Friday, August 4, 2017

The WHY

Recently I caught a fascinating Facebook post/conversation instigated by Christi Friesen asking, "Why do you create or make things?" Such a seemingly simple question.  While I pondered how I would answer I realized that while most everyone has a good reason to create, it can be hard to express why - especially the deeper why.

In this post I want to explore a few of the reasons why *I* create but I want to also challenge you to ask yourself the same thing.  Be warned: This is a word-heavy post!  Art is not just a form of self expression but also a form of self exploration and when we dig deep to discover what makes us tick it can help us hone in on our journey and the future direction we want to take our work in.  This brings me to my first WHY:

1) Self-Expression/Exploration (Uniqueness)

I believe that every human being is unique and diversity is a great asset, however, looking at mainstream goods production would make you think otherwise.  For instance, the amount of mass produced every-one-looks-the-same jewelry out there is evidence that trends rule and that the masses flock to the same things.  This is why we have so many cheap jewelry stores with people's names in the title - I mean, who is Charlie anyway?

Personally, I enjoy having something no one else has.  This in part may be personality but I like big, you-can't-miss-me, you've-never-seen-anything-like-it jewelry.  I relish displaying my taste and if it is bold, funky and strange...fine by me!  But frankly, I generally can't afford one-of-a-kind jewelry for everyday life...leading me to my next reason:


2) Affordability

Okay so I realize that creating ISN'T cheap...and honestly if I spent as much money on unique jewelry as I did on beads I could probably afford some cool stuff.  However, there is a freedom in being able to take things in the world around us and create whatever our imagination concocts.  And even $150 in beads will create a necklace WORTH far more than that - time is money, people!


3) Boredom

Let's face it - we NEED to be doing things.  When I think back to how I began my beading journey boredom played a big part.  I was a high school freshman, I was bored, and About.com had a cool beaded pansy necklace pattern for pony beads that I adjusted to suit seed bead bracelets, because....glass > plastic! Eek that was a long time ago!  I have found that beading fills and satisfies a certain area in my brain but I usually watch TV and bead because I need more than just 1 part "working".  I need things "going on" to get things done.  It's an extravert thing I guess.



4) Peace/Tranquility/Calm/Stress Relief

There are real physical benefits to creating.  Research has found that hobbies trigger Eustress (positive stress), lower blood pressure, help with depression, and even improve brain function!  There is a sense of peace, relaxation and happiness when you create - dopamine anyone?  So, the next time you have a horrid knot in your thread or a disastrous bead spill, don't throw in the towel - creating is good for you!  I call myself the idea girl - I can come up with ideas like crazy - more than I could ever create in my lifetime.  Actively creating focuses all your ideas on a single point - there may be many directions you can take but they are focused on the current project...and that can calm the storm raging in our heads.


5) Recognition

You might not want to admit it...but I will.  I take GREAT pleasure in being recognized for my work.  Sometimes this is a driving force, "I need to make something new so I can get more compliments". (Thought but never said!)  I will also throw in here that sometimes seeing other people's reaction to your strange necklace or weird design is amusing.  Either way, it's as if we wear our heart on our sleeve.  Art is deeply personal and in many cases reflects a part of who you are to others.  Humans love compliments and when you get one about something you made it helps validate what you spent valuable time on.

6) To Solve A Problem

I often need a necklace to compliment a particular outfit - how better to resolve this than to create something myself?  Almost like trying on jeans to find a pair that fits, finding the right jewelry can be a lengthy process.  When you make your own you don't have to go searching hoping to find the perfect thing.  For me, this is almost a lifestyle...when something breaks or a problem arises I often find alternative means of resolving the issue.  For instance, many years ago my car ran out of gas.  I had a gas can in my trunk so I walked to a gas station, filled it and returned...but then I had a bigger problem.  The gas can did not have a neck to extend into the tank...it would just pour gas down the side of my vehicle.  I looked around for help but all I had was an empty water bottle and a knife.  I cut the bottom out of the water bottle to create a funnel, stuck one end into the car and poured the gas in.  THIS is a creative solution to a problem.  Just call me McGuiver.

7) Financial Gain


This might be a reason you create - for the extra income...or it may be an outcome - because you have too many necklaces to wear yourself.  Either way, being creative can afford you anything from supplemental income to your entire income.  Thinking out of the box gives us the ability to address problems in a new innovative ways and that is a marketable skill!  This is why pricing is important...paying yourself a fair wage that still is a competitive.





8) Unexplainable Internal Drive

I think almost all of us would say that we create because "we have to".  I do think that we are made for a purpose and sometimes our purpose is this.  Artists are the color in between (and outside of) the lines of life.  There is something within us that urges us to make things and to color outside the lines...to be different and pay no attention to the rules.

While this is far from an exhaustive list, I hope this helps jumpstart your self-exploration into WHY you create.  Some of these may be a reason and some of them may be an outcome.  Regardless...seek out those reasons, find the direction they lead and pursue them!  And let me know...what other reasons are why you create?