"Creative identity is complex. Who am I, what do I create,– it’s hard to answer that when the knitted shawl I’ve been working on for more than a year lies taunting me from my project shelf and the crochet one I just started is next to it ( don’t worry, they are in good company – one glove, half a scarf, the yarn wound for some slippers… I could go on). I questioned whether starting projects could be my creative identity? Maybe I am a serial starter. But then I looked at the things I have made this year – a hat for each of my boys and my partner, socks for my sisters and mum, a vest for my youngest, and its only June. So I know I love to make, and I love useful wearable items – and I realised that most of all I love making for others. But it also makes the process a bit more painful – will it turn out ok, will it fit, am I going to finish in time? Opening myself up to this pressure doesn’t detract from what I am making; seeing the joy that they feel when they receive a handmade gift drives me on.
I know the same applies to dyeing yarn – I rarely dye for myself anymore, but I dye hundreds of skeins a month for others, and still love it. Yarn Club opening day is always a breath holding moment – will my yarn clubbers love the yarn, is it the right colour, the right yarn base? Trying to please 100 people all with the same yarn can be challenging but I love it every month, finding the right yarn for the season, the perfect colours to match the yarn and choosing patterns to compliment it – it’s always a joy. There is something about creating something lovely that you know brings happiness to others that just lights up my heart.
But it’s not easy being creative, I know that – I see it every month in the faces of the lovely ladies who come to spend a weekend with me at the Yarn Retreat. Standing in front of a blank skein of yarn and a tray of colours is overwhelming, and the fear of getting it right can be crippling. We talk a lot about enjoying the process, not fixating on the end result, and being led by what the colours are doing on the yarn. The results are always stunning, and the confidence of the women is evident as they stand back and admire the beautiful yarn they have made, by allowing themselves to be immersed in the process. It’s humbling for me to be part of that journey.
I know that that is where my creative identity lies – Opening myself up to the process of creativity and guiding others through it to, in choosing patterns, or colours and dyeing techniques, or in their creative business. Creativity does not need to be defined by a finished product, just as my creative identity cannot be defined by what I have made - just as much joy and inspiration can be found in the process too. So I think my beautiful shawl may be destined to stay on the shelf a little while longer, I have workshops to plan and yarn to dye and little feet that need socks – and I am ok with that, because that is where my creative identity is right now and I am loving every minute of it."
This week, I will be sharing ideas, thoughts and insights from some of these wonderful people across Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (@aplayfulday) and of course, here on my creative home. I'd love you to join in #Creative_Identity