My friends and associates often remark that I’m creative when they see my original fabric art work. I’m always appreciative of that feedback yet the ‘you’re creative’ comment seems to be followed silently by “but I’m not.” Of course I never used the word to describe myself when I was growing up. I just did things that would get ridiculed for its non-conformity, then I found a ‘safe’ place – sewing; but little did I know where sewing would lead.
The dictionary defines creativity as “the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” So if creativity is the use of imagination, what is imagination? The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects…. When I started making the body of work I do now, it was after I had been creating applique work on T-shirts and bags, so I was somewhat comfortable cutting fabric into artistic shapes and mixing them together. But when I began to work on my first large piece using what I call raw edged applique, something about the newness of it so scared me that I put away the piece for months and wouldn’t work on it.
Forming new ideas or images or concepts – often those of us who do so are ridiculed, or dismissed, because guess what, we don’t ‘see’ things the way others do. Yet, it is invariably we who do the most censoring of ourselves. We who procrastinate and find important ’stuff’ with which to fill our time and our life, while the ability to form new ideas or images or concepts sits quietly in the right hand corner of your brain, waiting.
I acknowledge the assistance of several persons in my creative journey, however, it is a journey where I had to take the steps. Usually that is how it is. We have to make the way, where there is no way. We have to show up and rescue the ability from the corner, we have to determine to go forward and express ourselves fully, then begin to practise, practise, practise forming new ideas or concepts.
You may wonder if it is important to be creative and if so why.
I remember a television show called Mac Gyver, (1985 – 1992) often his only way out situations were unusual ones. Watch this short clip where he rescues a hostage. He begins by saying, “All right, let’s see what we’ve got to work with.”
Creativity is important for problem solving, charting new directions, creating growth and expansion. Without using your ability to form new ideas, images or concepts it is easy to think that someone else has to solve your problems, chart new directions and create growth and expansion in your world. Creativity is really perspective, something with which we are all endowed. So run, don’t walk to the right side of your brain where your ability to be creative is sitting quietly waiting.
I finally finished the piece with the help of Marina Simmons, another artist, it’s called Pink Lady and is on display at the Charlestown Gallery in Nevis. An image of Pink Lady is in the last frame of the gallery page.