Being creative

I was so pleased to spot that one of my favourite blogs, Annekata, has returned – I have really missed it over the last few months whilst Kathrin has been taking a break. She’s already got me pondering on my work with her new post Are you creative?, on the subject of the interrelationship between creativity and play.

I have never, until the 3 or 4 years, considered myself to be in the least bit creative. I had a very academic education and career (if you can call 6 years working in Archives a career!) and there never seemed to be time to sit down and play with yarn, fabric, paper, glue, paint and crafty things like that – to be honest, I rarely gave it a thought. And even though I have been sewing and crocheting in earnest now for the last 2 or 3 years, I still find it hard to think of myself as a creative person, and lose confidence in my work very quickly.

I started wondering about the things that stop me being creative…

Lack of time – I am aware that I need to make things that will sell, so feel that I can’t spend my time on taking time out to just play around with fabric and yarn. But looking back at my photos from this year, one of the things that I enjoyed making the most, and am pretty proud of, is this pincushion –
Celtic Spirals pincushion
– which started off as just a bit of stitched doodling that I couldn’t stop. It took an age to finish, and I was never really was sure where it was going, but it was addictive, fun and so relaxing to do. Which brings me my next anti-creativity issue…

Tiredness and stress – not having the energy to pick up my craft tools and start playing. But, if I can get over that, get started, and devote myself to a project, it can be energising and calming (all at the same time – wow, the power of craft!). Sometimes, mind you, it can just add to the stress when things wont go right – but I guess that then it’s time to do something else for a while.

Lack of money to experiment –  there’s always a worry that your experiments will turn out badly and that you will have wasted some fabric or wool. But, if I go back to the creativity/play relationship and think of my kids, using any old bits and bobs to create lovely games –
Horton Hears a Who – here’s Tom, oh holiday a couple of years back, playing ‘Horton Hears a Hoo’ with a bit of clover and a petal. Look at his concentrating face! One of the things I love about being around my kids is their absolute commitment and resourcefulness when it comes to play. Hmmm…

Despondency – this is the biggest stumbling block to creativity for me. I compare myself to others whose work I admire and wonder why I bother.. this is not, as you can imagine, good for just letting go and playing!  I also have a fear of inadvertently copying or being too influenced by other people’s work. When I get bogged down in negativity like that, I’ve learnt recently that one approach is to back off, take a break, and look at things from a different angle.

Playing around with colour has been on of my best experience of crafting this year because it’s given me a different departure point for creating. This cushion, for example, came out of fabrics put together from a colour palette on Design Seeds. I smile every time I see it because, for me, it’s a lovely blast of summer and it’s totally my creation – not safe, not nervous – just fun.

Patchwork pillow / cushion

So, what gets in the way of your creativity?

20 thoughts on “Being creative

  1. Wow! Just found your blog yesterday and have been meandering through it for hours! Just lovely! And, although I realize that this is quite an old post, it hit such a nerve that I just had to respond and put in my two cents!
    I have been a “maker” as far back as I can remember. Yet, I too, have suffered through all of the fears and doubts that you so eloquently expressed. Am I, inadvertently, copying someone else’s work? Am I really as good as…….fill in the blank with your preferred demon! Will anyone like, want to buy my creations? How can I even think about selling my creations when I know that they are not absolutely perfect?
    And, with the internet and YouTube and blogs, you see SO MUCH and you start comparing what you are doing with, well basically, the whole world and ……BOOM!… just increased your creativity issues a thousand fold!
    But then an epiphany hits you over the head! There are tons more non-makers than there are makers. And when you point out the terrible flaw that you see in your work to a non-maker you will usually get one of two responses……. “What flaw?” or “So what?”. Another epiphany…….nothing’s perfect! And, unlike mass produced items, our hand crafted items, flaws and all, have soul! And they are unique! In a world of cookie cutter, mass produced items they are a breath of fresh air. And yet another epiphany is that there is nothing new under the sun. So, even if you have inadvertently borrowed an idea, by the time that idea has wandered around in your brain for a while collecting a bit from here and a bit from there,it will have morphed into something different from the original idea. You will have added your own unique spin to it!
    Goodness but I am long-winded! Lol! Anyway, I’ll stop now after I say that reading your blog is a treat!

  2. I’ve been looking through your blog extensively since I found it and I have to say it is one of the most loveliest ones I have found in recent times. I don’t think you have to worry about your creativity … it is there and well on show and I can’t wait to you finish your next project!

  3. Oh my goodness,you just put in to words my thoughts! I wonder if you are a Libran lol! I have recently gained a beautiful craft space,I love to just sit there,it is so very peaceful,more day dreaming than crafting being done. I find myself creating to blog a bit at the moment,I think I like the idea of people “calling by and browsing” however,when I make a card entirely for me and blog it,I feel much more complete. Gosh you’ve made me very philosophical. You certainly have no worries though,your creations are beautiful,I’m sure you must inspire many to want to create! Have a great weekend,Julie.x

  4. A good post and I love your pincushion and cushion… they are so cute and gorgeous.
    I have time but spend it procrastinating either because of chronic tiredness and general lack of enthusiasm and the ability to focus on something for very long. That and being a perfectionist. I wish I could let go of that flaw.

    1. So interesting … I think perfectionism can be a real problem, as you say, but good too, if it can get you to strive for improvement. The main thing is not to beat yourself up too much about things when they don’t go according to plan.

  5. I love the things you do ..all of them. The art rolls especially.
    I am newly retired in may of this year and I never knew it would be so much to get used to, yes more time but you end up saying I will do that later or tomorrow……..but yesterday I had some fleece arrive (a new cover for the dog bed) and I found I had ordered too much so I made the dog a fleece coat for the winter….not much but a bginning, Bx

    1. Hi Brenda – thanks for taking time to leave a comment. I know just the feeling – when I have a lot of time to devote to making something (at the weekend for instance), I really struggle to get started because I think, ‘oh, I’ve got ages’. That’s why I need deadlines!!

  6. I love that cushion- like really LOVE it. Why have I not seen this before?!

    My biggest thing that gets in the way is all of the other ideas, so then I end up with a zillion doodles and half finished bits and pieces (Oh you should see my UFO list at the minute it is embarrassing) and nothing actually finished…

  7. Interesting post. It’s comforting to find out that I’m not the only one with thoughts like these. I have the room and the urge to create but lack of time and insecurity over quality do concern me from time to time.
    Teresa x

  8. Lack of time and space are issues for me. We are adding on to our house and I hope to get a craft room out of it, so maybe for the first time ever I will have a little space to call my own. I also worry that my work isn’t good enough. I live in an area where everyone sews, quilts, scrapbooks, etc. I feel really inadequate. I LOVE your pin cushion, by the way.

  9. I can relate to all of the things you listed. Not having enough time and the fear of not being able to create things as well as others are the two big ones for me. I love to create but think that what I make isn’t that good. That’s tough to get past.
    I can’t believe you haven’t thought of yourself as creative. You are so talented!

  10. Hi Ali, now you got me thinking again, too. I would not have been able to put it into words as eloquently as you did, but your point on “Despondency” rang quite the bell with me.The fear of copying and not being good enough all rolled in one…(to google, or not to google?) BTW your pin cushion is beautiful, and so is your other work!!! So glad to be back.

  11. Oh I love that pincushion!

    What kills me? Work stress is my number one killer, or working long hours. Oddly enough having my plans thrown off so that I have less time to finish things I’ve promised knocks me off as well, and I fear rushing will make things look bad, and I’m a terrible perfectionist, and I’m SURE that other people can see the flaws in everything I make. Man, I have issues lol

  12. This is such a good post – thanks for sharing! I think lack of energy (and therefore time) gets in my way as well as knowing that I can’t draw (which I find ways round most of the time…). I’ll be interested to see what other people put, I think there will be lots of similarities!

  13. Procrastination gets in the way of my creativity! I put off doing things if I am afraid they won’t be as good as I hoped, or others might look at them and think they are very amateurish. Total insecurity takes over and I procrastinate for England rather than actually do the task at hand to the best of my ability, rather than comparing myself to everyone else.

    Great post and I really appreciated reading it!

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