Tuesday, October 02, 2012

31 Days of Creativity - my version..........

I was talking about being a Jack of all trades yesterday. It isn't just the quilting, you know. I love woodwork - I like the simple things I make. I love scrapbooking, but I use my basic skills. I love(d) knitting but hated patterns, so would wing it, and wear it and then unravel it. I have made tapestries, done embroidery and cross stitch. I have made cards. I have sewn no end of things. And I have a head full of ideas popping out all over the place. That never stops.

Little bits of things.

Is this a failing? I prefer to see it as a blessing.

No project, even though I amass the skills and make loads of things, has ever raised in me the need to be the best in the world. I just want to learn how - to make everything I try to the best of my ability. I opened a box in the attic a while back and out came some rucksacks I made, from my own pattern, complete with matching piping, toggles and straps, and I looked at them and grinned. They were good. Very good. I made dozens one year, and then I stopped. It is the same with other ideas.

You see, to me, being creative does not mean you have to be exceptionally gifted. It means that you are willing to explore a little. Play around with fabric. Paint. Paper. Cameras. Whatever. Have fun. As a Mum, one of my roles is to be the Keeper of Memories, and there are no memory police about to see what I do, how good it is or why. It is something inside me that I need to satisfy.

Creativity is a part of who I am, and who everyone is in a sense. It doesn't matter which way it is expressed, whether your hands make something or whether your hands guide machines to make something. Good grief. I shudder to think what my woodwork would look like without my trusty scroll saw. I would still be sawing out the first attempts. Gardening. That is being creative. Drawing.

I once enthusiastically bought a box of charcoals. I had this vision of me on a rock sketching beautiful black seascapes in my new sketch pad. I tried. Believe me, I kept trying, and in the end the entire book was tossed in the bin. There are something which are clearly never meant to be and charcoal drawings were my nemesis. I can draw plans. 3D plans. I have drawn house plans since I was a teenager. I love that. But do not ask me to draw a picture. I can cut outlines better than I can draw them. Weird. But at least I know that they are beyond me!

And then there are the words. Words are an immensely powerful form of creativity, aren't they?

Sometimes, I look at the blogging pages of the experts who now run businesses teaching bloggers how to maximise their potential, and a whole host of techy details, and I smile, because that is not what I want. I love the freedom of being able to chat. To let my fingers run away with my brain. Or vice versa. I write the way I speak. I write as if we were sitting round the kitchen table chatting over coffee. Some of you have done just that already. Sat round the table chatting. You will hear me through the posts here.

I love the idea that I have taught so many how to do the basics when it comes to sewing. Some of them will take those skills to a level way more accomplished than mine, and that is wonderful. All you need are the basics and then, if it fires your imagination, off you will go. I saw the glimpses of that in my classroom, and I will always wonder how many remembered anything, and where it took them.

It is a great tragedy of our times here in the UK, that all subjects have become examination orientated. Art. Sport. Sewing (Textiles), Cooking (Food Technology), Woodwork (Resistant Materials) and on it goes. Basic skills are not the focus of the lesson plans or syllabus. No. It is all about marketing and design plans and cost estimates and distribution, and profit margins, and there I am screeching that before anything like that can be attempted, let me teach the children HOW to sew. HOW to create. Even the world's greatest designers learnt how things were made. Examinations can and most often do stifle creativity. It has to be done right or you fail. And right is what is in the eye of the examiner, not in the mind of the child.

And continuing the rant, once upon a time, these more practical lessons in the classroom gave some children a place to shine. Academic education is not for everyone. Those with more practical  abilities had a place to outshine their academic contemporaries. Once upon a time. Now, there is no place in the educational system for those less able to shine, and that is a disaster. No wonder children are discouraged. Everyone needs to have one area where they are allowed to discover and hone their skills. There is time enough in later education for all the business plans.

Creativity is not measurable.

It is as large or as small as each individual makes it. It is not right or wrong. If you want to become an architect you will learn all the laws and rules which go alongside your creativity, but you still need the confidence to believe in your innovative ideas. And that comes from having the opportunity to shine when you experiment. Oy, get me started on the educational fiasco and I could go on for decades.


I got a little side tracked there. Maybe I should make a plan of what I will say every day. NO!!! That will stifle the creativity! I excel at winging it. So that is what we will be doing. Maybe tomorrow we will get onto more creative stuff. We will see...............


Vee said...

By the time I reached the final paragraph, I was laughing and shouting "no" along with you. You certainly do excel at everything you do in your own unique way. No one else can be you! I think you are on to something there...the old "line upon line and precept upon precept" way of teaching so that the foundation is sure.

(Have to tell you that while I have been fiddling about with potholders and such my daughter struck out on her own (I gave her the sewing machine just last Christmas)and is creating her own clothing. Last night, she came in wearing the most lovely draped-at-the-color shirt, just charming and with an stretchy fitted bottom at the hip. I commented and she said, "Oh, I made this yesterday. I don't think I like it so I'm taking it apart and making something else." What a concept!)

Needled Mom said...

Such a wonderful point!!!! I find that the only problem with doing it all is that I have the needed supplies for each hobby too. That makes for a lot of "piles" and boxes around the house. Sigh!!!

Sandra said...

I've been enjoying you posts Linds, really feel like I'm learning more about you :)

The Bookworm said...

You know, it has taken until my 50s to get the confidence to create. I could make things - cross stitch, embroidery, knitting, crochet, baking, and so on - but was totally dependent on patterns and recipes. I have finally reached a point where I have the courage to knit without a pattern, or to adapt a pattern, or to throw ingredients together and hope a meal comes out, or to tweak a recipe. Very liberating!

And yes, I can indeed hear your voice coming through. This phase in my life is one without the space for leisurely coffees at IKEA, but come next summer when I go back to working part time I hope we can get together again.