Friday, June 15, 2007

The Creative Challenge

Dana had an excellent question, "what is the 5-step creative process?" so I thought the answer merited its own posting. The Lac and Sticklac skeins are slow to dry due to the wet and soggy weather we are having at the moment. I have brought them inside to dry and will post the luscious pictures tomorrow as well as talk about the current dyepot.
Above is a picture of the charm I made as a reward to those guild members who finished, or will finish, their challenge project. The bead is sodalite, known as a stone for creativity. There is a swirl of sterling silver, because I promised, and the headpin has a Swarovski crystal at the bottom. I thought it a fitting charm for such a challenging challenge. So for those who are not members of the Skagit guild and are curious, here is the challenge in its entirety. I did not make the creative process up myself, it is part of my training and comes from the many books on creativity I devour and from my many mentors and teachers such as Anita Mayer.

Creative Process Challenge

As weavers and fiber artists, we overcome creative challenges every time we sit down to work. Sometimes just sitting down to work is a challenge! This year's challenge is to formally pick a weaving/fiber related problem or challenge that you would like to tackle, and document and follow the creative process. It can be as simple or as challenging as you would like. When you are finished, bring the results to show-and-tell, even if the solution to your problem didn't turn out the way you had wished. The following is the creative process or problem solving process:

1. Define the problem

2. Define the criteria or limitations of the problem

3. Research

4. Incubation

5. Make the choices and solve the problem

Here is an example of a creative problem I am working on now.

1. Define the problem: What kind of wool would work best to spin for my tapestries?

2. Define the criteria or limitations: I need something strong and durable. I want it to have a luster, I need to know how thick or thin to spin it.

3. Research: I looked at what the accomplished tapestry weavers whom I admire are using. I have also talked to other weavers and have received suggestions during show and tell to pursue. I have made sample skeins using the wools from the results of my research.

4. Incubation: I am almost to this step. I have a few more wools to spin then I will lay them all out and take a good look at them. I will see how each one feels and consult my spinning notes. I will dye them to see how they look when dyed. I will try samples of them in tapestry weaving to see how they will ultimately look. This process may take a bit of time.

5. Make the choices. When I have finished steps 1-4, I will decide which of the wools I like best for tapestry weaving.
Are you up for a formal challenge? Try out the creative challenge and let me know how it goes. I cannot make a reward for you but will happily answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability. As far as my guild challenge, it isn't quite finished yet as I stopped to make the charms for the guild. It will be finished soon and I will post it at the end of summer.
In case you are wondering, I am using this five step process to complete this dye project. My Grant proposal was step one, define the problem. The storyboard was step two, define the criteria or limitations. I am in the process of answering the last three criteria. These are not hard and fast and they don't always follow in this order. They are guidelines only. I like to color outside of the lines and take side paths when presented so for me, this works as a framework or road map to come back to when I get lost! -Renee


Julie Barnes said...

The lovely charm is enough for one to want to join the Skagit Guild and take up the challenge. Enjoying your blog!

dana said...

Thanks for the clarification, Renee! The five-step creative process seems familiar, but not. I think one of my ongoing creative stumbling blocks is number one: defining the problem. I'll be thinking about this.