Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

creativity and an assignment


I’ve been thinking of writing more about creativity on the blog. I’m not quite sure how to start. Even though (god help me) I have a degree in philosophy, I feel rather silly saying, “And now we will discuss the nature of creativity!” But at the same time, that is what I need–someone telling me what to do, a place to start. There is so much to talk about and creativity is so hard to pin down.

People think creativity is a thing you have or your don’t have, like blue eyes or curly hair. There is even this trend to say you are part of the creative class or that you are “a creative.” Oh barf. I think simply being a human being means you have to be creative: to stay alive, to raise your kids, to like your job, to get dinner on the table every night. But recognizing your creativity, understanding how it works, and accessing it is difficult. It’s like a muscle and muscles get weak when we don’t use them.  (more…)

what I have to offer is me

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. I encourage you to go look at people’s stories of creative block and their cures for it (there are a few pages of comments, so dig a little). Talking about the diffuculties of making should be part of creative blogs, don’t you think? I mean it can’t be all wine and finished projects. Everyone has a dark corner or a box or a garbage can full of failed projects and honestly it is those projects we should be taking photos of and blogging about, because that’s where good ideas hide.

This is an exerpt of a beautiful speech on creativity and making by Charlie Kaufman. This video makes it both easier to cope with our creative selves and harder at the same time. Watch, then watch again.

creativity block


I haven’t been down in my studio for a good three months. Three months! You could call it creativity block or you could call it my own personal soul sucking, fear mongering, mental fog inducing, self-esteem deflating, psychosis making machine.  Not to put too fine a point on it or anything.

studio wall

I try not to ask myself why I tape flowers and leaves on the wall, or make my kids’ undies, or crochet cozies for our ottoman, because there is no satisfying answer. But questions do creep in: why not make something less ridiculous? why not make something that is actually profitable? why waste your time making silly things to show the internet? why do this when so many people do it better? why not use that expensive education of yours? Once the questions start, they don’t stop, and they become debilitating.  Soul sucking now seems a more appropriate term than creativity block, don’t you think?

fabric stacks

But making things, be it underwear, tools, flying suits, computer programs, or whatever, is what humans do. Our survival once depended on our ability to solve problems creatively. Now that drive is part of who we are and when the urge to make things goes unfulfilled we feel less human.

So I’m trying, trying to make things again, trying to feel human again. I know I hit these creative brick walls yearly and slam into them repeatedly until I find a ladder, but this time the ladder has been hard to find. I cleaned up my studio yesterday–even slapped some paint on the wall–hoping the ladder was there somewhere. Does this happen to you (hit a wall, let the sewing machine gather dust, avoid even thinking about making)? How do you get past it?


learning to sew and french macarons


Soozs had a fantastic post last week about learning to sew. Among other things, she talks about how frustrating it is, but how with every mistake you make you are learning how to do something and how not to do something.  I remember screaming at the sewing machine when I first learned how to sew and there are still moments when I find myself swearing at the machine, or the fabric, or myself. Learning anything is frustrating as hell (just ask my 4 year old) but I think sewing has taught me to be patient with myself. So yesterday, when I was trying to make french macarons and failing miserably I went back to her post and read it again.


I used to make these cookies a lot when I worked in a bakery, but I had a professional oven and vats of ingredients and a huuuge dishwasher at my disposal.  I have none of that here.  My oven is very old and very crappy. These cookies are ridiculously delicate and difficult to make–they even have their own verb in french that describes the way you mix the batter.  So my day was spent failing (and eating my failures–sugar high! sugar high!).  But thanks to Soozs’ pep talk, I ended up with a few good batches.


And after a few more failures I now have a lovely platter of french macarons to take to a baby shower tonight.


Do go over to Soozs’ blog and read her post on learning to sew, even if you learned a long time ago.  And if you’ve joined the Kid Clothes Challenge (and yay there are so many of you already!) or are thinking about it jump over to this post about sewing for your kids on Indietutes because it’s pretty good too.  Now I’m going to see if there are any failures for me to snack on.

mobile swap 2oo9

When I said I’d post the sign up on Monday morning, I of course meant Tuesday evening. Sorry. But it’s here! the 2oo9 Mobile Swap! I started this last year after putting away all my holiday decorations and feeling that my house looked so sad and empty. Well, it’s taken a little longer to get the decorations down to the basement this year, but the house is looking bare now and a pretty mobile would be just the thing to bring it back to life.  If you’d like a mobile of your very own (and try your hand at making one too) please email the following information to (edited to correct address)

Please write “mobile swap 2009” in the subject line, if you don’t I could lose your email in spamland.

1. name

2. email address

3. website (if you have one)

4. mailing address

5. favorite colors

6. whether the mobile you’d like to receive is for a baby’s room (and his or her age probably would help). If you would particularly like to make a mobile for a baby’s room, say that here.

That’s it! The mobile can be out of any kind of material using any design you can think up. Sign up by Friday January 30th and I’ll send you your partner’s information the following Monday. I’ll try to arrange it so you send to one person, but receive a package from another–just to mix it up. Packages should be sent out by Saturday February 28th. There is a new flickr group for this year,  but be sure to visit last year’s group to see all the awesome mobiles! I made two different mobile swap buttons so you get to choose between a classy lady and a dapper dude. Please copy and paste them onto your blog (or click on the pictures and it will take you to the link to use) and spread the word! Now I really need to pack up the rest of those christmas decorations.