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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Being Creative vs. Being Artistic

Today, I would like to talk a bit more about the "creative process". There's a huge difference between what being creative means and what being artistic means.

As I mentioned yesterday, everything begins with a thought. We think, therefore we are. Thoughts become things. Here's an example:

Imagine that you are sitting on your sofa, watching television and you suddenly feel hungry. You determine that what you would like eat is a cookie. But you don't have any cookies. So you decide to get up off of your sofa, go into the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies. You gather your ingredients, you mix them all together, you put them on baking sheets and bake them in the oven. You have just created cookies.

The thought of wanting a cookie gave you the urge to get up and make some. This is the "creative process". Every person on the planet uses this process to accomplish every thing that they do. It doesn't matter what it is.

Now, unless you decorate the cookies, there's nothing artistic about them. You created them, but they are not a work of art.

Here's another example:

You see one of my counted cross stitch designs. You determine that you really like the design and that you would like to stitch it and hang it on the wall in your house. So you purchase the design and all the supplies to make it. You follow the pattern and duplicate the design according to my chart and directions. You have just created a stitched version of my design.

Again, there is nothing artistic about duplicating a pattern exactly as it is written. You indeed created something. You created a stitched version of my design. Of my art. But it's still my artwork, not yours.

I spoke yesterday of inspiration and where it comes from. I said that it's everywhere and that we just have to open our minds and see it. Being artistic means to take that inspiration and use it as a starting point but then to elaborate on it, adding your own thoughts and ideas to it. Expanding on it. Taking it a step further.

The image of the 9 bands that I shared with you yesterday based on Sharon's trim piece is not only a visual example of "the creative process in action" but also "my artistic interpretation and expression" of the inspiration that I found in Sharon's Jewel Tone CQ block.

Do you see where I'm going with this discussion? I want you, my readers to understand the difference between being creative and being artistic. I'm assuming that many of you come here to my blog for inspiration, for my ideas and for my thoughts. But what do you do with them? Do you stitch with the intention of taking my ideas a step further? Or do you prefer to simply duplicate my patterns? If you are content with duplicating patterns, that's fine. You are creating and hopefully having fun doing so.

If you want to feel the joy of being artistic, then you have to take the ideas that I share here and add something of yourself to them. You have to breathe some of your life into them. You have to take my idea, interpret it and then expand and express yourself through it. The needle & thread is only the medium through which you express your thoughts. If you duplicate one of my designs, you are expressing my thoughts. But if you find inspiration in one of my designs, if you expand on it, adding something of yourself to it, you are then expressing your thoughts. You are then being artistic.

More tomorrow.....


Jo in NZ said...

Pam, this is a great post, thanks. I facilitate creativity workshops, and the first comment we often get is "I'm not at all creative/artistic, but I'll try..." they leave feeling alot better about the whole affair.LOL
I found your way of putting things very useful, and just might take it, expand on it a little, or just add my own touch...if you don't mind!

coral-seas said...

Very well put Pam. I have said often that I am not an artist but a crafter. Until recently I held that to be true because all I did (and greatly enjoyed) was recreating other peoples designs. Since becoming involved with other stitchers and especially Sharon's TAST, I have begun to create my own art. The hidden artist in me has begun to emerge and I am enjoying a new aspect of creativity.

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