Saturday, May 17, 2008

the link between visual stimulation and creativity

Long and wordy and no pictures (but I did add the link for photobucket to the sidebar) this morning.

Catching up on blogs earlier, and as I was reading fellow-blogger Karoda's most recent post about sorting and organizing her stash, it occurred to me that it is very likely that my current dry spell has been precipitated by the cleaning (translation:shove shit in boxes and out of sight from the main living areas of the house) frenzy that occurred when the Japanese quilt magazine people were here to interview me. Most of the clutter/supplies/stash/fabric were willy-nilly stuck in boxes, bags, tote bins, and one lone hat box, and then stacked against the wall in my son's room. More stuff was crammed onto the shelves in there and then the stacks, fat quarters, dyed, stamped, stained, painted, yardage, cotton, poly, mesh, novelty, ethnic, and commercial prints were (sort of) separated by color or theme and stacked on his top bunk. Keep in mind that I'm about 5'2" and the bunk bed is one of those dbl bottom and twin top things so I have to stand back a bit from the edge of it and it's not much lower than eye level for me and the entire top bunk is covered in the fabric stacks. It makes it VERY hard to see more then the folded edge of the front row. So much for the design ideas flowing freely without the visual stimulation of being surrounded by "stuff" in every direction.

To make matters even worse, when I had the "cleaning" (I use that descriptor very loosely) hemorrhage for the aforementioned interview, I stupidly decided that my "workroom" (another loose term) should be for the actual work, and not storage. It made perfect sense at the time for the sewing machine to be in here and not on the dining room table (and kitchen table and living room floor) and for the ironing board to be in here with the sewing machine, and a cutting surface, and all those other tools of the trade I use. There is simply not enough room for the actual work space and the fabric and 'stuff' storage to be in the same room. Hence the fabric and stuff storage in the other room. BUT...and this is a big but....without the supplies where I can see them my mind darts off in too many directions to get a good grasp on any one specific design or project. I am struggling mightily with one piece right now that has a no-flexibility-at-all deadline of June 13 and I am so totally clueless it keeps me awake at night. I have several fabrics that are mandatory to use and I have never been at a loss to come up with something based on a specific fabric or theme or color palette. I had one really good idea that I was ready to run with, but due to circumstances beyond my control (or maybe mostly due to my own internal integrity concerning my work, or possibly simple bullheadness about what I think is right) that idea is no longer an option for me. Unfortunately, I am bereft of other ideas and options. I'm guessing that a June 12 marathon is not out of the question unless I have a stroke of genius between now and then.

All this nattering to say that I have discovered the correlation between being surrounded by the visual cacaphony of my materials and the free flow of ideas. That is apparently a necessary element of my creativity. I realize there are others who are the exact opposite (a repeating topic on the Quilt Art list) and require an orderly space to create in and are distracted by a jumble of colors and fabrics. I ain't one of them. I'm not sure what the solution is though. I know that if I start bringing materials back in here where I can see them, I will once again expand the boundaries of my work space back to the rest of the house and I'm sort of enjoying being able to actually sit at the table to eat.

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