Create ( verb:) To bring into existence, to produce or bring about by a cause of action or behaviour, to produce through imaginative skill, to make something new exist
Etymology: late 14c., from L. creatus, pp. of creare “to make, bring forth, produce, beget,” related to crescere “come forth, spring up, grow, thrive, swell, increase in numbers or strength
When I show people my art work, the first question I get is, “Where do you get your ideas?” and the second is ” How long did it take you?” Some people then add, “Isn’t it lonely spending all that time in your studio?”
The short answers to those questions are, “Everywhere and anywhere”, ” Since I started thinking, ” and “Art quilting is the most social thing I have ever done.”
Of course, to say that is unhelpful and somewhat smart-alecy, even if it is true. It is sometimes more helpful to describe it like a plant growing. Sometimes I deliberately plant seeds; I read about a subject and gather visual research material. But other ‘wild flower’ seeds are blown into my mind on the wind. My husband might mention something. I may see a colourful scene on a TV programme. A friend may be wearing a top with an intriguing pattern on. Then, life intervenes and these potential starts for art works are buried under compost. It seems like the days I don’t work on them are dark but, as my mind incubates the seeds, they start to grow, unseen, nourished by the nutrients that are stored in there; the techniques I learned in classes, the examples of art I saw in galleries, the inspiring conversations I have with other artists. Some seeds are underground for years, some sprout quickly but either way, eventually, a seedling starts to appear.
My seedlings are not necessarily pretty. Some artists work in beautiful sketchbooks. I tend to pouduce scrawny and scrappy designs black line scribbles as designs for a quilt. But, they have life and thus potential in them. Then I have to start growing them and watering, weeding, feeding, pruning, sheltering, supporting them. And that’s where I get impatient.
Some art works are like fast growing shrub varieties. They spring up from concept to completion almost without me watching them. Other ideas suffer blight and pestilence and are sheer hard work and its tempting to blame myself as an artist. I am under-talented. I am over optimistic. I am a sorry excuse for a wannabe artist. I believe that creating means’ producing’ making something ‘spring forth’ and if beauty does not arise from my hands at once I think I am failing.
I forget that creating is about growing.
The Latin wordcresecerewhich leads to our wordcreateis linked to the Goddess Ceres who was the Roman Goddess of Agriculture. She was invoked at each stage of the grain cycle along with twelve other demi-Gods or supporters who aided her. These were:
- Vervactor, “He who ploughs”
- Reparator, “He who prepares the earth”
- Imporcitor, “He who ploughs with a wide furrow”
- Insitor, “He who plants seeds”
- Obarator, “He who traces the first plowing”
- Occator, “He who harrows”
- Serritor, “He who digs”
- Subruncinator, “He who weeds”
- Messor, “He who reaps”
- Conuector (Convector), “He who carries the grain”
- Conditor, “He who stores the grain”
- Promitor, “He who distributes the grain”
There are many stages to go through before the plant/ art works are perfect and ready for the vase/ gallery.
But the growth that is inherent in creativity also, I believe, refers to ourselves and not just the work. As we move through the various stages of creation – the gathering of ideas, the pondering of how to use them, the elation of the flash of sheer inspiration, the disappointment of not getting it quite right, the acquiring of new knowledge and skill, the taking of the finished work to the public – we grow as people. we learn to look, to see differently, to learn what others want or need and how to meet their requirements. We prune away laziness and lack of confidence and we begin to invest in the time and money it takes to fertilise our mind with books or blogs or travel.
And we make connections with people who act as our supporting demi-Gods, enabling us to be creative. Maybe it is a blogger on Philofaxy who writes about a creative way to personalise a planner. Maybe it is a great teacher at a quilt show. Maybe it is meeting with a group of like minded people at a Filofax meet-up or a quiting retreat. Information is shared just as seeds float on the wind. Cross-pollination of ideas takes place. The resulting new strains are sold at markets and given as gifts.
Creating is not a quick act. It is not a solo act. It is not a souless act of productvity. It is about nourishing the soul and about reaching your full height as a person. It should take all the time you have in your life and all the influences you encounter. It is about growing.
How do you express your creativity?
Who around you are your helpful demi-Gods?
How can you act as a demi-God to someeone else?