more often than those who don’t.”

So, as a creative person, you may be prone to think more, ruminate more and that rumination can lead to cycling thoughts that lead to depression. From an evolutionary perspective, the purpose of this could be to reflect on mistakes in order to improve ourselves, to become our better selves so to speak.

“For creatives, this depression is what amplifies motivation to do their work better. It’s not enough to keep doing what you’ve been doing as a creative, you have to do more, and do it well. That’s empowering, if you can make it through the initial dip in energy.”

I don’t want to make it seem like depression is a good thing or like you should just “move past it” to get your creative juices really going. A ruminating mind can be devastating to your health and sometimes requires distraction, care, support, therapy and/ or medication to end that rumination. (Crochet is used by many of us to stop our ruminating thoughts, something I wrote about in the depression chapter of my book, Crochet Saved My Life.) But I think it’s interesting to point out that there may be an evolutionary reason that there’s a link between creativity and depression so even if it’s turned bad it perhaps isn’t all bad but instead shades of grey.

All contributions to Mandalas for Marinke are welcome and will help raise awareness about depression while honoring her work in the same way that this great contribution has done today. Details to join here.

Author

San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!

2 Comments

  1. jodiebodie Reply

    That idea about evolutionary reason(s) for a link between creativity and depression is fascinating. Your articles always make me think, Kathryn.

    Marinke’s quote has unnerved me: “But I realize now that I don’t need to have mojo everyday, all the time. It’s totally fine if I don’t feel creative for a day, right?””
    It hints that Marinke perhaps had an unrealistic expectation of herself or felt pressure from external forces to “be creative” ALL the time or EVERY day.

    That whole idea of ‘being creative’ or ‘having creativity’ in the same way constantly is unnatural to me. Our planet is not ‘constant’ but cyclical with the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun and moon, and patterns ebb and flow with the resulting tides. Nothing can run at a constant pace indefinitely so it surprises me that people should expect that of themselves or their own creativity.

    Even man-made machines like aircraft for example cannot keep flying without landing regularly for maintenance and refuelling otherwise they crash! People are like that too. We cannot keep going at one pace without stopping to rest and refuel in between. Think of that as an important maintenance strategy for our health, both physical and mental. I want people to not beat themselves up about “a day without creativity” or feel guilty about taking time out. We are humans, not robots.

    Should people who may be labelled by others or self-identified as “creative” be expected to “be creative” ALL the time? I think not. So in answer to Marinke’s question:
    Yes! It is totally fine to “not be creative” for a day or any length of time.

    I think it is very important to ‘take the pressure off’ ourselves and others by having more realistic expectations and accepting that we are all humans with our own ebbs and flows (e.g. energy, creativity, emotions, etc.). I wonder how much these expectations (either internal or external) contribute to episodes of depression and how we can create a more accepting and tolerant society and better healing environment for those who are struggling.

    • Kathryn Reply

      Yes, yes, yes. So agree and so glad that you added this really thoughtful, helpful comment for us. <3 <3 <3

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