Friday, October 24, 2014

Open Post: Creativity & Process Blog Hop

A while back, I got tagged by Ariel of Stariel Knits to be part of a blog hop. Life intervened - weddings! fiber festivals! tailoring! oh my! - so I am abysmally late in posting my response.

I don't participate in these kinds of memes very often, but I really like how thought-provoking this one is. Thinking about creativity and process is a big part of my daily life, and I love engaging with others on the topic.

In that vein, I've tagged Kat of The Wayward Knitter, and I'd also like to hear what you think! If one or more of these questions resonates with you, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Here are the questions:

1) What am I working on?
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) Why do I write/create what I do?
4) How does my writing/creative process work?

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1) What am I working on?

My primary construction project is my tailored jacket for school. I'm also writing the pattern for Pip, and working on a short story with a fragmented narrative and a noir feel to it.

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2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Both my design and written work are driven by narrative and thoughtful simplicity. I try not to use two words where one will do. I like to use textures and patterns that evoke certain feelings about an object without straying too far into the literal, appropriative, or derivative.

Hitting upon beauty - whether in a well-turned phrase, or an unexpected color combination - is an intuitive and visceral experience for me; on the other hand, I like to understand the source and context of things I find meaningful. I think both are often expressed in my work.

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3) Why do I write/create what I do?

Because I have to. Indirectly, the creative process is a big part of my emotional self-care. I'm an introvert with a frustratingly high sensory input, and absorbing the emotion of everyday life can be really overwhelming for me. When I'm making or writing things, it allows me to interact with the world in a way that processes and releases that input.

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4) How does my writing/creative process work?

I always start with an image. It may be a particular moment in time, or a detail of a garment, or a combination of color and texture. Sometimes the image is clear; sometimes it's a feeling without focus that I have to work to define and expand upon. Usually I go through a few drafts, streamlining the details as I go.

Editing is probably both my least and most favorite part of the process: it allows me to focus on what I really want to express, but it can really hurt to kill your darlings. This is one place that my perfectionism can be an asset, though - if I love something, but I can tell it obviously doesn't work, I throw it away.


Thanks for reading, and happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FO: Mother of Pearl Mitts

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Unlike every other project I ever work on, this one was really quick: pattern and yarn picked out, knit, ends woven in, and photographed - all in about a week! High five, self. High five.

Details on Ravelry here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tailored Jacket: A Body, Constructed

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Today, I spent the day at my tailoring teacher's house, reconnecting with my love of wool. (As if it ever really left!)

And, to my surprise, I got a pretty astonishing amount done. In five hours, I finished building the pocket; interfaced the shoulder and lapel; connected the shoulders and side seams; built the sleeve; built the collar; set in the collar; pressed up and sewed the mitered sleeve cuffs. (It makes me tired but proud just looking at that list written out.)

This morning, I had a bunch of pieces of wool pinned to a hanger; tonight, I have a jacket that - though unfinished - I can put on my body.

So much further to go, but so much progress nonetheless!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

On Mentorship

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The rain has come in for the fall. Yesterday I spent the afternoon sewing together my jacket lining, marking seams with white chalk and easing charmeuse into itself. Next week I go in for another private class with my tailoring teacher, and I'm preparing what I can before then.

Lately I've sensed a sea change in my creative life. Graduation is close and I have a backlog of design ideas; at the same time, I'm feeling a pull to words that I haven't felt in a long, long time.

In another life, I had a daily notebook and would go on frantic two-day long binges, writing short stories. I had an English teacher from my community college who became my unofficial mentor after I started dropping off short stories in his office for critique, months after my creative writing class had ended. I still find myself writing a sentence and wondering what he'd think of it.

It also makes me think about mentorship in general; although it's common among young creatives to have a mentor in their craft, some of the sparkle of mentorship seems to fade once we've crossed the threshold into adulthood. Yet, it seems that encouragement of growth and reflection is such a positive force for any creative person - or really, any person, in any field - that it seems a shame to leave it behind just because we're no longer young or in school.

It's part of why I like to tell all of my knitting students that I believe in them, as cheesy as it is - because anyone, of any age or skill level, can benefit from knowing that someone is on their side. Because it can, and does, make all the difference.