Have Your Say

8th October 2021

Productivity, Creativity, and Shirts

Our introductions over the past few weeks have ranged across a number of topics, including ideas on both creativity and productivity – two things that we stitchers can most certainly relate to! You wrote to us with your thoughts on both of these topics and in the process, gave us even more to consider in our own work.

In terms of creativity, Jodi Sprague enjoyed hearing that it was a process that can be learnt, rather than it being innate. She’s often noticed that the common definition of creativity is usually expressed using fine art as an example, specifically painting or drawing. But she points out that creativity is everywhere. Jodi is an electrical engineer by profession, and she says that in order to design good circuits, creativity is essential. 

Although there is a common (and mistaken) belief that engineers aren’t creative, she believes the two are an essential pair.

As a result, Jodi likes to challenge people to broaden their definition of creative. She observes that there is creativity in everything, from choosing which order to lay your stitches down to managing projects and stash.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Your Elusive Creative Genius’ TED Talk

Clare mentioned a TED talk she had seen that had been delivered by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. In that talk, the author had discussed the angst often felt by ‘creative’ people due to expectations, and the accompanying struggle, despondency and self-doubt that then arises. 

Clare shared Elizabeth Gilbert’s description of the creative process as it had been understood by the Ancient Romans. Back then, it was believed to be a partnership between the creator and his (or her!) ‘genius.’ The genius was not within, but external, like a little homunculus sitting on your shoulder. You had to be open to the imagination, ideas and images that flow from the little genius, with meditation and receptiveness being essential for success.

Clare loved the idea that we don’t have to be a genius, rather we just have to listen to the genius whispering in our ear and prompting our creativity.

She just wishes that little creature would speak a little more often when it came to her stitching!

Once creativity is flowing, we are then faced with the question of productivity. Jodi sent us some excellent thoughts on that issue as well. 

She shared how stitching has helped her through some difficult times with her mental health and commented on how much she gains from the ideas we share in each newsletter. In return, she found this really interesting article on the ‘productivity trap’ that she wanted to share. It is an excellent read and encourages all of us to slow down and recognise we are only able to do what we can. If we can learn to accept that, then we can hopefully free ourselves from stress.

Kay Dennis’s ‘The Hedgerow’ from Inspirations issue #111

Ann sent us a description of her productivity dilemma. During lockdown, she found herself getting all enthused about new projects, starting them left, right and centre! She realised she needed to read the article on prioritising her projects, so she downloaded it. However, before she read it, she spotted the write-up about Kay Dennis’s new project in Inspirations issue #111. She fell in love, purchased the digital pattern, and now there is another project in her queue! She still hasn’t quite got around to reading the article yet…

All we can say is, we empathise completely! So many projects, so many wonderful techniques to try – is it any wonder that we struggle to prioritise and our productivity ends up going out of the window?

Finally, Ann Baseden sent us a fabulous story about finding the perfect fabric. She saw that we had commented how you can never have too much fabric, but wanted to say that if you have a man in your life, you always have fabric. Intrigued? So were we! Luckily, she explained:

Ann saw a wonderful picture of a heron that had been painted by Basil Ede, and decided she wanted to stitch it. She looked everywhere for the perfect base fabric, then finally discovered it – hanging in her husband’s wardrobe. 

She stole his misty grey polycotton Marks & Spencer shirt, cutting a piece of fabric from the back to use for her embroidery.

If this wasn’t funny enough, it seems his taste in shirts was far too good, as Ann then did it a second time! We wonder whether she put the shirts, with pieces missing, back into the wardrobe? If so, did he notice?

If you have any thoughts about creativity, productivity, or if you’ve been guilty of sacrificing perfectly good clothing for the sake of your needlework, then write in and let us know. You make us think, you make us wonder, but best of all, you constantly make us smile.

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top