This one isn’t finished–it needs more color, so I’m going to do some appliques, but I wanted to talk about my experience with this (I’m almost finished with #3 and will show photos of that later this week, I hope) as it relates to art. Now, I don’t call what I’m doing “making art”; for me, this is just creative fun, experimentation, a way to make my clothes something I love to wear, and–at its core–a way to relax. Stitching and beading are relaxing to me–unlike writing, they don’t demand constant thought. Once I figure out what I’m going to do, I can just sit down and work at it–stitch after stitch, bead after bead.
The planning process is something else, though, and it demands more work, and I think it’s similar for all creative endeavors. You think of something or see something or hear something that inspires you, and then you set about refining the idea and figuring out how you’re going to interpret it. But let’s talk about what happens after that–after you’ve created one of whatever-it-is: a painting, a collage, a sculpted figure, a piece of jewerly. Do you stop there, satisfied that you’ve captured the idea? I hope not, because I think that, by stopping too soon, you’re missing out on an opportunity to push yourself, to learn more, to explore where you own creativity can lead you.
Think of it as playing jazz, where you get down the basic melody you had in mind and then, once that’s clear to you, you can begin riffing on it, reinventing that melody and taking it places you hadn’t though it would go. How far can you push it? How much will it morph before you’re satisfied you’ve exhausted all the possibilities?
For me, that’s a huge part of the fun of making things: making the first one, then tweaking my ideas and making another, then tweaking some more and making another. You develop skills as you go along, and by the time you decide you’re finished with that series, you may well find you’ve learned way, way more than you ever anticipated.
Ricë also blog at Notes from The Voodoo Cafe.
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