Monday, December 2, 2013

I Don't Fish

On Saturday, Howard and I went to Christmas at the Courthouse to support a friend who had a booth. There was a time when I loved craft shows and went to any and all and now, I'm quite jaded. I look at the displays and see hours and hours of effort just sitting there, not selling and I look at the crowds and see people pushing, reaching, and grabbing - not quite at a Black Friday level - and then they want a deal as if these items are mass produced stuff. Just stuff. There seems to be no respect for the created-by-hand element nor for the labors of the creative. Instead, they want to know can you lower the price and will this be on sale tomorrow?

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.

12 comments:

  1. Myrna, I was so surprised to see my bag on your blog today, thank you so much for featuring it! I love your blog and am a faithful reader, you have some amazing creativity. I wish we lived closer to each other, I think we could do some cool stuff!.....Anna

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    1. How fun. I'm glad it was a pleasant surprise. I've been looking at your different bags for a few months now and they've really inspired some bag and line ideas. Thanks. I did check to see where you lived and - sigh - it is too far. What fun that would have been. Maybe some day we'll connect in person.

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    2. Myrna, I live near Marcy and Diane, if you are planning to come to DOL in Ashland next year that might be a chance for a meeting....Anna

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    3. Doesn't look like DOL is going to be in the budget this year. I have been thinking about a slow meander to San Francisco with stops along the way. Most likely not in 2014 but possibly in 2015. So far, I've booked a two week artist in residence in May in Port Townsend and - assuming the budget comes together - hope that I'll have some visitors during that time.

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    4. I totally understand, but please keep me posted with any travels to southern Oregon...Anna

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    5. Will do. That's one of the wonderful things about blogging and the Internet - meeting people.

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  2. Myrna, you're reading my mind. I hope we get to meet one of these days and can share thoughts over a glass of wine. I'm actually going to try to come to Ashland in 2014, so maybe we could all get together there.

    Thanks so much for this post.
    With warm regards,
    Jan

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    1. Oh - I'd love that. As I said to Anna, most likely not in 2014 but possibly the year after.

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  3. Hi Myrna, I've followed your blog for a while and comment occasionally, thanks for sharing your creativity. I've just finished sewing Tessuti's Eva dress pattern which has a similar silhouette to the dress you posted, so thought you may be interested. There is a review on PR under Dilliander, also more photos on Tessuti's blog. It doesn't have the diagonal stitching lines but is pieced using geometric shapes.

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    1. Thanks. I'll check out that pattern. It's the diagonal stitching lines that I find really interesting about Katherine's dress however, with the right silhouette, any pattern could be adaptable.

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  4. "Alone is a fact, a condition where no one else is around. Lonely is how you feel about that. "

    I'm not quite sure I agree - some of the loneliest times I remember have been with other people around. Maybe my definition of lonely would be more like "how included/engaged/welcomed you feel with those around you". Then again, I'm an introvert, so maybe Ms. Tharp and I are describing different sides of the same elephant, so to speak.

    As for fishing/knitting - I too have had many "aha!" moments while doing an activity unrelated to the problem I was stuck on. Until I learn to knit better, it requires too much brain power for me to think about other things at the same time.

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    1. I agree with you in that lonely in a crowd can be one of the worst feelings only I recognize that it is a feeling on my part and that many of the other members of the crowd aren't feeling lonely at all so the correlation is that you can be alone but not feel lonely and you can be with a bunch of people and feel lonely and the feelings are coming from within EVEN WHEN they originate with not being included. I so understand that. I've been learning to make a choice that works for me in those situations and it's not always easy. I'm introverted too. Wonder if that's part of it.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.