Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nuturing Creativity in Yourself and Your Children

Just now I had to tell about myself to create this blog and I realized a few things about how creativity is nurtured.

Here is how it began for me:
Mother used to take us to "Back to School Fashion Shows" with a notepad in hand. We would then go directly to the fabric shop and create the same items at a cost the family could afford. Mother had a knack for seeing the latest accessory or color everyone would be wearing and transfer that to our wardrobes. We devoured  fashion magazines and "window shopped" at the stores we couldn't afford. I learned to sew  before I was 10 and remember making Easter outfits every year including the hat sometimes. Our mother had lost her mother before she was 10years old and she used to tell how she took and old adult coat and remade it into a coat for herself at an early age. The key seems to be  getting the skills, exposure to materials and an attitude to "just try it". Believe me everything attempted isn't a hit but the occasions when it is make it all worth it.
Getting the Skills
Sewing was a skill girls learned when I was a child. We had a Doll Clothes Design Club with our Ginny dolls. At first we just used scraps from out mother's scrap bag and cut and wrapped fabric. gradually we began hand sewing the scraps and eventually went to the sewing machine with our mothers' help. It was a Saturday morning party every week for a while.
I also learned to knit, embroider, do mosaics, paint fabric, and I even cover shoes with fabric to match an outfit in high school.
As I grew older I was away from home when I was trying to make a project, many states away from my mother ,and she advised me to just take it to a knit shop and they would show me how. Yes , they were wonderful and helpful (and non- judgemental) and they taught me to crochet too.
As time went on, if friend was learning a new skill, I would ask them to teach me. Most people are happy to help. Cross stitch, and hooking rugs came to me this way.
Some things are easily learned at a class: ceramics, fabric painting, and tole painting are some things I learned this way. The basics are learned at the class but it takes practice before one becomes skillful.
The latest and greatest way to learn is you tube. I see something cute and do a search. It is always there with a "how to" video. The reason I say it is the greatest is because I can pause and replay as I do my own work with the teacher. All in the comfort of my easy chair ... and free.
Being Inspired by Materials
I enjoy haunting fabric shops, hobby and craft centers and on-line sources. I do this alone a lot. I can spend 3 hours looking, dreaming, imagining and planning without knowing there is a concept of time. I have certain friends who share the addiction and I will call them or they will call me when we don't have a time limit and we can lose ourselves in shop touching and looking at fabric, yarns, trims beads,etc. I know which friends enjoy which material the most , so I call the appropriatly addicted friend. Bouncing ideas off of each other doubles the fun.
Finding a Reason to Create
  • Usually a beautiful material will be all the inspiration I need.
  •  Sometimes I see something I want that passes the test. "Can I make it?" "Is it worth the time" "Would it be fun?"
  • Do I need a personal gift  for someone "made from the heart"
Be Accepting of Yourself (or the loved one you are teaching)
Skill takes time. We often get discouraged and quit. Some skills will be easier than others and some may take more patience. Everyone makes mistakes. Any skilled craftsperson will tell you they have ripped out as many stitches as they put in. When I begin teaching people to knit I always empahsize that it looks lumpy and uneven for a while but it will get better. I can figure out what errors they made and help them only because I made so many errors when I was learning. Be gentle with yourself!  This is probably the most important aspect of creation.

Find your Style
You have a style in how you put yourself together, decorate your house or even choose your car. Obviously, most of us admire style we cannot afford.You are constantly changing your style and adapting it but you have a style. Recognize this, become aware of it , how is your style unique in some way? How does it express you? This is important, accept it and accept that others have their style. Don't try to change them or judge yourself by a standard set by the media , your friends, or the times you live in. It needs to be practical enough to adapt to your life but that is the only limit I see. Teenagers go through a style a minute while they are finding themselves. They need to have this time to explore. Back off parents as long as they aren't doing things that harm them physically or get them arrested maybe we should let them look foolish for a while. you will be surprised how they become more like you as they grow up.

Oh sometimes a project will start with one idea and in the process it decides to beome something better so be flexible.

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