Writing, making music, painting, dancing, weaving, sculpting, quilting, creating garments, telling stories. Humans are creative beings. But even when we create “original” work, we cannot help but be inspired by others.
It is easy to note inspirations for the product of our efforts. I’m inspired by other quilters and their work, by color combinations I see in nature, by rows of brightly painted cottages along a canal, by aboriginal art.
I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired in other ways, too. I’m inspired in how to make, as well as what to make. Hearing how someone’s work habits help them produce more and better art inspires me to consider my own work habits. For example, it’s easy to get stuck in the midst of a project, ultimately putting it away and moving on to something else. (How else are UFOs created?) Elizabeth Barton suggests pecking away at it with “one a day.” If you break your project into small parts and only commit to doing one small part a day, as long as you persist, you will finish your project.
Like the old aphorism, “writers write,” makers make. Last year I shared with you the rules for working as laid out by Corita Kent. According to Kent, the only rule is work.
Another aspect of making is sharing. Austin Kleon has written the book on sharing as a means of improving in your art. Show Your Work is based on ten principles of creating and sharing. They are
- You don’t have to be a genius.
- Think process, not product.
- Share something small every day.
- Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
- Tell good stories.
- Teach what you know.
- Don’t turn into human spam.
- Learn to take a punch.
- Sell out.
- Stick around.
Five of those resonate with me in particular. Process, not product; share, tell good stories, and teach; and stick around. The one at which I do worst is sharing, especially on a regular basis. I often wait until a project is nearly done before showing it here. Why? In truth, a big reason is I’m not a photographer. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it, and I don’t like interrupting my creative time to document what I’m doing. And while I usually can articulate why I’m making the decisions I make, I hesitate to spend the time to share that with you, especially while the decisions are in process. But the result is I often share product, not process. This gives the illusion that a product sprung from my brain and my sewing machine as a completed work. It didn’t…
Here is a project that has been both easy and hard. The top is complete, approximately 43″ x 48″. I need to contemplate how to quilt it. Binding likely will be in teal.
This post is not the one in which to share process. However, this post is the one in which to pledge to share more process, more often.
I pledge to share my work in process,
and thoughts about that process, more often.
Making and sharing. Both.