September 28, 2008

What inspires you to knit or sew?

Why do we create? What inspires each of us to knit or sew, or even to write about it to the world? As my daughter is beginning her AQ course in painting, and possibly in scultpture, too, I am wondering about the creative process. What is it that keeps us going, beyond all odds, to actually finish a project? I think there is something inate about being a creator--that spirit that says to create is simply part of each of us. Some express it in words, some in music, some in the gift of hospitality, or in interior decorating, or collecting dolls or computers. Some express it in fibre--knitting, sewing, sculpture, embroidery, cross stitch, all of them are expressive arts. Some of us express it in costume, either wardrobe or stage costume. Some in quilts. But I think that the spirit to create is always present.

At the moment, however, mine has been stretched out, and is not enthused about much of anything.

To try and jumpstart my mojo, I joined the PR Pattern stash contest. This one is a 'make any pattern from your stash' (one point per new pattern) contest that runs until the end of October. I know I won't win. I think I got 'sewed out' this summer, so I am just trying to get myself back into the sewing mojo by joining. I would be happy with myself if I made just two patterns from my extensive stash. My only problem, however, is that I have to pick something to start with, and I have too many choices.

In my head, I understand that good art, like good costumes, start with a basic underlying structure, and that the structure frees the artist to become very creative. Form follows function, in a sense. Perhaps this is why 'wardrobe planning' is so seductive--it is sewing within a structure of colour and shape, for the reality of your lifestyle (or the lifestyle that you wish you had!). But, right now, my planning is a jumble of patterns in a bucket, with no underlying structure to help me focus. Pick a new pattern doesn't seem to be enough structure for me--there are too many things that would work.

Maybe that is why the 'progressive wardrobe' idea is calling me. This will be the next contest in PR , and it will run November and December. From what I understand it will work like this: make something, and then make something else that works with it. And keep going. The person with the most items made that work together at the end of two months wins. Well, actually, everyone wins because you end up with a wardrobe that works together when you do this. Somehow, this approach to sewing appeals to me right now, the organic planning of making things work together, progressively. Pick a pattern or two that will work with the insane stash in the basement. Work with only a few colours. Make each new item work with at least one item from the wardrobe (new or previously made). And just sew for the fun of it.

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