Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Creative Process

I had just purchased some scrumptious red, white and black fabric, and was sitting down to figure out what to make with it when my brother called.

“Can’t talk now – I’m designing a quilt.”

“How do you manage that? By…”

No, it does not involve pulling ideas out of my posterior. Since you want to know, Bubba, here it is. But I’m warning you, it ain’t pretty (or even sane).

Process I: Bolt From The Blue (my favorite). This involves standing around, minding my own business, when – BOOM! – inspiration strikes. The downside is that it usually occurs when I am unable to write down my perfect bolt of blueness: I’m asleep, in the shower, standing in line at the store with an armload of groceries, or at the bank, so when I excitedly pull my notebook and pencil from my purse, it looks like I’m pulling out my Handy Dandy Bank Robbin’ Kit. I had no idea that bank employees were so skittish.

Process II: Sit Down & Doodle (this has steps!)

1. Get paper, pencil and fabric for inspiration.
2. Sit down at desk and stare at fabric.
3. Draw a blank.

This is where the ugliness (insanity?) starts.

Internal Voice (alter personality?): C’mon get going!
Me: I got nothing.
IV: Just start doodling for cryin’ out loud!
Me: Sounds good. Doodle, doodle, doooo :-( 
IV: What are you doing?

Me: Huh? I’m doodling. What does it look like I’m doing?
IV: Not designing a quilt.
Me: Would you quiet down so I can think?

Next, I put my elbows on the desk, and cover my eyes with my hands. This blocks out the distractions, plus makes it look like I’m weeping. Other family members steer clear, thus further reducing distractions.

Me: Hmm, should I do a variation on the Log Cabin pattern?
IV: No, everyone’s done that twice.
Me: Hawaiian appliqué?
IV: Remember the Diva Moment you had last time? Took the scissors to it?
Me: Yyyeahhh. I’m looking at blackness here. Utter and complete blackness, just like my career.
IV: Oh criminy! Here we go again. Would you please quit feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it?
Me: Zzzzz
IV: Wake up loser and get going!
Me: What to make? What to make? How about chicken for dinner?
IV: Stay on track! I’m going to leave if you don’t stop this.
Me: Mission accomplished!

If nothing comes from that exercise, I stand up and start swaying from side to side, like I’m comforting a baby. This usually unclutters my mind, but is not successful all the time.

IV: What are you doing?
Me: Shut up! I’m trying to design here!
IV: Whatever. How about some appliqué? Throw in a bright color just to mix things up?
Me: That might just work. Maybe yellow.

Then I pull out some more fabric, start drawing, and everyone lives happily ever after. But sometimes, nothing comes from the ol’ Creative Department, and no one lives happily ever after. Next comes pacing or putting my forehead against a wall. Bad news either way.

Me: This isn’t working. I’m going to do something else, and maybe I’ll get a Bolt From The Blue.
IV: That won’t happen. You’ll start doing laundry or errands or surfin’ the Web, and forget all about it until you need something new for the site. Then you’ll be running around, squawking about how you’re always pushed for time and never have a creative moment to yourself. Like you’re some special diva who has special needs. Blah, blah, blah.
Me: Would you shut up so I can think??!!

Husband: Why are you arguing with yourself? You’re scaring the dog. How many of you are in there anyway?
IV: *crickets chirping*
Me: Just having artistic differences with myself, dear.
Husband: *crickets chirping*, one eyebrow up in the air.

Then he leaves, I’m sure to measure the guest room for padding. By this time all’s quiet in the Design Department, so I can now get a little work done. First, I get out a piece of paper, a pencil and the fabric for inspiration…

The next time you're stuck for an idea, try these tips.  They really work! ;-D

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