Who knew that May 30th is the National Day of Creativity? I hadn’t heard of this before, there seem to be so many random “ National day of…” celebrations that I get a bit lost but National Day of Creativity is one that I can get behind 100%.
What is Creativity? For me, it's being able to make something with my hands, whether it is sewing a garment, knitting a pair of socks, baking a cake or building a vegetable patch. It is producing something from nothing. It doesn’t have to be instant, a project can take time and you might only be able to snatch 5 minutes a day. It’s a process that I love, that I can lose myself in.
But creativity, and the process of creating, is different for everyone. That’s the great thing about creativity; by its very nature it is not defined by one term, one art form or one design.
Looking up the definition of creativity on line I found the following:
“The use of imagination or original ideas to create something new; inventiveness”
“The ability to produce original and unusual ideas, to make something new or imaginative”.
The word “creative” can also be used in relation to generating ideas or alternatives to a problem, to find novel or complex solutions, or to view things from a different “creative” perspective.
During Lockdown, many people have been excited to have extra “down” time, it has enabled them to take up a new hobby or rediscover a creative outlet they used to have, but for others lockdown, and all it has entailed, has curbed their creativity. With the worry of their health, their finances, juggling work and home schooling, some people have felt they just don’t have the capacity to “be creative” right now.
There are people who fear being creative, fear getting it “wrong”. Perhaps they were told in school that they weren’t good at art or design, perhaps they were led to believe that being creative took up valuable time when they could be learning more “traditional” subjects. These people now worry that they will get it “wrong”, but for me that's the great thing about creativity and being creative - there is no right or wrong.
Take my nephew as an example. He often gets frustrated when following an art tutorial. He feels rushed and feels that his painting isn’t “right” because the shading isn’t exactly the same as the tutor's, or perhaps the eye of his tiger is bigger than his friends. He gets frustrated that he can’t keep up, and doesn't have time to “correct his mistakes”. Yet when he is drawing freestyle by himself he is much happier, there is no one telling him how it should be, no one to compare his artwork to and suddenly he is able to let his creativity flow with no restrictions. Now he becomes animated and imaginative and, most importantly, happy and invested in his design.
Now, if you are following a sewing pattern or a set of knitting instructions for a garment, the instructions need to be followed in order to create the garment shown. For many people, following rigid instructions is exactly the route they need to take when being creative. They worry about getting it wrong by themselves and enjoy the process of following a complete set of ordered instructions.. This does not mean they are being any less creative, they are still creating something and as you know I also love to follow instructions and make garments designed by someone else.
This is exactly what I mean, there is no right or wrong way to be creative. It is a process and there are many different ways to be creative. Children, especially toddlers, are very creative, it is how they learn, how they express themselves and how they communicate with each other and adults. No one has told them how to express themselves, what is right or wrong, that their drawing isn’t completely accurate etc. They have a sense of freedom and courage in expressing themselves that most adults have lost. Too many rules have, over time, deadened our creativity, but children have not got to that stage. We can in fact learn from children and their lack of inhibitions in creativity.
Whatever your creative outlet, May 30th and National Day of Creativity, is a great day to celebrate your art. Perhaps it is sewing, crochet, drawing, knitting, painting, photography, graphic design, baking, film making...the list is endless. You could let your imagination roam freely from start to finish or you could follow a pattern. You could take your inspiration from nature, from your surroundings, from a book or a film or simply from your imagination.
Set aside a day, perhaps May 30th itself or any other day, maybe a weekend or even longer, to focus your energy into crafting and creating. While May 30th may be National Day of Creativity, and I love the idea of celebrating “creativity'', it shouldn’t be one day but everyday. I challenge you to see if you can increase your creativity and include some “art” in your daily life, perhaps you could take a photo while out on a walk, sketch a beautiful flower or plant from your garden, bake a cake and really think about how best to decorate it or display it, mount a new picture for your house, sew a little bookmark or a coffee cup warmer. Not every project needs to be big and time consuming, you can be creative in small bursts - you might surprise yourself at how creative you can become in your daily life. Lets see, as a group, if we can incorporate creativity into our daily life with small steps. Celebrate these small moments of creativity as well as the bigger moments and bring joy to our everyday lives.
Let’s work together to celebrate art today and everyday and not just on a National Day of Creativity (although that's a good place to start!).
As always, share your creations with me and I can post them in our next newsletter - together we can spread the joy of creating as a community.
Happy crafting x