First, you all know that I have a background in psychology, and while I have studied why people do what they do and how to get them to do something different, and how and why they relate to the world and others the way that they do... I have never studied how people create. And, it never really crossed my mind! (How odd!)
Apparently Doris' thinking about how people create is of course the result of her experience in her own creating of design, and seeing how her friends and peers are similar and different, but also she attended a talk of some sort with Sally Melville on the topic of creativity. (Wouldn't that be fascinating?)
In my conversation with Doris the other day she asked me if I swatch much. Feeling some what guilty, I said, 'not really as much as I think other designers do'. Which is the truth. While I may have a dozen swatches, I know other designers... cough, Vashti, cough, Robyn, who probably easily have hundreds of swatches lying around. I told Doris, no, I don't swatch much, I usually just grab hook and yarn and start. She says to me, (this is the magic moment here....) she says to me something like, "Ah, you are an organic designer". TA DA! YES! She explained that while some people are "analytic designers" who do swatches, and meticulously plan an entire design before even picking up a hook to begin the project... other designers are organic designers who "grow yarn".
This resonated so true to me. I used to say that everything (design-wise) I did evolved from a mistake. Which was a really self-denigrating comment, don't you think? Over the years, I stopped saying that and instead told myself the truth: I allow designs to evolve and I make decisions that help the project be better until I decide it is finished. But, I design as I go along.
Still, somehow, hearing how other designers plan out designs to the last stitch before they begin, how the projects are so planned out that they can hire others to make it for them.... that just blows my mind! How is that possible? It's a right brain/left brain thing. While most successful designers, Doris says, have a good amount of both organic and analytical, it seems we have a preferred side when creating. Of course neither style is right or wrong, but I'm thinking it's kinda like having curly vs. straight hair... whichever one you have, you'd like to have the other and maybe even try really hard to make it happen with all sorts of exercises in curling and straightening, but really, you're just fighting nature and eventually nature wins. Your hair is just going to be what it is going to be. GO WITH IT. I've tried to be an analytic designer, making a swatch and doing math and writing patterns with Excel before making the project. It doesn't flow with me because after all that work, I make a different decision that takes the project in a new direction and all that time has been lost.
Doris, me, Vashti, at TNNA 2010.So, from now on, instead of comparing apples to oranges, or in this case, organic vs. analytical, I'm going to be proud to be my organic design self, and continue to grow designs one at a time.
PS. Doris is an organic designer and I'm thrilled to be in her esteemed company. Thank you, Doris!