Come Along for the Ride

As I pondered what to write today, I considered all the just-finished and half-done projects I could tell you about. I have a variety of knitting and sewing projects in the works, knitting projects cast-off, and a whole host of other crafty pursuits scattered about my home. Shockingly, the weather was glorious this past weekend and so I spent hours and hours outdoors digging in the dirt (which means it's getting time for some posts about gardening.) But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I really wanted to talk about was the creative process that allows me to accomplish all these things.

I spend a lot of my life "creating." I'm a graphic designer by trade and a crafty maniac by passion. As I result, people often ask me, "how did you think of that?" And, while there is no road map to a clever idea, every individual has some sort of creative process. Identifying and developing those sparks of creativity is the skill that we should all nurture.

I have piles of sketchbooks with ideas old and new.
The difference between a well-executed creative idea and a mediocre one, is learning how to push your initial idea to the next level. Let me give you an example of MY creative process and how I took a seed of an idea and made it into something I'm really proud of:

As you all may be aware, Thing 1 has a Sesame Street-themed bedroom. I have been thinking about drapes for his room lately but no needle has actually touched fabric - yet. To get to a finished product, I started by scouring the internet for Sesame Street fabric options. Of course. Buying pre-printed fabric is the second easiest solution for having themed curtains in that room (first easiest solution would be buying already-made Sesame Street curtains, obviously.) There were some pretty cute fabric choices but nothing that really "wow'd" me. So, I started deconstructing the idea a bit by thinking in terms of a single color or a single, clean pattern that would coordinated with the room but wasn't really obviously Sesame Street. I decided that, if I pursued this line of thinking, the curtains would have looked fine, but not have the impact I was hoping for. Then, sticking with the idea of simplicity, I thought about focusing on just one Sesame Street character. Maybe then it would be more dramatic? So, I sketched ideas for Elmo, Big Bird and Kermit curtains but it wasn't until I starting playing around with ideas for "Count Curtains" that I got pretty excited and could actually visualize what they would look like in the room. It's important to recognize inspiration when it happens and give it a long leash. I knew that, when I was able to fully "see" the Count curtains with such ease, this was the right path to follow.

This album cover is big-time inspiration.
The walls of that room are a lively celery green and the window is really large so the draperies need to be bold. I visualized purple velvet curtains with wool-felt numbers hand-sewn all over them. Dramatic, lovely, and unusual. That purple will be a welcome addition to an already colorful room.

Getting an idea from a seed to a full-grown plan is, to use an old quote, two parts perspiration and one part inspiration. Some ideas (like this one) have only a few steps to inspiration...some have many, many more. Sometimes pushing an idea takes time, that is why projects in my house are in various stages of "done". It is more important to me to know that I've done something well, rather than just quickly. Now, I will admit that I've been at this for many, many years so the process comes to me faster than someone who hasn't. It's true that creativity is a muscle, you need to work it out to be in good shape. If only I could be so motivated to exercise my body! :)


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