The ideas in this post are pilfered from a guest post by Steven James over on The Kill Zone in regards to fiction writing. Not only do his ideas pertain to writing, but also to rug hooking. I highly recommend reading the original post.
Mr. James postulates there are five ways to improve creativity in fiction writing:
- Explore L.I.F.E.,
- Get a different perspective,
- Let serendipity happen,
- Set boundaries, and
- Question direction.
These all could easily pertain to rug hooking.
1. By exploring L.I.F.E. Mr. James means explore Literature, Imagination, Folklore, and Experiences. I find when I am stuck for ideas for rug hooking that one of these four can pull me out of my block and onto a new path.
In place of literature for writers, we rug hookers often explore the work of other rug hookers. But literature opens up a whole new world. From published rug hooking books, to other inspiration books, or yes, even fiction books.
Our imagination is a great source of ideas for rug hooking. Exploring our innermost mind can bring forth some very artistic rugs. These can be abstract or traditionally hooked rugs. They are challenging because they include rugs based on ideas. Ideas can be difficult to portray.
A lot of hooked rug designs are produced around folklore. This theme seems well explored in rug hooking…maybe too much so. I think that is because it is a fun and whimsical approach to rug hooking with mass appeal.
Life experiences make wonderful rugs. Portraits of our favourite people, places, and things inspire us and we want to remember them in a beautiful rug.
2. Changing perspective can create fun rugs and intriguing ones. Viewing something under the microscope instead of at a distance, as in my “Bud” and “Fan Dance” rugs, can change the entire feel of a piece. Or changing a point of view from the ground looking up, instead of straight on or looking down on an object. Truncating an object you normally see whole. All these things can add interest and variety to a body of work.
3. Serendipity…going with the flow. One thing leads to another. I honestly did not mean to make that pine cone close-up look like a bunch of fan dancers, but the colours worked. And when I ran out of light purple, the dark purple just jumped out at me…and away I went with it. Good thing too. It works. Serendipity.
4. Setting boundaries, or the edges of your work, can help you stay focused and maintain your direction. Not setting boundaries can result in a creative block from being overwhelmed by possibilities. It is the answer to “why am I doing this?”
On a more practical level, effective use of the edges of the rug as part of the rug is important to the overall composition or look of the rug. Set your boundaries and edges carefully. Not only where you place them in the design, but also how you plan to finish them. What looks best on your design – a whipped edge? a braided one? a simple fold under? Consider where your rug will be placed. What is its purpose in life? Is it for the back door? In that case you may want a more pronounced edge to protect the hooking. But not so high people trip over it! Though some hookers do not even bother with whipped edges for floor rugs. The choice is yours. But consider the effects of edges or boundaries when designing your hooked rugs.
5. Question your direction if you are stuck. Is it time to get out of your rut and try something truly new? I am doing that with Deanne Fitzpatrick’s Beginning to Hook Abstract Rugs course. Abstracts are not something I thought I would ever get into really, but the more I study abstract artists and their writings, the more interested I become and the more I understand what they are doing. It can be a challenging field, despite what others might think.
If you want a real change in direction, shift to another area in the arts for a while. Maybe try painting, sculpture, pottery, embroidery, quilting, knitting, crochet…whatever floats your boat and inspires you. I switch to spinning, trying to create beautiful yarns for hooking and knitting. I try to design my own stitchwork as well. That helps me when I go back to my rugs. The difference is the rugs are on a bigger scale. I am still thinking about ways to marry the two. 🙂
By exploring Mr. James’ ideas on creativity a person could come up with a plethora of ideas for rug hooking or any other creative endeavour really. Just writing this I have ideas coming to mind I must record in my sketchbook. There is not enough time in a lifetime to carry through on all of them. But that won’t stop me from trying!
Happy hooking people!