Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How do you define "creativity"?

When asked how he would define creativity, Seth Godin (a hero of mine) replied:
"This might not work."

Which seems the best definition ever.

How would you define creativity?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The habit of creating

Creativity has been a focus for me over the past couple of years:  reading, thinking, taking classes, practicing.  I've learned more about creativity and will be continuing to learn.   I've just started reading 'The Creative Habit" by choreographer Twyla Tharp.  She writes about creative people and how they put themselves into the creative flow--what I would think of as a "trigger."  For a dancer it might be the morning workout, for a writer it might be walks in nature, or whatever tells the mind and soul that it's time to open up ad let the creativity flow.

It takes me a while to develop new habits (though not quite as long as breaking old ones) so I'm not there yet, but I'm working on forming a creative habit in the morning--and morning sometimes means 3 a.m.  My morning routine includes some stretching exercises but now I keep my sketch book on the bedside table, and before I'm up to do the exercises (and still stumble into the shower) I welcome the day and then steer my mind to the creative flow to come up with one quilt design idea, which then goes into my sketch book.  I may not ever make that quilt, but then again I might, and the more ideas to choose from when it comes time to sit down and sew, the better.   What excites my quilting imagination today may not interest me at all next week, or what seems pretty marginal today might inspire me--or a new idea--tomorrow.

Because I'm of a certain age, I spend a lot of time awake during the night and now I've started to challenge myself during those times.  When my mind starts the infinite loop of worrying about one thing or another (don't things always seem worse at night?) I now challenge myself to come up with 6 new quilt design ideas; the focus of my brain switches off the worry and to something more comforting.  Now, I'm not saying that all of my 3 a.m. ideas seem quite as worthy in the morning, but I have designed some interesting things in the pre-dawn hours.    I have a choice at 6 a.m., then:  choose one of the six ideas to go into the sketch book, or I can enter the list of 6 ideas into the sketchbook in lieu of the one, daily design.

So far, it's working pretty well.  I missed it yesterday morning (did I mention that it takes me awhile to develop a new habit?) but my sketch book is growing quickly and, better still, I start the day with creativity flowing, and that can only be good for the rest of my day.

Do you have a creative habit?  What gets your creativity flowing?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The most luscious yarn

Last night I finished a shawl from a pattern by Susan Santos (as a part of the Luxury Yarn Club).  This is the most luscious yarn I have ever felt--45% qiviut, 45% cashmere, and 10% silk.  I'm always happy to finish knitting a project, but I will miss the feel of this yarn!

I need to order more blocking mats and when I get them I'll re-block it, but I couldn't wait to see what it will, in general, look like.

There are clear beads in the edging, and I like that little bit of sparkle, and the wee bit of weight to help with the drape.   I'm glad that it's finished while the weather is still cold enough to be able to wear it around my neck because it is going to feel SO good.  (Did I mention how luscious the yarn is?)

Now, on to quilting projects.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quilters in community

Yesterday I finally was able to attend a monthly "Quilts from the Bluffs" work day, where quilters gather to work on quilts for Project Linus, local hospitals, and other organizations serving people who could derive comfort from quilts.   ( Kudos to Jeanine, who heads the project.)  There's something for everyone, no matter what you like to do--cutting, piecing, quilting, binding.  I wasn't able to stay for long, but I did bring home several quilts to bind.  (Isn't it funny how some people hate to bind, and some of us don't mind at all?   It's good to have a group of quilters because you're bound to have at least one who likes to do just about anything you need done, and no one has to do something that isn't quite their cup of tea!)

Community has been such a big part of quilting over the years.  It can be a very solitary sort of process and art, or it can be very communal and collaborative, or a mix of both.  Quilting bees and guilds have traditionally brought quilters together for a variety of purposes-to quilt tops for a woman who is getting married,  to share ideas and company and brownies (oh, did I type that out loud?), to share and swap blocks, or to make quilts for comfort or commemoration.  

Creativity is an essential part of a quilter's toolbox and technology has allowed us to be creative in how we do community, too.  Face to face is still my favorite, though I am kind of a geek, but I'm grateful for the tools that technology offers us for communing--online forums, online classes, videochatting, blogs, videos on YouTube, and who knows what else that might be found in the days to come.

What's your favorite kind of community with your quilting?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Quilts Matter

Sorry to have been away for awhile--family needs.

Yesterday I was invited to do a presentation on quilts at a rural woman's conference. (Boots to Heels conference; don't you just love it?)  I was very pleased to be asked, and have been spending some time thinking about the topic for the presentation.   Some of the women may be quilters, but not necessarily all of them, so it will need to be different than a presentation to a guild.

My father passed away last month, and part of decisions about his home involved quilts, some old family quilts and some newer ones that Mom made.  With that fresh in my mind and heart, I decided that I would talk about why quilts matter--quilts as biography.  They tell us a lot about us (women, especially), both collectively and individually, in the past and now and in the future.  For me, they mean:  comfort, connection, community, collaboration, continuity and creativity.   

I'm looking forward to finding and pulling out examples of quilts that represent those qualities and characteristics, and sharing them.  And I hope the women at the conference will have stories to share, too.

Why do you think quilts matter?