Creating | New Ideas – Things – Ways

I think we all find creativity captivating. We see it happening and open our minds to gather it in. It inspires us. It motivates us. We act in new ways. It is an essential element of humanity.

Each of us has different ways of expressing our creativity. We write, sing, play music, speak, teach, paint, sculpt, lead, mentor, parent, etc, in various creative ways as part of our daily lives. Children are especially good at creative play.

I get to see it happen when Melanie works on a quilt project. Each of the hundreds she has made involved an evolution of ideas, fabrics, and methods. Many started with the seed of an idea from a book or article. Some started on a piece of scrap paper across from me at the breakfast table. Some design got sketched out and saved for a long time as the idea jelled in her head.

Later, pieces of fabric are arranged by colors and patterns on the floor of the living room or her workspace downstairs. Once in a while, I am asked for a ‘consultation’ about design or color. Funny, I am somewhat color blind.

Eventually, cutting and piecing and sewing begins. It grows into a fully formed quilt top ready to be sandwiched with batting and a back. It is loaded on the long-arm machine and quilted. Binding is sewn around the edges to finish the work of art.

I get to help with one of the final steps, that of photographing it. Recently, Melanie finished a special quilt. We hung it to set the lighting for a good photograph. I fiddled with the camera settings. When I looked up, I saw this. She was carefully looking it over for loose threads or bad stitches. I quietly stole the shot without saying much. For me, it was a moving scene. She had put much effort and love into the process of creating. It is a joy to watch it happen.


26 thoughts on “Creating | New Ideas – Things – Ways

  1. Wonderful photograph Jim! I am amazed at the art of quilting. I will show Lisa your post and Melanie’s beautiful quilt.

  2. Great post Jim! This image is so meaningful to me, not only because of the intricacy of this exquisite craft (the image so nicely conveys), but because it reminds me of the tenets of my original profession: occupational therapy. Yes, I never tell anyone that this is one of my original degrees (still licensed, by the way), but this profession began with war veterans and their needs to rehabilitate through the use of traditional crafts such as these, of course, quilting is very advanced and would not have been the first choice in WWl, when the profession began, and this was also an exclusively feminine craft.

    However, look at her shoulder flexion, and endurance to maintain the posture required to arrange the quilt. It reminds me that I did enjoy O.T. when I practiced it, and it all began with the arts and crafts movement in 1816:

    “The Arts and Crafts movement that flourished between 1860 and 1910 also impacted occupational therapy. In a recently industrialized society, the arts and crafts societies emerged against the monotony and lost autonomy of factory work . Arts and crafts were utilized as a way of promoting learning through doing and provided an outlet for creative energy and a way of avoiding the boredom that was associated with long hospital stays, both for mental illness and for tuberculosis. Occupational therapists continue to work in the field of mental health, many universities place a strong emphasis on training students in psycho-social occupational therapy.”-

    Sorry for such a long comment, but this image brought me memories of my long-time ago studies.

    • I was happy to read your comments and that the post reminded you of your former studies. We never know what kind of connections our ideas and writing might have for a reader. Thank you for letting me know about this part of you.

    • Hi Maria. Thanks for the comment. Jim is right — we never know where our posts will lead or what memories they might inspire. Thanks for telling us your background and also more about OT. Needlework has long been used to occupy those with limitations. Quilting as I do it can be physically demanding. I’m glad to be in pretty good shape, as many parts of it would be so much harder if I were not. Thanks again.

      • Thank you Melanie! The image by Jim is so documentary and classic. Only great images like these evoke memories in me that otherwise would not surface.

  3. What an exceptional piece of art. I love the textures and the composition. I like the boundaries of it too because the eye is drawn in so as to see all the tiny details, the stars and the knots, the sunset colors and the ocean blues. Boy, I could look at this for a good long time. 🙂

    I like that you said being a leader, mentor or a parent takes creativity. It does. One has to find a way to reach the person’s head and heart and that takes thought and ingenuity…creativity. They are perhaps the most important artists we have. Very cool for you to have added them in there.


  4. What a sweet post! Another amazing quilt from an amazing person. I suspect you will treasure that photo for a long time. The creative process really interests me. This weekend my husband and I were talking about how writers always hate being asked, “Where do you get your ideas from.” I kind of get that it is sort of unanswerable but I think people really are hungry to learn more about how the process works … like, what inspired them, do they have a routine, any idiosyncrasies. We live in a world that says to many that creative work is only for specialists where I think creativity is something we all share. I think when someone asks that question they are expressing a loss.

    • Indeed, I will treasure it. I agree with the thoughts about creating. Maybe too many people have their faces and minds buried in tv or social media. I find my mind is freer when I get away from them.

  5. Beautiful, Jim. I love watching people do the things that they love, and reading about them is great, too. Your post reminds me of so many people who work so hard to make sure the things they’re passionate about turn out well. Great post.

  6. Oh I just love this post. The only thing better than getting to see this gorgeous quilt is getting to see its creator standing before it. One day I hope to own a quilt by Melanie!

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