I wasn’t planning on writing today, but then I read Stephanie’s post on her My Vintage Inspiration blog on Individualization. I didn’t know then how much her words would drill into me, stirring thoughts neatly packed away in my head. I am most grateful of her being so generous with her thoughts, spreading and sharing bravely very intimate perceptions. Thank you Stephanie!
So strong was my reaction that I quickly headed here, to jot down a few things I wanted to expand upon. Mostly for my benefit as I am starting to realize that about 40% of my posts drafts see the the light of day, whereas the most part sits quietly in my unpublished/unfinished pile. This post doesn’t really stand on its own, so I would recommend reading Stephanie’s first, but just to give hurried readers an inkling of where I’m coming from: Individualization questions today’s need for instant gratification, discussing how this has to do with a general lack of personalization effort in favor of a more comfortable and safer approach to creativity, that is copying/working form pre-made designs.
I was so drawn into this post because I simultaneously strongly agreed and strongly disagreed to the observations raised. How fascinating! This speaks to me of a very, very clever observation that piques my clichés and forces me to reconsider what I think of myself. Without making this post a tiresome and pedantic comment of someone else’s work, I would only say that it forced me to ask myself yet again “why do you create?” and “what is Creativity?”, of course within the much mundane boundaries of dressmaking. I leave the Very Big Questions to braver minds (my comment to Stephanie’s great post is in the comment section of the same if you’re curious).
So finally, after this long preamble, allow me to ramble some more about what I think of Creativity.
Creativity is a boundless force, mostly two sided. It exists as an imaginific, or visionary, exertion* which I will call of the mind, and a physical transformative force here roughly described as of the hands. These are never mutually exclusive and rarely neatly separated… in a vast expanse of one you will always find a hint of the other. A bit like the Chinese Dao, with the Yin and Yang moving and dissolving into each other.
I don’t personally value one above the other, but I can see why it’s easy to do so. The Creativity of the Hands is the bread to our brioches; is all about the hearty, uncomplicated pleasure of Making. It’s a close cause-effect reaction that is most of all external rather than internal. The power of creation is instead the biggest mystery of mankind, the one thing that keeps us all wrapped in layers and layers of awe and mysticism since the down of time. Also, quite coarsely, the Creativity of the Mind is arguably what distinguishes Art from Craft.
Looking back to my childhood I have always been more crafty than arty, with a very vibrant, albeit shy imagination. This has lots to do with personality and there is a reason if artists are often considered rebels: it takes guts to let your Art run free and expose yourself to judgment rather than secure praise. Any deviation from normal is an adventure into unknown territory and too much fantasy books taught me that adventure is much safer when experienced by proxy! Not very brave, is it? However, one of the beautiful things of age is that it brings understanding. At times of reflection I look back at who I am through who I have been and learn to love the limitations that now offer me so many challenges.
Since embracing dressmaking, one challenge has been to give more free reign to my mind-creativity, offering it the security of a decent execution through reliable hand-skills. It’s a slow process, one I feel I want to go through slowly and very gently. I want to ease myself into a new vision of where my imagination can take me, more like a marathon than a sprint. I’ve set my brain on slow cooker mode, where it collects intel and inspiration and it lets it simmer lovingly, quietly bubbling away in the back of my mind. Some days I smell interesting fragrances in my own head and go lift the lid, where I find a new idea ready to be born. That gives me guidance on the hand-skills I need to learn to support my mind-vision, which for me is a perfect cycle.
What feels more you, Creativity of the Mind or Creativity of the Hands?