I spent a few weeks in July up in Idaho at my Dad's ranch. When we're up there, we don't do a lot. We pretty much just hangout and relax. But I did along some painting supplies so I could keep up with my Year of Creative Habits (I'm creating — mostly painting — every, single day of 2017). I asked my dad to help me salvage some of the old wood I saw around his barns so I could use them as canvases for my desert-themed paintings.
While we were gathering wood, my dad suggested we take a jigsaw and cut out some cacti from the reclaimed wood. That suggestion turned into days of daddy-daughter crafting. I'd sketched out a simple cactus on a piece of wood, then he'd cut it out with his jig saw, and then I'd sand and the paint it.
Sketch. Cut. Sand. Paint. Repeat.
At some point, my dad suggested we mount the cacti onto a piece of wood , so the backing sort of framed the cactus. So that's why we did. I did a light wash of color on a rectangle of wood and then he showed me how to use wood glue and clamps to secure the cactus to the board.
Paint. Glue. Clamp. Dry. Repeat.
The final result was this really cool, three dimensional wall art made completely from reclaimed wood we found on the ranch. And the coolest part? It wasn't my idea. It was all my dad my dad who is almost 70 came up with an idea, walked me through it and together we made something lovely.
When I was growing up, my dad wasn't creative. At least not that I know of. He was a Los Angles Police Officer. He was pragmatic. He was disciplined. He was a little rough (and gruff). But given a chance, a willingness — on both our part — to try and explore, something super cool and very creative flowed out of him.
My point? Even if you do t think you're artistic or creative, there is a little bit of that in everyone. It just needs to be nurtured and cultivated. Start small. Explore things you find be interesting.
Since making our first piece together, we've made more. My dad was in town visiting a few weeks ago and we worked on a few more pieces. He taught me to use a jigsaw (and now I have my own!). He showed me how important preparation can be to a finished product (think wood putty and a lot of sanding). Most of all, he reminded me that even when you don't think you're artistic or creative, you are. It's just a matter of deciding you are and acting on your ideas.
Edited to add: I should have mentioned the most rewarding part of this project was working with my dad. I'm not sure I remember a time we made something together. As a kid, I did a lot of sewing and cooking with my mom, but not my dad. It's a gift to spend time with my parents as as an adult and discover new and interesting things about them.