it's all part of the process

Dear Annie,

Since Christmas, my good friend A and I have been making a conscious effort to give S and his much-loved friend G more opportunities to experience a range of creative activities. On my part, this was fuelled to some extent by this post from Sew Liberated. Of course S and G are often involved in messy play, art activities, baking, etc, but we felt that a more structured weekly session together dedicated to this type of play would be beneficial to us all. To date, the boys have enjoyed wet-on-wet watercolour painting and baking cookies.

With both of these tasks, it was clear that for an almost-three year old, it's the process -not the product -which is important. Tactile and visual exploration; experimentation and the development of new skills were what the boys found fascinating. Their abundant creativity was focused on the journey, and the end product was largely irrelevant to them.

 As a result, I have been reflecting a little on my own creative endeavours, such as they are. When I knit or sew, crochet or bake, is it the process that interests me, or is it the end product? I think that the difference between myself and the boys is that I imbue my actions with an expectation of success. I expect (or hope) to produce a cake that rises, a hat that fits, a seam that is straight, and if I don't, then it's easy to feel that I have failed. What I hope the boys can teach me is that the creative process has it's own intrinsic value; even if the end product isn't perfect, it can be successful if I have learnt new skills along the way. 

In fact, when I think hard about why I knit, or bake, or sew, my motivating factor is rarely because I want a hat or a cake or a bag (although there is a definite joy to be found in producing the exact one that I fancy), in fact, it is because I enjoy knitting, baking and sewing. The product is a gratifying outcome, but it's the process that I find soothing, uplifting or pleasurable.

Having said that, after the lengthy creative process that involved much unpicking whilst I taught myself to W&T, and learning the hard way to always do a gauge swatch, I was very happy last night to cast off an Aviatrix as a baby gift for the new daughter of some friends (baby R, I promise that yours will be the very next project on my needles). 

Love from,

edited to add: I've finally managed to get enough natural light to take a flash-free photograph of the hat so I have updated the picture.

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful way to get little ones involved and learning.

    I always find tactile - especially with boys - an almost theraputic thing for them. Saves your knuckles for all those Spiderman punch ups!

    take care and 'hello'

    Nina x

    ps. love the hat by the way. N x


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