Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Skill vs Creativity - What now?

I have had quite a bit of "car" time this week. I don't know about anyone else, but put me in a car, or a shower and my brain wanders. For the last couple of days, the main subject has been my skill vs creativity in my work.

I tend to be a "Jack of all Trades, Master of None". A fine example is that I currently have two bridesmaids dresses worth of sewing materials sitting on my table for a wedding. In another life, this was my creative outlet. I can sew to a pretty decent level. I am no professional designer. I would classify myself in more of an upper hobby level seamstress. I can alter patterns and even make some of the very basic patterns from scratch. I can do a drapery method of designing to a small extent. I quit sewing for a variety of reasons. None of them seems incredibly relevant other than I just lost my sewing "mojo". Every once in a while I will pick up some fabric and my scissors and test to see if I have lost all of my skill. I am confident that I can sew these dresses because they are not heavy on customization. As long as I can remember how to follow the directions, all should go well. Quite honestly, the reason I volunteered to give my time to the girls was to save money. I have lost most of my "creative" in the "creative outlet" that sewing used to be. Could I get it back if I tried? The answer to that question changes with the time of day and mood I am in.

My "Mojo" consisted of clients, usually my kids and family, that wanted something special to wear and my need to provide that something with an "over the top" personal touch. When my oldest daughter entered first grade, everything she wore, minus jeans and undergarments, was hand made. Every concert and holiday was an excuse to make something new and exciting. As those requests died down, my drive to keep going died with it.

Interestingly enough, this 15 year old hobby is what initiated my interest in art. As I dove into sewing, I became more and more interested in historical costuming. Just like art, I preferred doing the hand stitched, time consuming details. Some things never change. I discovered a need to get a basic idea down on paper as I thought of design changes. This got me sketching, which lead to drawing, which lead to more and more art until I got to where I am today.

I am taking a good look at the evolution of my creative nature so that I can try to get a glimpse of where I am going. What motivates me? What discourages me? Even though I don't think I am on the brink of burnout, what burns me out completely? (I do know that without a creative outlet I drive myself and my family crazy. ) Am I simply one of those people that needs to change things every few years and start a new cycle? Will the two eventually come together? (this has been a question brewing in the back of my brain since I started perusing art skills seriously) Is the need to make something with my hands honestly considered creativity? Am I truly creative? Or am I one of those people who always have to be learning something?

At the moment, I only have questions and no solid answers. I am content with the idea of figuring this out as I go. Though I am not a fan of ultimate destiny theories, I am a believer that every experience has a purpose.

Of course, I could always conclude that I have had way too much time in a car this week.

1 comment:

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Anna, not to discourage you, but I still have those thoughts and I just got my invitation to Medicare. :) There is a nice blog about this on Nancy Moskovitz blog at
For some reason the blog on July 31, Paint, Paint, Paint shows on her main page if you scroll down, but doesn't open in the archives or its own page. Interesting that she gave up her crafts and went to painting.

You just never know, I guess.