Few things rival a sudden spark of creative energy to get crafters excited. We’ve all been there…sitting in the car, head hitting the pillow, gazing idly out of the window only to find that bang!. There’s an idea which just can’t wait. Over to the sketchin’ I go
and hours happily pass
But, how may I nurture and sustain these magic moments? Ask most crafters what inspires them and they’ll often answer other crafts. We might be crafters, but, we’re also huge craft fans.
There is no doubt other craft is hugely influential in my creative flow. The reason I decided either to become a crafter, or at least to dedicate time to making crafts as well as possible, was ‘cuz I’ve seen crafts which inspired me to get started.
It’s also true that–in terms of comparing mixes, mastering processes and even sketching/designing–other crafts may act as encouragement and fuel my own crafty aspirations.
That said, it’s hugely important for the craft I make to borrow from the widest pool possible. If I make children’s knitwear and only focus on one narrow branch of the same design/technique, how can my design really hope to stand out from the class that already exists? Crafters ambitious enough to open themselves up to crafty styles beyond their favored sorts are often those who go on to create new sub-brand of their own.
With this in mind, I wonder, how much might I benefit from provoking creativity through periods of cold turkey? Why not spend a couple of weeks or a month deliberately not making or browsing projects in my chosen crafty field? My latest concentration has been devoted in swirly knitwear, picking up a hook and crochet an Amigurumi might be a good choice.
After a month, go back to my craft of choice and see what influence alternative arrangements, different structures, and opposing texture and composition have had on me…I might well be pleasantly surprised…or not.
My creative work-flow has been shoved along by technology–Ravelry in my case–I choose to ally myself to. It is quicker and easier simply to follow the trend and style I know has worked before and use it time and again as I hold myself back–possible better design will never be sought out. I know, we all have our favorites…that choice comes familiarity with the tools available to us. In the end, my work doesn’t progress or evolve.
It’s so easy to follow a pattern than ever from a library or an online source and make something wonderful, more quickly. I only question whether this provokes creativity–does it instead simply create distraction? If I’m searching for a killer design and I’m flicking through presets, I’m much more likely to settle on something close to my original thought than I am to pursue the ideal I’d originally imagined. You might well be thinking—who cares? Again it comes back to the pool issue; as everyone who owns his/her favorites also has those presets. Unless we have designers (like Heather Dixon) ambitious enough to go further and dream a little bigger, we’ll end up with the same style in many of the fashion we see/wear.
Here is a project I designed earlier in the year…and has been idling for 8 months.
It’s missing the key element that makes it great…the Tommy Hilfiger fine cotton blouse with elegant, pristine paisley prints I found in bags of my girls’ clothes to Goodwill earlier last week.
The blouse once belonged to Aspen’s mom and gifted to my older teen before they moved to Wisconsin nearly two years ago.
It wasn’t long
before it’s lined
with ruffled sleeves, velvety ribbons threading through selective eyelet-rows
and added glittery buttons
It was hard to part with the gorgeous fine cotton shirt, I admit. Just picture how nerve-whacking it was to cut it in pieces and seamed back together! What if it doesn’t work? What if she doesn’t like it! What if it’s too tight? What ifs? My heart wants to keep it for myself to wear…At the end, I’m so glad I made it a liner for Aspen…
Almost without fail, this piece ends up being the most interesting of the work I’ve created this year.
Instead of I love the sweater
I love the sweater and this used to be my mom’s shirt!
Does the array of functions in modern technologies make us creative, or is a deliberate limitation of the tools we have available likely to make us look for creativity and inspiration in more interesting places?
Like many people, I feel privileged at those moments when creativity strikes…but, I’ve long since given up on the thought that there’s nothing I can do to provoke it.
Instead, I’m aware that I’m as likely to feel crafty inspiration when I edit designs, go out and take photos,
or engage in any kind of non-crafty activity which interests my brain in some intangible way.
I much more rarely find myself sketching interesting and original designs when I browse through other people’s works of creativity. Is this a trick of the mind, or simply a widening of my own creative style pool? So long as the creativity flows, I don’t care. How about you?
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!
(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)