I should start by saying… Yep, that’s me in the cheesy picture above. I couldn’t find an image so I took one myself. Feel free to make fun. I deserve it.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to business here. I’ve been working on a new column that involves some reader participation, if you all are interested. I am really excited about it. The thing is, it will only work if you help out. All I am asking is for you to answer one question in the comments. That’s it! It’ll really help me get this new mystery column off to a good start. So, what do you say? Will you answer this quick question for me?
Why do you create?
In other words, what first compelled you to begin making things and why do you continue to do so?
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There has always been a piece of the goodness of eternity that I find through the beauty of design & the joy of celebration. I create to experience these pieces…Victoria
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I create because I NEED to. I feel happy and calm when I am making something. If time goes by and I have not spent time in my studio, i feel it. It really is just part of who I am and it’s been like that for a long as I can remember. I love the whole process- coming up with an idea, working out what I need to complete it, sketching it out and planning, then trying it out. It really doesn’t matter if it works out like I planned,and lots of times it doesn’t, but it usually evolves and morphs until it is something I am happy with. If not, I stop and work on something else.
No matter what, I need to be doing some sort of creating, every single day. It is my therapy.
(thanks for the rockin’ blog!)Tanya
Thanks Stephanie for sharing your story!papernstitch
Making your own destiny is certainly a HUGE positive influence on your kids to go after their dreams. I love that!
Great question! I create because I always have, it’s just part of who I am. I create consistently because I have to. I have two kids and I can’t think of a better way to support them. Work long hours convenient to someone else’s schedule, with no responsibility and no say… or work long hours being who I am, making my own destiny, my own schedule and showing my kids first hand to work hard and follow their dreams? Not a hard choice!Stephanie Butler
I create to show my love for people and family. When I use my hands to make a gift, decoration or article of clothing, I feel like I’m giving them a slice of my time. Additionally, I feel so fulfilled after I’ve finished a handmade project. Whatever I create is a piece of me. I create as much as I can–I always have at least one project going on.aimee @ paging supermom
I started to create things as gifts. I would shop around for presents for my friends’ occasions and never find anything special or unique enough to match them (also that was in my budget). My mother was a seamstress and my grandmother and great grandmother sew and knit and crochet, etc, profusely. I had the bones of sewing skill but needed more instruction. So over the years, my mother and I have collaborated over many projects – mostly gifts for others and a few clothing pieces as well. Not just sewing but origami is one of my greatest loves. Making things that others profess they are not skilled enough to create (poppycock) is a joy for me, because I can use my hands to create for the love and smiles of others. I still create almost every week – at the moment I’m making a quilt for my new house. Creating is also (& most importantly) part of how I relax and how I stay in touch with myself. If I’m feeling down, I pick up a needle and thread or some fabric and I remind myself of how I, and no one else, could have made that piece of history. The beat of my heart made my hands move just so, and the blood flow to my brain made my idea for this piece take a certain shape. Things I create are little pieces of my soul that show me and others who I am 🙂Sarah
Brittani! What a great question! Although I could (and do) write about this in depth (on my blog) I think I can sum up the answer to your question pretty succinctly: I started creating because I would see something I liked/wanted/coveted and didn’t have the means to purchase it, and then make it myself! This began with quilts back in my teenage years and continues to this day (cough…25 years later…cough). Although I (along with my long suffering husband) do all sorts of home dec type projects in order to sooth my covetous nature, I’ve ended up becoming an art quilter because of my early fatuation with quilts. Today, what keeps me making, (beyond show deadlines…) is that I HAVE to make. When I’m not making, or planning what I’ll be making next, I am a MISERABLE person, no fun to be around. Now that I’m in the swing of making on a regular basis, I find my creative well being refilled on a regular basis, triggered by the making itself – it’s a wonderous cycle!
Hah – I thought I could be brief…well I was, for me! 😉
Great question – and lots of fabulous answers up there!
Cheers – CandyCandy from Candied Fabrics
I have always felt the need to create things. And since getting my first “big girl” job out of college two years ago, I have found that that need has turned into a major craving. My job lends itself to ZERO CREATIVITY. And for a creative person that reality is mind numbing, depressing, stifling. I started my card business in August by just taking the plunge, head first, because I needed a creative outlet so badly I couldn’t see straight anymore. Starting your own business adds its own set of stressors and craziness to life, but in reality, 99% of the time this creative “work” never actually feels like work. I give thanks every day for the ability to create.Megan Fischer
It took me quite a while to figure out how important crafting was to me and why it was so deeply rooted into my daily happiness. I wrote this a while ago-
I’m a mother of two wonderful boys who inspire me daily to be creative and enjoy life. I come from a very large crafting family with uncles, aunts and cousins who do everything from woodworking to ceramics. My grandmother always had a closet full of craft projects, patterns and supplies. Instead of gifts, she’d take us to the store to buy something we could make. She crafted alongside and in her own wisdom quietly taught us that you’re never to young or old to try something new.
As a left brain, logical thinker, life for me is a giant puzzle. I’m continually looking at things wondering how they were made and deciding weather or not to challenge myself to build it on my own. Because of my grandmother I try to consider myself a creative, inventive individual. Using my hands to create has been a huge part of who I am. I didn’t realize just how huge until my oldest son was born. The first six months of his life my craft projects went on hold as I devoted myself to his daily care. Slowly I started to feel something was missing. I was happy for the most part but I lacked a sense of accomplishment.
In my quest to be a great mother I forgot that I needed to take time for myself to better love the time I spend with him. I now give myself permission to take time away from my two young sons for creative outlets and in return I become a more calm, joyful and fulfilled person.
I stumbled onto your blog a couple of weeks ago. I love the workspace wednesday.margaret
I create because it is a very positive thing to be able to make something with my own hands. I find that I can get so bogged down by negative thoughts and feelings during the day, but if I can channel that negativity into making something sooner or later I’m going to be feeling a whole lot better.
There’s also something incredibly satisfying (which is where I draw that positivity) with making something for myself or someone else. I get a rush of happiness and pride looking at it!
Wow, so many reasons to create…but I suppose the essence is that I must. It’s like getting it out of me…and I continue to do so because it does bring me satisfaction and enjoyment through the process. It’s just fun fun!linda
I create because I love being on an unexpected journey, not needing to know the exact destination. Yes, I may start out saying “I want to make a scarf, quilt, etc…” — but the route I take to get there often ends up being delightfully different than the one I had imagined.
In the corporate world where I spend my days, we’re (by necessity) all about process, controlling the results, standardization, consistency, heading toward exact outcomes. When I get home and get my hands on fabric or yarn, I can just let go and let the materials tell me what they want to be. I listen, and don’t need to be in control. I don’t know what I’ll end up with, and I love it. It’s so freeing.Anne K.
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As a child, I had to create because of budget but now I create because of necessity. I prefer to make my own then to search for a similar item to fulfill its purpose. I personally dont like to carry a too big of a bag for little things and too small to try to fit everything. needless to say, i make bags. It would be less of a headache to just make one to fit all sizes for any occassion.Cary
Annamaria- Funny you should ask that. I’ll be responding to this question as my first post for the new column.papernstitch
Intersting question But tough!I think I create out of curiosity…I want to see what happens when I do certain things…I create because it gives me so much joy to sit on my desk and paint, imagine and open doors to new places…At the same time, it’s who I am, and who I always was, and who I always will be…can’t help it…!annamaria potamiti
And what about you dear Brittni? You have abundant creative cells, so how about you?x
It’s innate, I have ALWAYS, ALWAYS been a creator. It would take longer to embrace my artistic side, but I love it now. I actually wrote a blog post about my creative beginning here:
i create because it makes other people happy. majority of what i make, i give away and i love seeing the joy on someone’s face when they receive something that i made especially for them. and added bonus, crafting makes me happy too 🙂youngmi
Quite simply, I create because I don’t know any other way to be. It’s in my bones. Creating for me is like breathing.Rach W.
i started making jewelry again because i didn’t want to buy something i thought i could make myself. but i have found over the last 40+ years that i’ve been happiest when i’m creating/making things. i used to scrapbook, i’ve made a quilt, i have refinished furniture, made slipcovers, painted,taken loads of photographs, decorated i don’t even know how many apartments…..and now i get to make things with my son. it’s fun!alexandra keller
This is a difficult question! There are a lot of reasons I create — to pass time, to relax, to save money, to channel some of my thoughts/emotions of out my head in a healthy way.Marie
I suppose I first started creating when I was 14; that is when I made my first zine. I found the entire process of zineing — writing, typing, cutting, pasting, mailing, etc. — to be very exciting, and the side effects, like making friends in other states and discovering some other really wonderful zines, only motivated me to create more.
But I guess, to answer yr question, I should just say: I create because I love to create. That’s all there is to it.
I create because….I have to…how could I not? I’d say it’s a calling and also because the universe needs us to make those creative works that only we, as individuals, can create! Frustrating sometimes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s a good question to ask ourselves once in a while…thanks!Patti Roberts-Pizzuto
It’s compulsive. It’s being confronted with lovely stuff and not being able to walk on by without stopping, touching it, and thinking about what would be nice made with it. It’s finding a way to give unwanted lovelies in the thrift shops a new lease on life.Diana
My answer is simple: just because.
I began with sewing bags, pillows and little wallets for myself at elementary school. I started it, because it looked good, and I felt I can do it. So I did it :-).
I think this is the root of my creative life.vadjutka
Because I want to make the world more beautiful, everyday, in so many ways.
I want to paint the world in all colours of the rainbow.Ellen
Gosh. I am really kind of overwhelmed with all the truly AMAZING answer to this question. I know I keep saying this, but thank you so much to everyone who has responded here. I am looking forward to reading more (haven’t fully caught up on the last five or so comments). Although, I should probably take a break for a little bit so I can finish up my work for the day. That’s always a good idea, right? 🙂papernstitch
This is a great question and one which I want to answer thoughtfully, so this might be a wee bit long…
Like many other creative types, from a very early age I was considered a creative and imaginative person. What began as imaginative play continued to evolve and develop until my artistic spirit and creative thought process became a huge part of my identity. Although my level of creativity has grown over the years, I think many of the reasons for why I create remain the same. When I was younger creativity was an outlet for my imagination, it kept me busy, helped me develop wonderful friendships, and gave me a great sense of enjoyment. As an adult, those motives still remain valid. In addition, they now include a way to enhance the lives of others through my job as an art teacher and artist and as a way to create a pleasing home environment for my family and our friends. In college creativity helped pay the bills as I worked with children in after-school programs and as a camp counselor during summers breaks. Often using different forms of creativity to encourage children, and to help them express their feelings. Eventually my passion for art lead to a job teaching in the school system. I now teach children and adults out of my home studio. It gives me a huge amount of satisfaction to be able to provide them with an artistic outlet and to enhance their visual knowledge. Finally, my husband and I remodeled our home filling it with art, light and cheerful color. It is now a warm and welcoming environment for our family, and friends and with large empty walls gave me another reason to paint.
I truly think that if I didn’t create I would loose a huge aspect of who I am, what helps makes me happy, keeps me fulfilled, and gives me a sense of purpose.
Thanks for making me think about and validate my reasons for creating.cathie
I guess for me, creating is the only way to organize what’s inside my head into something other people can understand. It’s like, my boyfriend is a writer, and we feel the same way about what we do, they’re just different paths to take (I, for one, find writing incredibly frustrating, so I’ve always really admired good writers).
When I was very young (like 2-3), my parents noticed that when I played in the backyard I would use these pebbles to draw on the bricks of our house. Then they noticed that the drawings were actually kind of good. I would draw a woman, and she’d have a bow in her hair, or fingernails, or maybe some shoes with lots of buttons. I’ve always loved making things look complete.
In elementary school, it was a way to define who I was. I actually had a little “shop” that I used to compete with a classmate’s “shop” (he sold pencil grips, I sold small things I made, like string necklaces or crayons with designs carved on them). We all knew that Corey was the best runner, Hannah was the best reader, and Aly made things.
I identify with what Bethany said up there. “I create because I have to” really sums it up for me, too. I don’t feel like I’m complete if I’m not making something.
(Also, that’s so weird that so many of you had artistic grandmothers; my grandmother is an artist as well and we used to spend a lot of time painting watercolors together when I was young.)Aly
I create because I want to be re-created. Through taking on the role of creator, crafter, designer and dreamer I find that I’m the one that gains significantly from the whole process. Even more than the gifts I make. Even more than the people I give them to. I’m the one that gets to be made new.Piper
I’ve always been a little too curious + hyperactive for my own good, always testing the limits of those around me with all the drawing on the walls thing + singing in the shower + playing with my mom’s make up + my do it yourself outfits + baking cupcakes + all the other crazy things I love to do + make. I really think the need for creating comes from the spirit. It’s part of our system + our core essence. It sounds a little cheesy + crazy, I know, like if I as some sort of spiritual guru hehehe, but I truly believe it’s true. Creative people are born, not made.
So what was the question again? hahaha right? Why do I create? Well, to put it simply: I create because I don’t know how not to.
By the way, I love this blog Brittni. You always engage your readers in such creative ways 🙂Mayi Carles @ Heartmade
That’s a pretty fundamental question for me. My “word”, the word that defines me, is “Create”! So this is not the first time I’ve thought about this lol This question has many answers, too.
I create …
1) because I NEED to. It literally is an inner need.Birgit Kerr
2) because it makes me happy! It’s fun! It’s satisfying!
3) because it gives me an idea of the process and involves me. Every creation, good or bad, then carries part of me.(This is not just for arts or crafts creations)
4) because it challenges me!
5) because in creating something ultimate knowledge and complete oblivion are somehow unified. When you create something, you need to follow the rules as the same time as you have to completely let go of the rules and concepts 🙂
This is a great question!Marisa O.
Wow! Thank you so much DK for such an amazing and heartfelt response to my question. I especially love this, “I totally want to be my great-grandmother when I grow up.” How sweet.papernstitch
Actually, I have been exploring this for myself over the summer and have a few posts touching on some information about how I create things and why.DK
Creating started out as an element of the ordinary for me. It was just something that happened in my family. We didn’t have funds to purchase a lot of things and so a lot of our home goods and day to day items like clothing and furniture were things we made ourselves. My father is a carpenter and electrician by trade, but a general renaissance man all around even though he would deny such a title if ever confronted with it; he just does what he likes and what he knows how to do. My mother made our clothes until we were teenagers. I think the only reason she stopped was that she could make more money doing an out-of-home job and buying clothes on sale and clearance than she could save doing all of the in-home things she had done for years.
So that’s how it started. Just something we did to get by and have some nice things. I till have very strong creative drive as an adult and find that I have to make things or else I start to feel like I am going mad. Music performance filled the role of primary creative endeavor for many years while I was in school. Now I don’t play as often as I used to and find myself drawn back to more traditional things like sewing, embroidery, quilting, and fabric dying. Handcrafts. History and me connection to generations past is also a huge part of why i continue to craft and create. The following is rephrased from one of my earlier summer posts:
I have many photos of quilt tops, embroidered tablecloths and a smocked pillow cover my great-grandmother made; taken while I was in Arkansas mid-June for a family reunion and I look at them quite frequently. She was a master of reusing and re-purposing textiles. She would dye items that weren’t to her liking color-wise, making use of onion skins and kitchen scraps as well as walnut husks and other natural dye sources. Many of the fabrics in her quilts were meticulously hand cut, using tiny templates, from feed and flour sacks as well the occasional bit of still serviceable cloth from otherwise worn out shirts and dresses.
I started dying fabrics myself using metals and natural dye sources and am continuously amazed at the results. I imagine the feeling of exuberance and wonder over watching something so pretty and different than it was before emerge from a pot has not changed much over the centuries that people have been dying things. I used to tell people I wanted to be an adult when I grew up. After this summer I have a new answer. I totally want to be my great-grandmother when I grow up.
I love that “just for you” comment Annie.papernstitch
That’s a great reason Penelope. I love seeing someone else proudly displaying something I’ve made for them as well.
Clare- Yes! Inspiration is a key ingredient, isn’t it?
I cant imagine my life without art either Riki. Thanks for coming by and talking about it!
And Magdalena, we are on the same page with that one. This is great stuff everyone. Thank you for participating!
I create, because that gives me pleasure and satisfaction. But mostly creating is something natural for me, I like to have my hands busy, and to spend my time productively. So even before my Etsy shop my closet and home was full of handmade things.
I just love all kinds of crafts and I always did.
It feels so good when people appreciate your work, want to wear your creations, made from a scratch by yourself…it’s very rewarding 🙂Magdalena
It’s like somebody out there have small piece of your life…isn’t it great?!
I agree with what others have said. That I can’t imagine life without art. As much as I complain about my day job painting and drawing 40+ hours a week it has made me a much more confident artist. That confidence has allowed me to work harder to create images that have meaning to me and hopefully one day I will have the freedom to support myself doing what I love.Riki
I create because I am inspired by the creativity that surrounds me and is just floating around out there in the world. And because it makes me happy, and because I just love looking at things, so I guess I create for people who also love looking at things.clare
I create because I love the idea of someone enjoying or displaying something I’ve worked hard on. Joy!Penelope
Why do I create? I create because it is an outlet for me to escape from my daily craziness at work. Also I create because I want to show my family and friends I took out the time to do this “just for you” thats why sometimes I get upset when they don’t appreciate but once I know they don’t appreciate it I never do it for them. I still create but quite selective now. My next mission is to create and give it to my choice of charity.Annie
Emma- you are so right. I hadn’t really thought about this being a difficult question or at least one that it tough to articulate, but it makes perfect sense. When people use to ask me about my artwork and why I made this shape here or there was lots of movement there, I often had a hard time putting it into words. It was sub-conscience for me and very automatic. I think that is the case for many of us.papernstitch
Cheryl-I have a lot of little outlets too. I just like making things (anything really). Kinda doesn’t matter what it is.
Thank you Bethany for coming by and sharing why you create.
I create.. because I have to. Because it flows out of me and there’s no stopping it. 🙂Bethany Susan
Hmmm… why do I create? Well, I wish I created more but there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. I have lots of little outlets and as small as they are they serve the need I have to be creative. It’s a need. A since of accomplishment. An expression. The act of creating for me is an extension of who I am and what I’m thinking.
I’m in love with Sasha’s felt amoeba. Too cute.Cheryl @ House of Shine
Brittni, that’s almost an impossible question for me…
I create things because that’s what I do, it’s what I’ve always done, it’s what I will always do.
I create things because it’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been and who I always will be.
I can’t imagine doing anything else, even if I’m not always making the things I’m making now, I know I will always be creative in some way.
I can’t really remember the begining. My Mam taught me to knit and crochet when I was as small as I can remember and I was always drawn to creative and crafty pursuits throughout school. Then it was a no brainer to go to art college. In fact I don’t think I’ve really considered doing anything else…
Hope this helps… ?
Oh, and don’t be silly! You look as cute as always, even if you are concentrating really hard… 😉emma lamb
Well, thank you Mai. How sweet of you to say. Yep, I think many of us have been creative in some way or another since childhood. My story is a bit different, switching back and forth between many disciplines before finding something that I just couldn’t let go of, but I’ll be sharing that later. This is all about you all. So keep the stories coming.papernstitch
Brittni, you’re adorable, as always.
To answer your question, like many other artists, I was innately creative from childhood. To create is a way of life–it’s a part of who we are. I believe that all of us have a touch of The Creator in us, and creating–in turn–expresses itself in many ways. A mechanic in his workshop receives gratification from rebuilding an engine. A grandmother in a kitchen labors several hours to bake a delicious cake for her family. A geek at his computer smiles when he writes his next program, or designs a video game.
For some, the need to create is stronger than others. I think â€œthe callingâ€ chooses the artist; we can choose to pursue that calling in return, or ignore it, and settle for a far less interesting life.Mai
My grandmother was one of my big influences as well Elizabeth. So glad you found us. Hope you’ll visit again soon.papernstitch
And thank you Linda. I am long past college days, but that’s what I was going for. 🙂 You create such beautiful pieces for One Fine Dae. Its so great to hear what keeps you going.
Aw. You look like a young college student pondering her next move in life. Hehe.
And I create because it’s satisfying to be able to make something by hand, and have the next person appreciate the craft. And it’s also this innate feeling of always wanting to be creative, to come up with ideas in my mind, use materials to craft that idea, and then be able to tangibly touch the product once it’s done.linda
What first started me off on my crafty ways was most certainly my art teacher grandma. For the better part of the first seven years of my life I was her very adoring studant, I still use tricks that she taught me 20 years ago.
But now, I think what gets me going when I sit down to create is knowing that even when I feel like so much about my life is messy and out of my control I know I can make something that is nice and will when everything is said and done, put a smile on my face and maybe someone elses face too.
P.S. just found your site and really enjoy it.Elizabeth
Sasha. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I really love what you said about the connections you make and the people who enjoy the things that you make. Such a great point of view.papernstitch
Even as a kid, I couldn’t wait for the next assignment at school that required a “visual aid”. To me those words meant a trip to the craft store and me inevitably forcing my mom to spend more money than was necessary on various crafty things for me (thanks, Mom!).
Time went on and when I got to college, my brain changed gears as I studied towards a degree in Biochemistry. My creativity went on hiatus for a few years then.
After graduating, I found myself at home in the evenings with more time on my hands, looking for something to do. It started with making some stockings for my boyfriend and I for the holidays and then getting ideas to make Christmas ornaments for our tree. From there it branched out and I began sewing a range of cute, fun, colorful and geeky felt goodies and selling them on Etsy.
Here I am, 7 months later and still loving every minute of it – Knowing that I made someone else happy by sharing one of my creations with them. I love connecting with each customer getting feedback from them. I love seeing a product through from start to finish, knowing that I did everything to make, promote and finally ship it out the door. It’s a good feeling.
It really isn’t so much about the money I make about selling my goodies (I have a day job for that), but about the people who enjoy them, the connections formed with them and fellow handmade connoisseurs and the sense of accomplishment when you know you are the one running the show.Sasha
Isn’t that a great moment when you say to people, “I made this!”. Thanks for sharing with us Hazel.papernstitch
I’ve always had an inherent DIY gene. I create mostly out of necessity and budget. But I definitely I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish, flaws and all. And when people ask, “Did you make that?”, I can proudly say, “Yes, I did!” =)Hazel