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Creative Wisdom & Encouragement

One of the benefits of having my computer’s hard drive fill up (it’s slowing down my system and at a dangerous point for freezing up), is that I’m looking through my documents hoping to find duplicates. In the process, I’m also putting a few random items which were in hard-to-find places, into logical folder homes where I can find them later.

In a folder from 2002, I found a photograph of a page in a Maggie Righetti book (either Knitting in Plain English or Crocheting in Plain English… I own both). I don’t remember taking this photo, but I do like to make “photocopies” using my camera and am also fond of quotations. I am sure it was me who photographed it.

The woman was wise. I’m glad I have the benefit of this wisdom, and can pass it along.

ColorJoy is about all forms of creativity and artfulness. Learning to stand tall, trust our gut, and walk forward in spite of any doubts… that is a lifestyle artform. Maggie Righetti seems to have had wisdom in this respect.

Although she wrote books about knitting, crochet, sweater design… this quotation is purely about the challenges commonly experienced by all creative people. Regardless of whether you perform, create objects, garden, or otherwise nurture beauty in the world or in others… this quote is for you.

Creativity, innovation and nontraditional ways of solving problems are feared by noncreative, uninnovative, and traditional people. It causes them apprehension and consternation. They cope with their fear by criticizing people who do things differently.

If nothing can ever change, nothing can ever get any better! If you don’t create new ways to solve old problems, you’ll always be stuck with the old problems.

There are many critical people in this world. (They may even outnumber the supportive ones.) Depending on the environment you live in and the thought patterns of the people who surround you, you must expect to be criticized for creativity, for solving your problems in a unique way, and for making innovative changes whether or not your efforts are successful. Your own family members, and people in small towns or small groups especially, can be the absolutely worst nay-sayers against doing anything different or new.

Criticism and the fear of criticism are real concerns that one must simply learn to deal with. We could free ourselves of criticism by not being creative. There is an old adage that tells us: “To avoid criticism: Say nothing; do nothing; feel nothing; be nothing.” But since you are reading this book, I don’t think that you are the kind of person who can BE a nothing.

One of the best ways to get over the effects of unwanted criticism is to consider why it was made. What was his/her reason for criticizing instead of congratulating? Did the person feel inferior and incapable of doing what you did? Did he lack the know-how to create? Was the criticism made out of jealousy? Or was it the fear of anything new or different? Might critical remarks have been made because the person was afraid that you were venturing into new territory where he or she feared to go? Was she afraid she would be left behind, loosing (sic) you as a part of her world?

When you understand the nature of criticism, that it is easier than craftsmanship and creativity, you will have given yourself a sturdy coat of wax so that the raindrops of unkind and uncalled-for remarks will simply and quickly roll off you like a thunder shower off a freshly polished car.
(A side benefit of understanding the nature of criticism is that it will allow us to stop criticizing others, and to start handing out compliments, freely and openly, whenever and wherever we encounter creativity and craftsmanship.)

Maggie Righetti

The image today is a postcard I did many years ago, maybe 2000 or 2001. I hand-carved soft printing block materials, printed the background points in dye ink, then printed the words in opaque glycerine-based embossing ink. I used embossing powder (it melts under a heat gun and makes a raised, colored area where the sticky embossing ink had been printed) to make the text more bold and opaque.

The image was done for a “mailart” card exchange with several other artists. We all did “words of encouragement.” It was a wonderful swap.

One Response to “Creative Wisdom & Encouragement”

  1. cynthia Says:

    Thanks for posting this!  I love her image of the shiny car in the last paragraph – it moves forward on its artistic mission, vision unobstructed by the rain of criticism. Love your postcard too.

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