Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Embrace Creativity

Creativity is like riding a bike. You might be a little rusty at first, you may even fear falling off, but then you feel the wind through your hair, you find your balance and wonder why you haven’t ridden in years! More and more people are embracing creativity in some way because they feel the need for connection, expression and the acknowledgement of who we are.

The act of being creative requires us to take risks. Most of us learn by the time we are in middle school that we had better stay comfortable and safe and not take any more creative risks. Somehow, transitioning from stick figures to realism is a daunting task. Go figure! We Americans want successful results right away. Do you know some people spend their lives drawing the figure? Somehow, as our brains develop, we never make it back to the drawing table and we continue playing it safe.
Making furniture is already a bunch of hard work, why make it even more difficult by changing the design? I could be making furniture that copies the Queen Anne, Early American, French Provincial, Colonial, Pennsylvania Dutch, Shaker, Victorian or even Art Nouveau styles. There are many, many more if I don’t like any of those. That would be playing it very safe. Many woodworkers stay working in the style that they were taught. There are many very fine woodworkers out there doing just that and there is nothing wrong about it. 
I need to exist in a creative space weather cooking, woodworking, driving home or playing music. Being creative is the breath of fresh air, the life force, the one thing that keeps me challenged and intrigued.

I grew up surrounded by Chippendale, Colonial and Queen Anne furniture. I discovered Shaker when I was a teen. Shaker was so refreshing to me because it focused attention on the wood itself and simplified the design so the two could co-exist.

Today, like the artist studying the human form, I am still playing with proportions, edges, curves and lines. I draw things out as best I can but when it comes right down to it I have to consider the wood as well as the finish in my design.

It is a risky business being creative. Living in uncertainty can be unsettling and not everything we do is successful. Hopefully we learn a little something along the way and get as close to 'just right' as we can. Each success builds upon another and before you know it you're working out your algebraic equations with your ABC's! And you must admit, taking the leap to create is downright exciting! 

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Little Flame

Little Flame
Prize winner in the NWFW 30th Annual Box Show! SOLD