An (un)creative environment…

It has been quite messy and chaotic these past few weeks; lot of building work and decorating at home, and there hasn’t been time to post anything nice.  I could’ve shown you an image of a massive hole in the wall waiting for a window, but that’s not interesting!  But it is almost over, my home is gradually getting cleaner, and I can think about recovering some workspace and getting back to normal.  So a quick post about a few things I have been up to in between home improvements.

The first thing is the Sunshine Coat.  It is all cast off and blocked, and I have been preparing the lining, dusting off my pattern cutting hat in the process.  If anyone is interested, I will be blogging about how to line handknitted garments in the next few weeks, but until then here is a snap of the work in progress.  A friend of mine also asked about the “weird rulers” in the shot – I’ll explain those too!

SunshineCoat_Lining1Second is the Jacqueline cardigan.  The fronts are finished and I have just finished the cuff of the second sleeve.  Here are the completed front pieces:

JacquelineCardigan60%donePersonal projects aside, there has been some writing and quite a bit of designing going on, mainly for autumn/winter, but before then you will see the results of a project I have been working on with KarieBookish and KnitYouNextTuesday.  It is one of my first collaborations and it has been wonderful to work with people I know.  Very often, freelance designing is a lonely pursuit: it is just your materials, design brief if a commission, camera and the creativity inside your head.  Oh, and email correspondence – a LOT of email correspondence!  I often wonder what it would be like to work in a studio, surrounded by the energy of other people.  As a teacher, I am infintely fascinated, inspired and thrilled by the emerging creativity of my students.  Once they’ve grasped the basics of knit or crochet, it is rewarding to see them making an ancient craft their own, putting their own stamp on it, finding their way of knitting and/or crocheting.  They rarely think much of their endeavours, but they are usually satisfied with their achievements in the space of a few hours.

Much of this satisfaction has to do with being in a social environment with similar people, working on or learning the same thing.  Those who’ve tried to teach themselves with books and YouTube often remark on the benefits of group learning, even if it is only the sound of another human voice and the perspective of others.  Of course there are times when one does need to be alone with one’s thoughts: it can be difficult to work through abstract ideas and give them form when other people are around.  The idea is the seed, but when the seed has sprouted and is ready to find its way to the surface of the soil – what’s there when the surface has been broken?  What about the environment?  And what happens to the new shoot of a idea, for better or worse?  I think that creative folk would benefit from regular collaboration with other like-minded people; there is nothing particularly romantic about working alone and if unchecked it begets stagnation.  It is strange, the solitude of creativity: the very thing that excites, inspires, catalyzes others is so often executed in very different circumstances than the finished product might suggest.  And over the last few weeks, when there have been holes in walls, builders, several unusual interactions and disruption to my environment and routine, I have been extremely inspired and busy!  Perhaps it is the shift in and displacement of energy: the inside reflects the outside, and vice versa.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the ideas in my head that have been ‘building up’ lately.  I will take my cue from the state of my home and how it looks when it’s finally finished.

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