Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Long Live the Creative Heart

I wrote this article for the CHA designer group a few months ago and thought you might enjoy it too!

  "I was asked to review two books recently, Craft Your Stash, by Lisa Fulmer and Craft Fail, by Heather Mann.  I’m still giggling at the last one – it is SO real.

What I love most about Lisa’s book is that it reminds us what crafting is all about.  We are so used to walking into a craft store and being completely overwhelmed with so many products to spoon feed creativity, we’ve forgotten how to be creative with what we already have.  Toilet rolls for example!  There are so many things we can make with these small, cardboard rolls.  We always saved them to take to pre-school and Kindergarten teachers to use in their classrooms. Now we’re encouraged to buy them in the craft store!!  Seriously………….

I was a child in the 50’s and loved to make things!  There weren’t any craft stores back then, so it was all about using our imagination and things we had on hand that could be re-cycled.  We didn’t have a television either, so crafting was all part of making our own fun.  Seems like children back then were inherently creative – and crafty, in all definitions of the word…  There were a few books to help us along, but nothing like the books that are available today, and Pinterest was unheard of.

Heather’s book is a laugh on every page, but it’s also a great reminder to designers and teachers about what to expect from the average crafter who reads our instructions in books and online and follows directions in the workshops we teach.  I’ll never forget the lady in one of my classes a few years ago.  She had 2 identical wood hearts for her project.  One needed to be painted pink and the other white.  She was quite serious when she asked me, which heart should she paint white.

As an educator in the industry, I always found it important to emphasize that there is no right way or wrong way to be creative.  It’s important to follow directions when using certain products, but it’s always fun to experiment and to do what you want to do – think outside the box and off the project page.  Some students will want to follow instructions to the letter and are mortified when their project doesn’t look like the teacher’s so, once the class starts, I put my project away so they can’t compare.  I especially love the rebels, who add their own personal touches; students like me who only want to learn techniques.  I remember how horrified the teacher was when I took my first decorative painting class and saw the paint colors I’d purchased. We had a list of traditional colors to use for the project she was teaching, but they didn’t match my kitchen, so I’d chosen colors that did!

Creativity is a very personal thing.  As designers in the industry our goal is to encourage each person in whatever they want to do – who knows, you may inspire a future Picasso!"

Yours truly,
Julie :)