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A creative 2019

First in a series of posts about the importance of making.

A creative 2019

January 21, 2019

At the end of last year I made a resolution to share some thoughts on the role of creativity in our lives and I wished you all a creative 2019.

I have been thinking about what the word creative actually means and about the relationship it bears to craft.  The dictionary defines creative as ‘involving the use of the imagination or original ideas (to create something)’.  So having fresh ideas or inspiration and translating these into making something new.

Do you think of yourself as a creative person or does that thought scare you?  When someone admires something you have made, whether art or craft based, and says something like, ‘You are so creative,’ does it ring true with you, or do you feel like denying it?  Perhaps in reality you followed a pattern faithfully to produce your beautiful piece and there was nothing original about it.  Or perhaps you used a pattern but changed the colour scheme, so there was a measure of originality.  Or perhaps you started out with your very own idea and used it as a starting point to develop a completely unique item.  Whichever you did, you still made the piece by the skill of your hands, using craft but not necessarily creativity.

 So what I should have wished you for 2019 was a year filled with both creativity and craft. Craft is defined as an activity involving skill in making things by hand or as an artist.  So whether the inspiration is from elsewhere or from your inner creativity, the outcome is creating.  

hand dyed and crocheted heartby P Hilgers for Level 3 Hand Spinning 

Image:  a hand dyed and crocheted heart designed by P Hilgers for Level 3 Hand Spinning

The idea of craft goes far beyond merely making objects using skill.  It permeates throughout our daily lives and is one of the things that is distinctive of human beings.  There is a degree of craft in many of the daily chores we perform - ironing and folding clothes, cleaning shoes or cooking a meal.  Just ask anyone who is doing these tasks for the first time - it takes skill and practice to be able to do them well!

 The word craft comes from the old West Saxon word ‘craeft’ that had the meanings of power, might and physical strength.  Through Old and Middle English language it developed into the meanings of skill, dexterity, science, talent and then trade, handicraft and employment requiring special skill or dexterity.  Nowadays crafty can also have the meaning of cunning or skill used for deceitful purposes.

There is a big difference between BEING creative and creating (DOING).  The former is not necessary to achieve the latter.  BOTH are important to a happy and fulfilled life.