Recently I've had the same conversation with a few different people about creativity, and it has gotten me thinking. I've been asked, in one form or another, how I got started sewing/quilting/crafting/etc. I always kind of dreaded being asked that question as I never had a good answer for it. I didn't sit at the knee of a kindly grandmother when I was little and watch her work magic with a needle, I didn't bond with sisters (I don't have any) over sewing our own clothes, I didn't even take any Home Ec classes... do those still exist?
|When people ask how I got so creative, I tell |
them it is because I ate paste as a child*.
My default answer when asked "How did you learn how to do X?" is usually a casually dismissive "Oh, I don't have a good story for that, I just kind of taught myself." And then recently I realized, that actually *is* a pretty good story. I taught myself. Damn, that's kind of impressive!
When I was in my 20s, for some reason I decided I needed a red and off-white striped scarf. I don't know why I decided this... I was still living in California at the time, living in a climate where I barely needed a coat, let alone a scarf. But, a scarf was required and unsurprisingly, I couldn't find anything that fit the bill. Then one day, it dawned on me that if I couldn't find one to buy, I could just make one for myself! While that doesn't sound like an earth-shattering idea in this day and age, back in the 90's, DIY wasn't really a thing yet so it wasn't as natural a conclusion to come to. So I got myself some red and off-white yarn and some knitting needles and proceeded to figure out how to knit.
It did not go well.
I did eventually figure it out, and promptly realized it was not the hobby for me. It was slow and fiddly and my 20-something patience levels were not up to the task. The scarf was eventually set aside and forgotten, unfinished. A little anti-climactic, I know... but that failed experiment planted an important seed in the back of my mind... I could make things myself. That small thought had a huge impact on my mindset going forward.
A few years later, I moved to Montreal (and learned the actual importance of a good scarf!) and the same idea came to me when I wanted a skirt but couldn't find anything I liked, so I made one myself. And it was terrible. But then I made more, and they got better! One Christmas I decided that making a quilt as a gift for my mom would be an easy (hah!) and inexpensive (HAH!) thing to do, so I made her a quilt. And it was awful. But then I made more, and they got better. I have continued to sew my own quilts, clothing and bags, each time improving a little bit, and some 15 years later here we are.
So now I know that I do have a pretty awesome 'origins' story to tell people when they ask how I got started sewing. :)
* I've never actually eaten paste.