When my daughter Elizabeth was in high school she came across a list of "Little Golden Books that didn't make the cut." Very tongue in cheek with politically incorrect titles like "Strangers Have the Best Candy", "The Pop-up Book of Human Anatomy", or"You're different, and That's Bad" they gave us all a good laugh. I was reminded of that last title the other day when a customer saw one of our new yarns and said. "That one is really different. I don't like it -- it's weird."
Um. Okay. I didn't say anything, but here's what I think: weird is okay. In fact, weird is good. Weird and different are usually the sources of the greatest creativity. It's when we look at things that don't go together- pieces that don't belong, stuff that doesn't look as we think it should - that inspiration strikes.
Creative people know this intuitively, and they live happily in a world that's a little bit jumbled. Maybe a lot jumbled. Inc Magazine ran a feature article recently entitled, Why the Most Creative People are a Hot Mess, that talks about this phenomenon. Creative people make a habit of being open to possibilities, embracing the unusual, and thinking outside the box. You don't have to be an artist to be creative. Accessing your creative side is a skill that can help you in all kinds of ways, from solving problems to improving relationships.
Like any skill, tapping into your creative side takes practice, and the more you do it, the better you become. So how do you develop your creativity? Here are a few ways you can start:
- Play with something that's really unusual for you. As a knitter, the obvious medium is yarn. Choose a yarn in a style you've never worked with and knit it. Make a swatch. Experiment with stitch patterns. Change needle sizes. Carry it with something else. Remember that this is about playing. You will not end this exercise with a product, but an experience. It is not a waste because experience is never a waste.
- Put crazy different things together. Look through your stash and grab three yarns that are as different from one another as possible. Knit a scarf with them. It might be awful, but it might be fabulous. Who knows? This is the concept behind "Chopped." Those weird basket ingredients focus the contestants' creativity. When they find a way to make foie gras, kale, and gummy bears work together, you know they're on it.
- Doodle. Draw boxes, draw circles, draw triangles - make them into robots, houses, watches, hats, whatever. Do it quickly without much thought and without second guessing yourself. Just play with the shapes - do as many as you can as fast as you can. We so often pre-edit ourselves that our really best ideas never make it out of our heads; this exercise helps prevent that.
Need a little inspiration? Stop in and see the beautiful new yarn and take a minute to play. I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.