a picture of the connections of the World Wide Web, from here
We scan through page after page of blogs, fingers working the mouse, images flying by until one catches our eye. Pinned! Now to Instagram, to Flickr, pictures and posts whizzing past — double tap, double tap, scroll, scroll — everything at breakneck speed with us jotting a word here or there to add the chorus of wonderfuls.
Is this creativity in the universe of 500 followers? (This calls for a giveaway) 100 comments on a post (how can you read all of this?) Where you aren’t a success until you have the traffic to drive 2,000 other quilters’ eyeballs to your site, to buy your patterns, to buy your books. Where we all strive to keep up with the intense and overwhelming pace of production out there in the world.
Arctic mountaintops, from here
Austin Kleon has a wonderful image in the back of his book Show Your Work. It’s a sketch of a series of mountain peaks, a faint line skimming the tops of those peaks like a caught line of clouds, or like the waterline showing those peaks to be islands poking out of an ocean, the mountains anchoring it to the sea floor, submerged. Above that pencilled, horizontal line, he wrote “product.” And below, “process.”
And it is in there, in those submerged depths or massive formations, where creativity emerges. It can start with a sketch, a riff on someone else’s quilt, a pile of colored fabrics. It has a thousand beginnings and a thousand endings, but it is the journey that counts. For what we see when rifling through our feeds several times a day is product, the tips, the peaks, the aha! moment after a long climb to the top, flag planted firmly on that product summit.
Winston Churchill is reported to have said that “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Scott Adams noted that “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Both of these quotes come from a book I’m reading on creativity and mastery written by Sarah Lewis: The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery. I sometimes need a break from the uber-sunshiney world of quilting, with quilt after quilt after project after quilt showing up on my reader or feed, especially if I’m in place where my own creativity is at a low ebb.
I love seeing beautiful quilts. I love seeing the cumulative work that comes from thousands of hours of trudging up that mountainside. But I try to also value those who show me a block, or a stack of fabrics, or those take a long time to get that quilt finished, label and all, for we are being creative, finding away to express ourselves as surely as if we had written a novel or painted a masterpiece.
Sherri of A Quilting Life wrote and asked if I would join her and others, writing about creativity. Some questions to consider are:
- What am I working on?
- How does my work differ from others?
- Why do I write/create what I do?
- How does my writing/creative process work?
Or you can do what I did and let your creative juices run a while, and come up with something else.
tutorial for paper foundation pieced Pineapple Quilt Block is here
And since no quilt blog can publish a post without a quilt photo, one of the projects I’m currently working on is shown above. If you write about creativity on your blog, please paste a link to your post into your comment so we can see what you are thinking.
Occasionally my blog posts links and video below, so I can use this software for free. I do not control the content.
8 thoughts on “Where Creativity Lurks: My Around The World Blog Hop Post (done my way)”
Elizabeth, those pineapple blocks are beautiful. For a fleeting moment I thought I was supposed to be making you one for our group?
Great Churchill and Adams quotes. Creativity is as much about continuing to produce as it is about genius. Of course, you have both. 🙂
I write about creativity and process often. Here is a recent post:
I think seeing only finished products is deceptive, in a way. It’s easy to believe that it was simple, voila! and there it is. But for me, quilting can be quite the struggle as I push through decisions, rarely having a PLAN in all-caps before starting. And when I do have that plan, it was a struggle to make it, since I design my own work.
Thanks for the comments about product vs. process. It’s a good reminder for all of us.
Creativity nourished the soul of the maker. And perhaps, if a connection is created between a person viewing the piece and that moment of creation, it becomes a transaction. However, I think a true artist creates out of a need to express her inner thoughts, and those creations continue whether or not anyone appears to be watching. Some people create with words, others with fabric.
I agree with Lisa. I feel more alive with creativity in my life whether it is shared with others or not. It is definitely nourishment for my mind.
LOVE those pineapple blocks!
Wonderfully thought provoking post and one that expresses the possible “danger” of being ‘sucked in’ to the “production/finished product number” of blogging that puts all these beauties at our fingertips for hours of non-stop parades. I am reblogging this, as I feel it has some very important thoughts that need to be shared.
Reblogged this on Treadlemusic and commented:
In our production valued world, there is a danger of our focus becoming somewhat “jaded” as we scroll through all the photos that are available of the beautiful creations put before us on the many blogs. Take a moment and ask yourself why you started this adventure…….was it the joy to be had in the journey or because the “finish” was needed. For me, the journey/need to express myself is my reason for creating my textile pieces of art. The same holds true for those who create with words or any other form of expression. It is this heart expression that drives the artist/creator.
As always Elizabeth, you’ve given good food for thought in your writing. I design because I HAVE to. It’s part of who I am. When I haven’t been creative it begins to eat at me in little ways of discontent. My struggle has become one of balance between the need to create and the desire to make a few $ to support the habit and help the budget. The journey of the design process is truly what feeds my soul but it’s the deadline to produce a finished project that feeds my budget. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the product end and I am constantly seeking balance. Haven’t been doing too well lately and have thus been absent from my blog and reading blogs. Maybe a rest from tech is part of my rebalancing.