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.