Funny how time can make you forget. With enough time between one blog post and another, it seems that I can completely forget why I wanted to write about knitting and art. Well, I haven't exactly 'forgotten'. It's more like I don't know that it's so important to me that those questions get answered anymore, if that makes sense.
The images and questions I shared in my last post came from the desire to have a 'discussion' about what art is and what it means in our lives. But over the last few weeks I realized that what I really wanted to do was to get you thinking about creativity and creative expression in your own life. That doesn't necessarily mean that we're talking about art, does it?
Thank you to Jenn, for her thoughtful response to my last post. I am honestly not sure I could have put it any better, Jenn. If you haven't read her comment, it's worth going back and doing so. I would like to share one part of her thoughts: "In the end I try not to think about it all too much. I think sometimes our desire to come up with an exacting definition [of art] closes the door to possibilities."
I believe that is right on. Art is many things, but most certainly it is personal and it is about possibilities. And that's the note I was trying to hit and didn't realize it until I had time to reflect.
Have you heard of SARK? I have every one of her books and have read them and reread them many times. She has a particular style and soul in her writing and her creativity that makes me feel free and unique and capable of anything. And aren't those the things we're looking for in creative self-expression?
In her book A Creative Companion, she writes: "We all started out creatively free. Remember the sandbox? All you needed was bare toes in warm sand, and maybe a good bucket. Then you could build your own world. At school, things may have changed. ...the chairs were in rows, and tree trunks were to be colored brown, not purple. If you lived in a world of purple tree trunks, you probably learned to hide it."
I understand that statement. I grew up believing that tree trunks were always supposed to be brown and the sky was blue and the leaves were green. And that belief translated it's way into my knitting right from the start. I tried to 'knit within the lines'. I thought of it as a one dimensional endeavor that had to come out a certain way, period. And honestly, this probably served me well for a time. At least in the sense that now I know that is the exact opposite of what creativity and art really is, or can be.
I couldn't tell you for sure when it happened, but at some point I realized that I had my own ideas and opinions about how things should look. I suppose my epiphany about my knitting came about the same time my epiphany about my life hit me (one of many obviously). Yes, that would make sense, wouldn't it?
The hard part is having the courage to step off that ledge and go in your own direction then, isn't it? This could be as simple as choosing a different color than what was originally used by the designer, or possibly searching for different texture in the yarn you will work with...it could even be that stepping off of that ledge means tackling a pattern that has a difficult to execute technique that you have been afraid to try.
Listen, if that 'difficult technique' is the only thing keeping you from knitting that beautiful sweater that you have had the pattern for in your notebook for many years, take the leap!
There's always a way, trust me. Books, magazines, on-line videos and tutorials, and of course classes! ;) The single, solitary reason that I love to teach is to build confidence in my students so they can go out into the knitting world and achieve whatever goals they have set. I live for the 'light bulb' moments that come over their faces in class.
Creativity has to be cultivated to some degree. 99% of the creative world out there had to study their art or craft in order to do it. For sure there are exceptions and I bet you could name many, but for the purpose of this discussion we'll stick with the idea that creativity takes some amount of effort.
You must also give yourself the time and space to work at it. I don't know of very many creative endeavors that happen if every single day is filled to the brim with with scheduled things. I do understand busy. I am the queen of 'busy'! Meaning, I can take 24 hours and fill it up like nobody's business. But fill it up with what? I had to step back and really reassess how I was spending my time (and more importantly why I was doing it this way) in order to realize that my creative goals (see the very end of my profile ;) were NEVER going to happen if I didn't start actually giving myself time to explore them in a pretty serious way. Life had become way to many 'have tos', and it felt like time was starting to roll by like a freight train.
I can't tell you how many times a day I hear people say to me--well, I am just not that creative or I could never do that, or if only I had the time. I am here to tell you that it comes in many forms and looks like many things. There is no one set definition.
I promise you that there are no 'knitting police.' No one is going to come look at your projects and say, you know you should have done this and it's supposed to look like that...the important thing is: how do you feel when you are creating?
Carve out a little time this week, sit down, and just revel in what your hands and your heart are able to do. Whether it is coloring a picture, baking something sweet, or putting sticks and string together.
Creativity is always there — you just need to want to explore it.
A few movements with a knitting needle and a little bit of yarn suddenly turns into something remarkable, something that exists nowhere else in the world; it's yours. And once you’ve created it, it will remain a unique and inexhaustible source of further inspiration because each time you do this, you are opening to your own possibilities...
...and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
I welcome your comments and suggestions.