Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Process Behind the Process

Do what you love.

There are many times when this uber-simple piece of advice really is the best guide. I once gave this advice to a new collector of dolls (on a message board) when they asked which dolls they "should" buy from a particular doll-maker. "Get the ones that make your heart stop when you first see them, forget about the rest. There's no way to know what will happen to a doll's 'value', and if it it never appreciates, at least you know you'll have a doll that you love."

Santogold, L.E.S. Artistes

"I hope it will be worth what I give up...suddenly I find myself an innovator...change, change, I wanna get up outta my skin. Tell you what, if I can shake it I'm gonna make this something worth dreaming of."

The same is true with knitting--or any craft, really. A very good friend of mine decided that she wanted to make socks for her 2nd (ever) knitting project. I helped her pick yarn and needles and got her started. Sort of. She abandoned the socks for a less 'fiddly' 2nd project and wanted to know why I let her choose something so complicated when she had just learned. 1) I'm not one to stifle a person's creative energy. 2) I believe that the best projects to work on are the one's you're really excited about--the ones you're in love with.

Bjork, Alarm Call

"You can't say 'no' to hope, can't say 'no' to happiness....I want to go on a mountaintop w/a radio and good batteries and play a joyous tune and save the human race from suffering...the less room you give me, the more space I've got. Today has never happened and it doesn't frighten me. It doesn't scare me at all..."

And so it is with design...for me, anyway. When I actually picked up knitting sticks and yarn and learned how to knit, it was because I wanted a 'Harry Potter' scarf (Ravelry link) and had a hard time finding one in a shop. While working on that project, it occurred to me that there were lots of other things I could (and would love to) knit. My mind started turning over ideas of sweaters I'd like to have, more scarves, and so on. Yep, I'm a selfish knitter (because 95% of what I knit is for me and me alone), but I also tend to want designs that are not what I see available from other designers. Modifying a hat pattern here, making something up completely there, taking an idea from the construction of one project and using it in something not quite the same....and that's just where it starts.

Santogold, Creator

"I'm a creator, the rules I break got me a place up on the radar..."

That's a rough sketch of the 'how', but there's also the 'what' and the 'why', and lately the answers to both of those have come from music I've been listening to. Sometimes--oftentimes--it's in the lyrics. Sometimes it's the art direction of the video, or just the overall style of the musician. The few videos I've posted here are examples of what I'm looking at as reference points for what's rolling over in my mind lately. Where the lyrics are inspirational to me, I've noted my favorite lines below the video, but sometimes it's just the overall sound, or maybe the style of the video.

Bjork, Declare Independence

"Don't let them do that to you...raise your flag...ignore their patronizing, tear off your blindfold, declare independence!"

I have a sense for where/how I want these designs to go, but I know they could end up somewhere else entirely. That's another part of the process, no? Following it to see where it takes you? We'll see where they go, but for now the process is exhilirating and a little scary, but I know I'm on the right track when I feel my heart stop.

Keep on knitting. Do what you love.


Emily said...

This is a very timely post for me personally (the company I work for going out of business, I'll be doing what I love 24/7 for a while!). Thanks for the reminder; I totally agree with your words.

alexkeller said...

i love that you wanted a Harry Potter scarf. I'd love one, but AZ is just too darn hot.