So the reference to an eighties pop hit may have given away my age a bit. Either that, or I am 21 and in touch with Youtube. Entirely possible. Anyway, with Huey Lewis ringing in my ears – and maybe yours – I am thinking about the creativity process centred around crocheting the humble granny square, or rather, squares, plural.
You see, by its very form, working in squares means there is a certain jigsaw process in place when coming up with design ideas. I would like to say that I have written out a plan, a pattern, or that I even know what I am going to make as I pick up a new ball, or even scrap, of yarn. I do occasionally work to order and therefore, with order. Sometimes. Like the hat pictured here is for a friend who requested a toffee-cream base with some dark red. Within the design framework of my original hat, I added a touch of another contrast colour and made a circular crown. I did decide on the colours in advance, the shaping was worked out as I went along.
I am, at heart, an improvisor. I am a musician and improvisation in that context is an exciting ride where – with some guiding factors in mind and fingers – there is freedom to take a musical path that can be quite straight forward or full of twists and turns. The colours in music are created with an awareness of note choices that fit, or don’t, within the tonality or modality of the piece. Certain notes within a scale add touches of colour and the musician’s paintbrush works instantaneously with those around him/her, influenced by the ensemble in terms of the groove, feel, tempo, intensity and countless other elements.
Improvisation in yarn is a more solitary and sedentary affair, yet it still exciting and very rewarding. In comparison to the high-energy, quick-thinking, high-wire of music improvisation, the strands of yarn can only be woven as quickly as the crochet hook or knitting needles allow. The slow burn does allow for reflection – and correction – along the way in the creative process. And with that longer time frame, there is perhaps the prospensity to change direction, perhaps in colour choices, shaping, finishing touches, or even as to what the ultimate creation will be.
Yesterday, I made a series of small, brightly-coloured, cotton cosy, stain-glass window inspired squares with black surround. They were born from a rainy day and rather tired girl. I was hoping that the black would highlight the lighter tones and it did. I find taking photos useful, to view the jigsaw from above with squares on the floor, or to see the work on a different background to see the colours in a new light. And why view the squares here in a series of circular frames for another twist of view?
Do I know what these squares will join up and turn out be? Not exactly. I do have some ideas, but I am going to let this project evolve intuitively. Time to put my on my improvisational hat!
Oh, and I really should do some clarinet practise… maybe a bit of the blues!
What is your creative process?