I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity. Specifically, my own creativity and my process. I think everyone is creative in their own way(s) and their creative process can be very individualistic. No scientific research here, just my own musings about myself…fancy word is metacognition. Why do I do what I do and how do I go about it? Have you ever thought about these things?
I came into jewelry making late in my life. Actually the year I retired from teaching elementary school at 57 years old. At that time I had no idea that I would become so passionate about it and truly enjoy the making and the learning. I sometimes wonder who I’d be and what I’d be doing now, if I had discovered jewelry making at a much younger age. And sometimes I feel that I won’t have enough TIME left in my life to learn everything I want to learn about creating jewelry or something else entirely new I haven’t even thought about yet. There is an urgency to my quest. And maybe that’s why I sometimes feel like my attention is so scattered. Like dog who sees squirrels everywhere and wants to chase them all.
But TIME cuts both ways… In one way, I have less time, but in another perhaps more important way, I have more time now. I have more time in retirement to explore, take classes, and practice what I’m learning. It is a gift that not everyone has and I do not want to waste it, but use it with all the gratitude I have.
For me, creativity starts with CURIOSITY. I remember being fascinated with jewelry pieces in shows or museums or shops and thinking…How did they do that? Where did they start? What did they do next? What materials did they use? I wanted to turn the pieces over and upside down to investigate all the parts. Trying to imagine their process. My curiosity extends to many things in the world. Cooking, sewing, art, architecture… I try to break things down into smaller steps. Take them apart in my head and then put them back together. I am happy and excited when I follow where my curiosity takes me.
While I continue to pursue jewelry making, I can and do take the time to get side tracked, whether it’s getting to know my cast iron skillet and get creative with recipes or discover the joys of watercoloring notecards and envelopes. I can’t seem to get enough of watching and learning what watercolors do on paper! I get ‘itchy fingers’ if I don’t spend a little time each day with paints and paper. I fall asleep at night thinking about what I want to try the next day… Sound familiar???
These next two are my attempts to copy what I’ve seen on Pinterest. Again, trying to figure out how the artist accomplished what they did. Colors, layering, techniques, supplies… I am very grateful to all the artists who post on Pinterest, share tutorials, and write blogs about their own experiences and experiments. We all benefit in our own understanding and helping others learn.
The last little bit I’ve learned about myself in creative pursuits is that I like SOLITUDE and SPACE. While I do like the camaraderie of other people in classes and occasional craft parties I get “testy” when I’m interrupted, either by people or events (phone, doorbell, etc…) Not pretty. I remember going to a Beading Party night at the local bead shop, where everyone brings their projects to work on. Lovely people, fun atmosphere. But I quickly discovered that as I got into my project of making wire wrapped rings, I got very quiet and focused. Kind of tuned out everyone around me. While I did make a dozen rings that night, the others probably thought I was a pretty unfriendly sort and glad I didn’t return. I also like lots of space to get out all my supplies before I start. While I have a lovely room for all my stuff, I tend to like to take over the kitchen island and all the counters as well. And the laundry room. I savor my alone time and space to really dig in and create stuff. It always amazes me how much time passes when I get ‘in the zone’. Four hours gone in a heart beat.
Exhibit A… work bench evidence of a messy ‘creative mind’. Project left-overs, jewelry to be re-created, and projects-to-be. Yikes! Someday, it will again be used to make things, instead of a repository of stuff.
So there you have it. My few thoughts about my creativity. It starts with having a curious mind about the world around me and beyond me. It flourishes with time. And bears fruit with solitude and space.
How about you? Have you thought about your creativity? Where does it start? What is needed for it to flourish and bear fruit?
I’d love to hear from you!