As we celebrate Thanksgiving it occurs to me that I have so much to be grateful for in particular CREATIVITY. Having spent my school career apologising for being creative rather than being a brilliant scientist or mathematician, I now understand creativity to be a gift with as much potential as any brilliant scientist – something to be nurtured rather than supressed. (Although I will always be grateful that I did go to secretarial College because now I can type very fast, which means I have more time to stitch!)
Two quotes from Sir Ken Robinson that I love:
“Creativity is defined as the process of having original ideas that have value.”
“Creative people live in their heads and not their bodies – they look upon their body as a form of transport to move their heads!”
In a talk entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity Sir Ken Robinson gives an entertaining and moving case for creating an education system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity. It is a brilliant talk and worth listening to – you can view the full talk here.
It is my experiences that in our busy, cyber space world, where we are used to receiving instant gratification many of us are not prepared to spend time learning a technique, to make a mistake, unpick a few times and persevere. No one wants to do it wrong. Ken tells us that “if you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original”. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – even if our teachers rapped us over the knuckles for making them in the past it is ok! Everyone is capable of producing a beautiful piece of embroidery even if it does not follow the “rules” – it may represent a fine watercolour painting or look more like a rough oil painting but none the less beautiful.
Have confidence in what you create: A little girl was engrossed in her drawing in the classroom and the teacher asked her what she was drawing. The little girl replied she was drawing a picture of God. The teacher said “but no one knows what God looks like” and the little girl said “they will in a minute.”
He tells the story of an 8 year old little girl Gillian Lynne, who was considered to have a learning disorder. She could not concentrate and was disruptive during class. It was suggested by her teachers that the parents took her to a child specialist for testing as she may have ADHD. The specialist and the mother spent half an hour discussing the child’s “problems” while the child patiently tried to sit on her hands to keep still. At the end of it the specialist asked the mother if he could speak to her privately so he told the child to wait while they went out the room – but as he left the room he turned on the radio which was sitting on his desk. The minute they left the room the child was on her feet moving and dancing to the music – the specialist and mother watched this from the open door and the specialist turned to the mother and said “you know your child is not sick, she is a dancer, take her to a dance school.”
So the parents did take her to a dance school and it was wonderful because the school was full of people like Gillian who couldn’t sit still, people who had to move to think. In time she was auditioned for the royal ballet school, had a wonderful career there and then founded her own school, the Gillian Lynne Dance Company. She met Andrew Lloyd Webber and has since been responsible for some of the most successful musical productions in history and is a multimillionaire! The moral of the tale is that had she seen another specialist she may have been put on medication and told to calm down which would have presented a very different outcome in her life?
In summarising it occurs to me that we should follow our creative urges in order to feel totally fulfilled – IF YOUR FINGERS ITCH STITCH. Don’t worry about making mistakes if you are not prepared to make mistakes you will never learn or come up with original ideas. Use embroidery designers (like me) as a guide rather than try and re-create an exact replica and you will see your own unique style unfold and blossom in ways you had never expected!
Wherever you are have a wonderful week and weekend and many happy stitching hours. Trish