Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the water heater of creativity

last week, i had the opportunity to discuss the mysteries of creativity for an entire afternoon. and i got to pick the brain of a very creative person. who hates to be called that. because there's so much pressure in it, isn't there? and while you can generally be creative, you often don't really have that much control over it. much of what we discussed was about creativity and creative people's place in business and i'll be writing about that elsewhere. but something he said stuck in my head...he said he felt that creativity was like the hot water tap. when you turn on cold water, it's always there, but when you turn on hot, it's there, but eventually it runs out and has to be replenished.

from the great jacabunny photoshoot - by sabin
but the difficulty is in finding one's own inner water heater, isn't it? what is it that recharges you? i watch sabin, who seems to be able to be endlessly and spontaneously creative, all the time. she sees the creative potential in everything around her...from the box the veggies come in to some bits of fabric scraps, to simply taking 1335 (not kidding) photos of our growing kit lane jacabob collection. and she seemingly never needs to stop and recharge.

my inner water heater functions best when i have a change of scenery. i can get very bogged down if i remain in the same physical space for too long. even if that space is home, which is filled with people and cats and bunnies and things i love.  i don't need to go far, i just need to get out. and get new impulses, see new things, eat new food, breathe new air.  last week's winter holiday was just what i needed.

a new work in progress
i can always tell that the hot water of creativity will flow again when i wake up with pictures in my head of things i want to create, or when i can scarcely fall asleep because so many exciting ideas are going through my mind. these last two photos are a hint of the picture that was in my head when i awoke yesterday.

the space ships are coming!
i'm looking for a way to combine the things i love...photography and fabric. there are many, many pretty pictures out there now that everyone has a digital camera, so it's difficult to stand out from the crowd on etsy or big cartel. i think sometimes that the pictures are too pretty in their glossy perfection once you've had them printed, so i wanted to break the integrity of the photo down a little bit. i'm still working on it, but i'll back back later to show you what i mean...i've got to keep going while the water's still hot.


will said...

Some of best, most creative things I've done have not been planned. Maybe the prep/planning was sensing good lighting or tapping my own energy. I've walked up to many a canvas with no idea of what the painting will be. After the seemingly random slashing of paint I instantly know the painting's content.

Building furniture is different. First, I scribble cartoonish drawings on paper, then wood is carefully selected and I begin building, making changes as I work. With constant refinement during construction I usually end up with a handsome piece of furniture of my design.

celkalee said...

I absolutely love the "hot water" analogy! Couldn't agree more. I attended a lecture by a national quilt historian last week. One of her opening questions to the group was..."Are you an artist who likes to quilt?" or "Are you a quilt artist?" The show of hand responses were very revealing. Most of the responses were...quilt artists. It was a quilt guild meeting. About 6 people were artists who also quilted. With minimal exposure to these people one would know that. The artists among us use their creativity to quilt. My brain is frequently in over-drive, I have sketch books everywhere, I have many projects going simultaneously. I have discovered needle felting. Stepping out of my self-imposed color boundaries. I feel your joy, the hot water is flowing!

Char said...

i thought of you as i went to my first ikea store on saturday. it was most overwhelming.

Elizabeth said...

Enjoy your hot water!!!!

Deb said...

looking forward to seeing what bubbles up!

Unknown said...

Interesting take on creativity.....smiles

mel said...

I love how your creativity is not confined by any one thing. It's awesome. And the water heater analogy - love!

Have you seen this? Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk on creativity and genius? I haven't read her book because I've been rebelling against it's popularity (SO mature, I am!) but watching this, I completely fell in love with her. http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html