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Thistle Cottage Studio : My Creative Process

Thistle Cottage Studio Blog

The Necessary Art of Puttering

  A rainy afternoon all to myself, with no particular goal in mind, except to rekindle my creative muses, leads me to wander about my studio, taking stock of my materials, past projects, and admittedly, primping, plumping, and tweaking everything I put my hands on.  What a luxury to actually have time to rediscover my hoards of antique lace that will probably out live me!!  Each time I open a forgotten drawer its’ like Christmas morning!! Oh, to have lived in an era when beauty in all things was so important.  These modern times have numbed us to our environment replete with urban ugliness!! How did we allow this to happen? So, I daydream, and in my own small way, try to contribute to making this world a more beautiful place with the things I create. A wonderful book entitled Beauty, by John O’Donohue talks endlessly about the necessity of beauty in our lives.  It is a real eye opener into the cultural and urban challenges this planet is facing, and a simple doctrine for the necessity and cause for creating a more beautiful world.  Simply put, beauty makes us better people.  Highly recommended summer reading!! I was horrified to see two gorgeous coneflower heads brutally ripped from their stems, and left to die on the concrete sidewalk, in front of my studio yesterday.  An example of the culprits lack of beauty in his/her world!  No appreciation for the importance of nature, or life itself!!  Shame on you whoever you are!!
  Puttering, my mother use to call it.  A term of another generation that brings to mind, grandpa in his basement workshop, with glass jars of nails, and scraps of wood everywhere. Puttering has gotten a bad rap, in my opinion.  After chastising myself for aimless meandering, ie., puttering, I suddenly realise that this is very necessary spiritual time in the process of creating new art!! I am in deep communion with my inner muses!  Ideas are beginning to flow like the water that makes up my astrological sign of Cancer.  We are, after all, the most creative sign in the zodiac, if you’re into that sort of thing. I think of this time as a connection to my inner self, that is connected to a greater universal energy source!  Where all ideas are floating about in abundance, waiting to be tapped into, and drawn down to earth by our powerful imaginations.  When I hear people say “Oh, I’m not a creative type of person”, I usually respond with something like, “It’s all in what you spend your time on”.  Everyone has creativity.  It’s a matter of refining puttering to an art form.
  As the daydreaming progresses, images of new ideas effortlessly evolve, one to the next!  A vintage 1920’s silk charmeuse blouse with a unique front panel with Art Deco emboidery is begging me to reproduce it.  Another muse whispers in my ear, “make it into a 1920’s wedding gown by simply extending the waistband into a full length gown.”  It is now a top priorty and I’ve already found a source in California for the silk charmeuse.  It is a cream colored, lovely soft, satin fabric on the surface, with a delicate shimmer, and dull finished on the back side.  Drapes like a dream!  Think Jean Harlow gowns of the 1930’s!! Cut it on the bias (diagonally) and it flows like water against the body!!
  Mind you now, there are mounds of good intentions, and half started projects all over my studio! 
Several pieces of handwovewn fabric in silk, cotton, and lurex, that I purchased from a handweaving studio in Providence, RI, 20 years ago, are still begging me to cut into them, and make the limited edition of gorgeous evening jackets that they are eventually destined to become.  I’m hoping to debut those at the Scituate Art Festival this October!  But first, I must finish the teal velveteen English Victorian riding jacket, with silk ribbon embroidered collar, that I started last December!  And then there are the two nearly completed wedding gowns waiting to be finished!!
  Too many ideas, too little time. Teaching four days a week, leaves little time to accomplish all of these projects in a timely manner. So, prioritizing is key to conquering the chaos that can ensue! I have decided to offer internships to a chosen few of my stellar students, in an effort to see these long awaited projects to their completion.
  Puttering is without a doubt, a necessary part of the creative process.  So, you can see, up until now, what was a seemingly useless passtime, can actually become an abundant source of ideas, inspiration, and in the end, new works of art, requiring help, and eventual job opportunities!  So, the next time you find yourself aimlessly puttering, let it take you where it will.  Enjoy the journey!!


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  1. Grandmaof4 | | #1

    In 1985 my daughter was heading to university in September and I made her a whole wardrobe for the year!

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