I'm working through a list of thirty-three questions on writing your creative autobiography in Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit and three of the questions are what is the dumbest idea you've ever had, what made it stupid, and can you connect the dots that led you to this idea? For me, the dumbest creative idea I've spent considerable time on was trying to turn creativity into a career and switching my focus from what I wanted to create to what they would buy. It's why I'm jaded on craft shows even as I recognize that there are people for whom this outlet has worked tremendously... which is good... since they put so much time and effort into it.
Right now, I'm working on advancing my individual creativity and seeing where that leads me. I'm finding this self directed approach very satisfying and I'm enjoying the calm of not being in business. When my friend asked me to walk around and see what was happening with the various vendors, I approached them from the perspective of my own work.
Kathy Kinsella lives less than an hour away and creates some gorgeous bags. I spent quite a bit of time talking to her and got her card in hopes that we can get together at some point. I've had bags on the brain lately and especially since seeing the bag above made by Anna Hinkle. The colors are gorgeous and it looks to be well made but that's not what's tickling.
I've been thinking a lot - AS IN A REALLY BIG LOT - about the work I want to do around the theme of creating a line and along with samples, I thought it might be fun to use the line ideas in a simple format like a flat fold bag. Whatever format I use needs to be something I can create relatively quickly but also something that would stretch me creatively and - of course - use supplies I already have. I've always enjoyed making bags so I'm not surprised that that thought has lingered the most.
The sweater above is from Blue Mermaid Designs on Etsy. Shelly - the owner - has created some absolutely gorgeous pieces. When I saw this one, I saw the lines and an example of putting lines together and I also saw a similarly colored sweater that is sitting cut up in pieces in my closet because I cut all the way up center back and then couldn't seem to figure out the next step. Seeing Shelly's sweater gave me an idea and one idea is all you need to go forward with a project. Step-by-step. One idea to the next.
One of the exercises in Twyla's book is about building up your tolerance for solitude. She talks about techniques for learning to be alone and for engaging your mind with an idea and talks about solitary activities that allow you time to think. On page 31 she writes...
Consider fishing, also a solitary activity. You have the gear and the equipment. You have flies in the tackle box. You have the boat and the trip you have to take on the water to where the fish are biting. You have the casting over and over again, and the interior musings about how long it's going to take you to get a bite on the line. And you're doing this all by yourself for hours! What elevates it, what keeps it from turning into frightening drudgery, of course, is that you have a goal. You want to catch fish. It's the same with daydreaming creativity - minus the tackle box, the boat, and the fish. You're never lonely when your mind is engaged. Alone is a fact, a condition where no one else is around. Lonely is how you feel about that. Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity. Self-reliance is a happy by-product.
I don't fish but I do knit and knitting can be just a idea engaging as fishing. Well... actually... far more engaging in my case. The few times I went fishing when I was younger, I spent most of my time curled up in the front of the boat with a good book. With knitting, my hands form the repetitive motions while my brain works with ideas. Walking is quite similar. I find both are great for moving forward on a project or for generating ideas for projects.
Snoop shopping and internet hopping work well too. I've been pondering this dress of Katherine Tilton's for a few weeks now after seeing it on her website. It's gorgeous. There's a feel about it that draws you in. It's subtle, engaging, and intriguing at the same time. A wonderful balance of elements. Look at the interesting lines. See how the seams run diagonally and appear to go around the dress. There isn't a pattern. I know. I asked. BUT... just seeing this picture on her blog was enough to spark a thought about spiraling lines. A thought is all you need. And then that thought can jump from one idea to the next. spiraling lines on a dress. spiraling lines on a skirt. spiraling lines on a bag. And so the ideas hop.
What ideas are engaging you?
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - I finished my grandson's coat and he's coming today so I can get a picture of him wearing it although he's much MUCH smaller than the coat at this stage. Should be fun.