It has famously been said “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I believe that also applies to art. In fact, in the case of most creative endeavors, necessity is a fundamental part of the process. I am suffering from the exact opposite problem. Rather than necessity I am in a state of excess. The excessive amount of yarn and wool do not inspire me to create. At this moment I feel suffocated by the amount of stuff I own and am unable to properly store and use. More on this another day, but for now it is this exact problem that I created for myself on my recent three day trip. You can read that post here.
Fear Of Missing Out is a real phenomenon that has come about through social media and people posting every single activity in their life. We look at all the “fun” other folks are having and become sure our lives are not nearly that exciting. I love Instagram, but it is so easy to forget that what we are seeing is a carefully curated view of someone else’s existence. I don’t fall victim to that much anymore; however, I am influence by the things folks make and the materials they use.
When I packed for this three day trip I was so afraid of being bored that I lugged a project for every artistic medium I currently enjoy. Well, almost…I didn’t pack fabric and embroidery. There was no room for my legs in the front seat of the car. It is a good thing I am really short so my bag could become a foot rest. When I emptied the bag on the bed I was overwhelmed by the choices. I couldn’t decide which I wanted to work on first. I was stuck.
With all these choices, what did I actually work on? Let me show you. The realization will transform my road trip making from here on out.
Crochet is portable and because I am either making something basic like a dish cloth or a freeform something, it is the perfect road trip project. No counting (or very little counting) means I can just work and enjoy the scenery. In the end, especially in the case of dishcloths, I have a useable item.
The Joy Of Monogamous Making
Most fiber folks I know have multiple projects going at any one time. It is an accepted mindset. I am right in the thick of things. One project gets boring, start another one. The discipline to plan and execute one thing at a time is so rare that those who do it are almost afraid to admit it within the sacred circle of the knitting group.
I began to see the problem as a business owner. I realized that I want the customer who came in to make something, bought that yarn, made the project then came back for something new. That is a long term customer. However, the proliferation of knitting and crochet designers, independent yarn dyers, and the FOMO of social media, yarn lovers started hoarding yarn. Buying in excess because it was available and storing it for “one day.” This is just one of the reasons I could not keep a yarn shop open. But more importantly I saw the negative affect the excess yarn had on my friends. They were paralyzed by their yarn. Three years after I closed the shop many still have my yarn in plastic bins in their “stash.”
On my trip I remembered the joy of making one simple little item. I use it and remember when I made it. Isn’t this a huge part of why we make things? It should bring joy. I want to rediscover the joy of slow making. I want to take the time to plan and execute an idea. I love to stop and gaze at the texture created when yarn and hook come together. I am a process maker; rather than being driven by the product, I want the feel the process.
I didn’t touch the spinning, the tapestry weaving or knitting. All I did besides crochet was weave a square on my Zoom Loom.
The Clouds Parted & The Sun Shone
Being in a hotel during Covid was interesting; not bad, just different. I donned my mask and went to the lobby, taking only my room key, phone and sketch journal. I found a comfy leather couch to sit on and I just looked around. I saw the typical hotel lobby, mass manufactured decor. But I tried to look with fresh eyes, looking not at the items themselves but the shapes, the shadows, and the textures created by the items.
The Take Away
This is how I should be spending my travel time. There will be many more road trips in the coming months. I am excited to travel with my husband and see parts of my state that I would otherwise have no reason to visit. If I focus on living in the moment on these trips, absorbing what is around me and finding ways to record them, it will, in the long run, do so much more for my spirit and creativity than any project(s) I take with me just to keep my hands busy.
If you are feeling stuck or just want to boost your creativity, I suggest absorbing, recording—sketching is the best, and enjoy the full process of planning and executing something that is special and uniquely you.