On Creativity

So, here’s the thing about me and creativity: I have long been certain and professed openly that I don’t have any. Before we go any further, let me clarify that I don’t believe creativity and talent are the same thing. I’m an excellent execute-er (not to be confused with executor. Hahaha.), and I have lots of “talents.” But even then, I really believe that most things are less talent than practice and determination, and a good majority of the things I’m decent at come down to the fact that I’ve just been willing to try them, despite the fact that they seem weird/hard/insane for a layperson, but I didn’t know any better.

Anyway. I have tried a lot of things and have gotten to be OK at a fair list of them, but I have NEVER been one of those people whom you can go to for “ideas.” I have no ideas. You want ideas for a dance theme? For some cute way to keep kids busy? For just something different to do on a Friday night? Don’t come to me. I got nothin’.

I have similar idea-block when it comes to my creative hobbies. I have loads and loads of yarn (seriously, it’s embarrassing), but what to do with it? I DUNNO. Good thing there’s Ravelry, or I’d just be a crazy hoarder. Instead, I get to go online and basically Yarn Google each lovely skein on Ravelry and look at what everyone else did with my yarn. They all have such great ideas. Thank goodness for other knitters.

But I had an epiphany today. I was thinking about this little dress I finished recently for Audrey

and feeling a little pleased with myself since it looked exactly like the image I’d had in my head when I first saw the fabric. Very “I HAVE MADE FIRE!” if you know what I mean. (Also, I’ve had a sprained ankle for nearly a month, so considering that I needed to alter the sleeves and I can only sew for brief periods at a time right now, it was quite the triumphant moment. Anyway, epiphany:)

I am extremely visual when it comes to sewing. If I look at pattern books first, I end up choosing a pattern I love and then I have a really difficult time mentally letting go of the exact fabric shown on the cover. I’ve been sewing for more than twenty years, and I’m in my element with fabrics, but I’m just *that* visual.

However, I find that if I peruse the fabrics first, I can look at, say, a red polished cotton printed with big cream flowers and think “Halter dress! With a fat cream band across the neck!” A sheer gingham organza wants to be the skirt overlay for a white satin dress with puffy sleeves and a big black ribbon and red roses at the waist. And, as you see here, cotton embroidered with hibiscuses just had to be a keyhole-necked short-sleeved summer dress with bias trim.

But the stupid part is that only occurred to me today that that ability to visualize with fabric actually counts as creative. Oho! Aha! (duh.)

Yeah, I know. It may not be much–I still don’t have a clue where to go for dinner tonight–but hey! It’s something.


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