Thursday, May 17, 2012

Being "Creative"

Do you consider yourself "creative?" 

We use that word often in our every day speech, especially if involved with any kind of artsy-type activity (or raising of children): 

"Oh, what a great fabric choice--it makes the quilt!!  You are so creative!"  

"I would have never thought of using neon purple zebra foil paper in a baby card!  Your creative juices were really flowing!!"

"If you want to get your four year-old to eat brussel sprouts, you'll have to be very creative!"

So, what does being "creative" mean? lists the definition as....

cre·a·tive  [kree-ey-tiv] adjective

1.having the quality or power of creating.
2.resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.; imaginative: creative writing.
3.originative; productive (usually followed by of ).
4.Facetious . using or creating  exaggerated or skewed data, information, etc.: creative bookkeeping.

Let's go through the definitions backwards and see how they apply to us.....  First of all, I'm sure none of us indulge in the fourth definition--we would never "cook the books" or try to lie with statics, right?  So that one doesn't (more accurately, shouldn't) fit into our quilting or any of our artistic outlets.  The third definition gets closer to our objective--how a group of "somethings" makes use of an imaginative approach (Paper, Figure and the New Casual Creativity of iOS ).

Now, we're getting closer to the heart of the matter with the second definition, "resulting from the originality of thought."  Hmm, having an original thought....that encompasses everything from getting all your homework done so you still have time to play to writing a poem to quilting a design that enhances the patchwork to inspiring a toddler to swill down brussel sprouts with vigor!  You're trying to have a thought that no one else has ever had-- think about that for a minute--a thought no one else has ever had in order to make life more pleasant or beautiful.

Okay, my head is swirling a bit as we move onto the next definition...."having the quality or power of creating."  In my experience, this is done in degrees.  None of us are so Omnipotent that we can speak and something comes into existence, so we convert something we already have into something different.  For example, cutting up pieces of perfectly good yardage and resewing them to make a quilt top.  Or dragging a pencil/paintbrush/crayon/marker across a page and sharing an image from our minds never before seen by human eyes.  

Our term is now defined.  If we look at the question again, "Do you consider yourself creative?" will you answer "yes"?  You should--certainly most of what you do every day requires creativity. My husband would never consider himself to be creative because he doesn't do "art."  Of course, he takes fantastic pictures, plans incredible vacations and solves a myriad of problems in work, all of which require the same creative thinking as it does for me to apply a quilting design to a quilt. As a first grade teacher, I needed a certain amount of creativity to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, while keeping everyone in their chair at the same time.  Even our kids come up with creative ways to avoid chores.  Being creative does not always have an artistic outcome.

So, should "creativity" only apply to the arts?  I don't think so.  In my humble opinion, creativity should be a way to make your life more enjoyable, whether it means you have a gorgeous quilt to keep you warm, a photograph that transports you to an exotic location or you've successfully vanished under the guise of homework before you mother reminded you for the sixth time to take out the trash.

The best part of creativity seems to be inspiring more creativity in a variety of directions!  That special photograph might have the color combination that makes a ho-hum quilt pattern drop-dead gorgeous!  One quilting idea that doesn't make the quilt sing might be just what the next quilt needs.  These are good things!  And, much to our daughters' dismay, I cannot think of one creative advantage to not doing your chores!

 I plan on making more of an effort to look for those creative toe-holds in my daily routine that will keep my mind fertile for new quilting ideas to sprout.  And, will be assured that regardless of what I'm doing in my daily routine, creativity is playing a part. 

 As always, your comments are appreciated!

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