Misguided Creativity

I didn't sleep well, but I used the extra little awakeness to write emails, which I've been avoiding, but need to be written. I'm coping, and I'm all sorts of cranky--some of which comes out in this entry--but these things pass as well. I'm doing well enough to avoid laundry, so that's a good sign.

Anyway, so I've been browsing about on ravelry and live journal recently for lack of other procrastinating to do (like the past week or so) and I've begun to develop a new "type" of internet citizen. A type particularly prevalent on LJ and the rav':

*The Overwhelmingly Creative:*

These are, generally older (I've never seen an overwhelmingly creativity person under 35, I think younger people can blame most of these characteristics on too much neural plasticity, or something), folks who dabble in a lot of creative endeavors, but don't have a lot of output. They talk about how creative and/or artistic they are in their profiles or other "about me," spaces, but the cursory glimpse of their journals/portfolio doesn't reveal a particularly unusual amount (or kind) of production. They often discuss their aptitude or success at a wide range of wildly dissimilar crafts/activities (eg. metalsmithing, painting, tai chi, felting, dog grooming, and collage). Again, allow me to stress the overprotection, the dabbling, and the poor/unrealistic self concept.

And generally I could care less. I think Marilyn, bless her heart (heh), would call these folks "knitdweebs," and thats part of the issue, but I think there's more.

So this "type" fabrication is mostly in jest, but it has brought up a number of more serious concerns:

  • Craft, largely because of it's association with women, is devalued, and crafters as a result. Also the latest commercial revival hasn't helped: Stitch and Bitch, and the Discovery Channel daytime programing all reinscribe craft on women-ness and while this is sells product, recruits new knitters, and is empowering and feels great, I'm not sure that it's the best thing to elevate the craft.
  • More knitter's doesn't equal more power/respect for the craft of knitting. Arguably, a smaller proportion of the population knits today than did 40 or 80 years ago, so I don't think making knitting "bigger" is the same as getting power/respect. Not that it's a bad thing that new people knit and that the craft grows, but that if you want to talk about changing the craft in any meaningful way, you have to do more.
  • I do a lot of things that others consider to be creative: I write, I knit and spin, I dance, etc. People sometimes, particularly in knitting contexts, ask if I'm (was, trying to be) in graduate school for art, right after they're awed by the creativity of my sweaters, or something. Which always strikes me as weird. I mean, I love the compliment, but I think is misguided. Creativity is a situational response to constraint, not some characteralogical feature. I do all of the "creative" things I do because I enjoy the technical experience and exercise of knitting and spinning and dancing (I write because I have something that I want to say.)

Creativity happens when I (or anyone) has to figure out how to convey a series of fictional events in a coherant manner, or when you have to figure out how to fit a sweater over a shoulder without puckering or stretching and still maintaining the pattern. Hell, creativity is figuring out how to efficiently get from South St. Louis City to an inner suburb in the north/west county (Creve Coeur) allowing for the fact that the city has no really good North-South roads, and the major East-West artery closed for most of the next decade for construction. We all do this, the same as anyone else. Our choices about what we spend our time doing, is largely unrelated as far as I'm concerned.

I wonder and worry that there might be trouble in these thoughts notions. That my dismissal of creativity might be connected to the fact that I participate in largely feminized crafts (spinning, knitting), or otherwise undervalued genres (folk/morris dance, science fiction.) 'Cold be. I hope not, but the thought has crossed my mind.


Onward and Upward!

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