Thursday, 1 September 2016

My creative process

We are born with an urge to create.  I saw this in my kids when they were barely able to hold crayons and make expressive marks on paper (AND WALLS!).     Playdough becomes moulded into monsters or sausages, paint is splattered to create abstract art.

The wonderful thing about little kids is that they just CREATE.  They are free of inhibition, free of self doubt, full of imagination, and absolute beginners.

The beginner is a beautiful thing.  I was one as I started my own creative journey into quilting.  I felt that buzz of excitement at all the possibilities.  The thrill of teaching myself (with the help of youtube) how to use a little sewing machine.  The freedom of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, whether it was right or wrong.  I had never even heard of the Quilt Police - damn them!

So now 10 years later and still quilting, I wanted to share a little about my own creative journey and the things I have learned along the way.  I will then hand over to the lovely Lucy Engels of Skinnymalinkyquilts,  who will guest post here and share  her experiences and creative tips as an artist and quilter.
I will then talk about  some of the brick walls we ALL hit in our creative journeys and how we can overcome them.  There will be some practical advice on what we can do when we lose our mojo or sewjo.( it happens to us all!)  

My creative process is always growing, changing and evolving.
I wasn't even aware I had one or it mattered to begin with.  I just created some things I liked the look of, not really bothering if my quarter inch seam allowance was perfect ( sssh I didn't know this was even a thing to start with) or my stitching was even.  There was no benchmark for technical ability because I had never done it before! It was quite a liberating time.  As time has gone on I would say that I have changed creatively and with that the way I do things.
  • organic - I work really organically - for me that means I don't meticulously plan.  For a quilt, I will of course do the essentials of fabric needed and a basic layout, but so often I change my mind along the way; I choose a different fabric , change something that isn't working, add things, or start all over again (yup I have done this often!).   I have tried to plan to the last detail but it really just isn't me.  I can do it if necessary but I feel more at home allowing my rough plans to blossom into something.  It is almost like the fabric and quilts tell me what they want me to do with them when I am on a roll ( on other occassions we fall out and argue and I will talk about this more soon). 
  •  ideas - they seem to come to me at the oddest of times.  Sometimes when I am doing the most mundane tasks ( washing up, hoovering) one will pop into my head.  I try to write them down but often forget.  They are not always workable but it is like a little golden nugget when one pops in and it might just be a keeper! I am also inspired by EVERYTHING I see. 



  • evolve - this is linked in with an organic way of working.  Often I will start with an idea or a design.  This happens quite often with my drawing and painting work.  Once I begin making marks on paper or quilting a design I may have a "happy accident" and discover something that I  have got to carry on with.  It might not be in the plan but I have to go with the creative flow.  I may never get that moment back.  So it could be a mix of colours that goes totally against colour principles but just works or different types of paints creating an unusual reaction on fabric or paper, for example.
  • discipline -  this is the most disciplined thing I do!  I find self discipline personally very hard. I work from home, when the kids are at school and there are many distractions all around.  Not even welcome ones but you know the stuff, housework, pets, housework, tea, biscuits, and random appearances from folk who think you do nothing all day!  To be creative, I need to put the work in.  Discipline has become much more important as a result of my teaching  patchwork and magazine commissions.  The transition from hobby to freelance quilter has meant I have to approach my creativity almost in a job like fashion.  It can be done and still be a passion.  If I am at my work table with fabric and a rough idea in tow, then the creativity usually flows.  Of course, there are days when it all goes up shit creek but that is for week 3.  All I can say just now is hang in there, we all get those days, but there is always tomorrow! 
So what is your creative process?  Do you plan to within an inch of your creative life?  Are you more organic, do you create only when you feel like it?  If you have a creative career, how do you work?  Do you have a strict routine, a ritual you need to perform before you create or generate ideas? I must always have a cup of tea to hand before I do anything. 
This week I would love for you to link up any blog posts or share on Instagram using the hashtag #howtogrowyourcreativity on your process and how you like to create.
Think about how an idea gets from your head to a tangible item.  By doing this, I hope that we can help each other learn and GROW our creativity.  It can be a blog post or a photo or an inspiring quote. 
  • Next Thursday Lucy Engels shares what makes her tick creatively.  The following week we cover that dreaded moment of when our mojo goes and what to do!
Collette x
p.s. don't forget that anyone taking part in the link up each week or participating and using the hashtag on Instagram and is a follower of mine will be eligible to be in the fabric prize draw.  This will be 4 fat quarters of fabric and maybe some other little bits and bobs. I will draw the winner on our last week of this series.
lovely prize draw fabric!


9 comments:

  1. I completely agree about ideas and 'evolve' is something I have to work on. Organic is such a great description of your process! Love this series Collette!

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  2. This is so close to my heart. I call discipline 'focus' though and it's my word for this year but boy it's a battle for me. I have a firm belief in creativity mixed in with mixing with other sew-a-holics and have written a blog post about fear. I won't link that now though, I think this deserves new focus for me but my creativity process is rather 'vague' to say the least but boy it's good when it strikes and the rest of the world 'does one' to leave me to get on with it! ;-)

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    1. Focus - an excellent word! I will take a look at that blog post as it sounds interesting xx

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  3. I often don't know where I'm going but love the journey!

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  4. Great post... I have found you and am now a follower via Lucy @charmabouyou....😀 love this theme. I am a nervous quilter, follow patterns, like to get things 'right'.. but having taken 'very early' retirement. I now want to expand my creativity.... so I have been playing more with fabric and stitching and just making it up. I have started with baby 'Quilts because they are small and easily quilt able. I am even Free Motion Quilting now😀 my routine is, to go I to my sewing room whuch I share with visitors...with a cup of tea, switch an audio book on for background and start. Going through stash and playing....I have been inspired by scraps on white and have done a couple of these . I like the splashes of colour. I am going to start a machine embroidery course later this month and am looking forward to 'playing' more on this too. Interesting topic 😀 hugs and glad to have found you xx

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  5. Great post... I have found you and am now a follower via Lucy @charmabouyou....😀 love this theme. I am a nervous quilter, follow patterns, like to get things 'right'.. but having taken 'very early' retirement. I now want to expand my creativity.... so I have been playing more with fabric and stitching and just making it up. I have started with baby 'Quilts because they are small and easily quilt able. I am even Free Motion Quilting now😀 my routine is, to go I to my sewing room whuch I share with visitors...with a cup of tea, switch an audio book on for background and start. Going through stash and playing....I have been inspired by scraps on white and have done a couple of these . I like the splashes of colour. I am going to start a machine embroidery course later this month and am looking forward to 'playing' more on this too. Interesting topic 😀 hugs and glad to have found you xx

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  6. By total coincidence, I am wrote about creative block today over on my blog..! Lucy @charmaboutyou pointed me in your direction. I'll take advantage and share with your hashtag tomorrow. I always have to have a cup of tea in hand too!

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    1. I just saw this today ?! Weird huh will have a read at your post xxxx

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