Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Trial and Error learning... why it's critical to the creative process
I used to say that everything I made evolved from a mistake. I entered college as a photography major. As a photo major, I had to take many classes in drawing, painting, color theory, design, sculpture, etc. And since I was comfortable with a camera (the old film kind!) and not the other tools of art, I always felt like an 'accidental' artist. Also, because I'm not the kind of artist who can "see" the end result clearly from the beginning, I thought that perhaps my creations were less legitimate. I didn't know when I set out to create a project (drawing, painting, photo, sculpture) what the end result would look like. In fact, when I did have a plan, it almost seemed to come out worse. As a result, I didn't have much trust in my artistic abilities and I would simply say, "It evolved from a mistake". Meaning, that if it turned out terrible, I didn't have to take as much ownership of it, and if it turned out great, then it could be serendipitous, a delightful surprise.
I have decided that my earlier mantra is the real mistake. It's not that everything I create evolves from a mistake... it's that my creations require a process where I get to decide when it's "done". Now that I look back, I realize that many artists don't create art from their first "try". If I may be so bold as to look at "real" artists... (haha) Picasso used to do "studies" of his paintings first before putting them on canvas. Many sculptors, like Degas, would do miniatures first getting the proportions just right before creating the full-sized piece. Does Tiger Woods go out on the first tee without doing some warm up swings first? NO! So why should I think I am less of an artist (still, having trouble using that word to describe myself) if I am spontaneous, and don't start my work with a specific vision, and allow it to be trial and error, evolving along the way? It's just a different way to get to a result. I'm sure that there are other crochet and knit designers out there who are able to visualize down to the smallest detail how the project should look, and then are able to replicate their vision with perfect accuracy. I am not one of them.
This is one of the many reasons why crochet design (or any art) can't be "taught". You can get tips, you can hear methods, you can improve, but really, can creativity be "taught?" I don't know. I can learn to appreciate music and understand the theory, but really, I'm quite sure that I will never compose a musical masterpiece. This is why I get so confused when people ask me, "how do I become a designer", I just don't know.