As these weeks lead up to my wedding next month I’m sure you aren’t surprised that a lot of things on my mind deal with lace, things blue and borrowed. Even in the midst of this, I can see how my creativity can be better utilized in moments of restriction. While the activity and craft I reference isn’t directly about my artistic practice, in many ways it is. It is something I can harness and further develop in my artistic practice. Enough babbling about weddings and analysis, let’s get to it.
I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it: restriction can actually promote creativity.
Earlier this week I found out I misread a communication with my coordinator (yes, I hired one and THANK GOD I did, she is amazing) and realized I had to arrange for my wedding guests to know which table to sit at. I’ve heard these things called place cards, escort cards…blahdey blahdey blah. (I have to say, I’m not that bride that dreamed everything down to the last detail). So, once I realized I had to make something or buy something to arrange seating for guests I went to work. My first limit was time. I had three weeks, not to mention a myriad of other tasks to get ready for my destination affair.
Instead of trying to come up with my own entirely original idea, I immediately “googled” placecards, unique placecards. I use both Google Search and Pinterest for inspiration sources. I scanned for about ten minutes and noted the images that piqued my interest. Some people used wood and had engraved names. That natural material appealed to me. I immediately figured I’d buy some Balsa wood and use paper punches of some shape to make as little ornaments. Sorted!
I drove around Dubai for an entire day collecting materials and running other errands. Lucky me, I had it all. Or, so I thought. The store I go to only had two sheets of Balsa, not nearly enough to punch the 50 odd ornaments I planned to make. But I did find thin sheets of plywood and figured I’d give that a try. Again, quick thinking based on my sense of urgency because of time. When I got home I realized the heavy duty paper punches will not punch through plywood (images of a petite woman jumping on the paper punch using her whole body weight to try to get it to work apply here). Enter my next restriction: resources.
I sat down and surveyed the materials I did collect. I could easily cut the plywood with a knife, so how could I decorate it? Scrapbook stores and the whole invention of scrapbooking culture… this is the first time I will give you thanks. I made a new list of materials to finish out the project and began cutting up the plywood into little squares. I put on a movie for entertainment and the grunt work began.
The next day I ran more errands, which now included the newly updated resource list. I picked up just a few pieces of paper and came back home. Sanded wood, lots of glue and cut up paper later I made a design I liked. That feeling of not much time helped me make fast decisions, which I’m not always good at doing. I believe my faster decisions are more intuitive, which is why I’ve also moved to acrylic paint from oil paint in my artist practice. I digress, which is exactly what I couldn’t do if I wanted to finish these place cards.
About a day later everything has been glued and ribbon attached. Names are written on them and save for figuring out where everyone is actually sitting, they are good to go. In three days I collected materials and built these little babies. And they wouldn’t be done if I hadn’t had the, dare I say it, luxury of restriction.
So many people say they can’t because they don’t have things like time, money, etc… Yet time and time again that makes me think of creatives like Jen Stark, who had no money and thus chose limited materials for art school. And boy, has that worked out well for her. So maybe we should all take a little more time to survey the things we do have in our lives and better use them creatively!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What other things can offer us creative restriction? What resources do you have available to you in your home and everyday that can afford you creative opportunity?