When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity?

When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity?

I regularly participate in random discussions online when I need a breather from designing, brainstorming or just life in general. I really try to contribute to conversations whether my opinion is welcome or not. Sometimes I just post a question to get a conversation started or to get some reaction(good or bad) from the audience. I regularly answer questions on Quora.com, Yabble on yabbly.com and one question recently caught my eye on one of the LinkedIn groups of which I participate, the group focuses on handmade goods (did I mention that I design and print custom tees?)….

The Question: When did you realize that you wanted (or needed) to express your creativity?

Wow! What a GREAT freaking question! – and you know what? It’s a question I can’t recall ever been asked. I’m sure, in fact I’m certain that I’ve asked it of people, but I don’t recall ever being asked or even ever asking of myself while sitting in rush hour traffic pondering my life’s winding road of triumphs and failures. DAMMIT I’M CREATIVE!!! Okay, where was I going with this again?…

Handmade crafts from school.

So I gave it a minute or two, meandering through my mental library of grade school art projects – the kindergarten macaroni faces, handmade Mother’s Day cards, pre-fired ceramic plates that they asked us to paint in 15 minutes and then forced us to give the half-assed painted plate to our Mother’s who then felt obligated to display on the mantle for at least a week so not to hurt “the artist’s” “pride”. None of those things really inspired me to express my creativity.

My Answer to the Question:

My Answer to the question harkens me back to more innocent times as a lad attending Pope John XXXIII  grade school, Evanston,  mid to late 198o’s when we students were given a challenge – a creative challenge.

I don’t remember exactly what spawned this creative challenge. I doubt if it was a part of our structured curriculum, and I don’t recall my older sister ever doing this project. I do faintly remember a pair of possibly college-aged students (at the time they seemed just like another set of adults gleefully ready to bark orders at already overworked and bored middle schoolers watching the minutes wind down to dismissal). Possibly Nortwestern University grad students working on a thesis project? I’m really not sure. The pair were introduced by our teacher and they proceeded with their pitch – A week-long project to develop a product or service (on a set budget) to offer to fellow students. This must have been a Social Studies project. Who knows?

My band of future tycoons bought plain hard, plastic, pencil cases from Walgreen’s and Woolworth (remember Woolworths? Ha! Where you could buy a Parakeet, socks and an LP and a lukewarm cheeseburger from a cranky old nag in a hairnet) and a set of paint pens from the craft store, and we got to it. We got those creative juices flowing.

I was always kind of shy, but this was my moment …”Hey, guys did you know I can draw?” The secret was out! This is when my hidden talent would become known throughout the halls of Pope John XXIII. It would later  lead to “draw off” competitions and artwork requests. I really enjoyed creating custom mazes for friends.

We custom-designed and personalized the cases based on the customer’s request, and those cases rocked! Notre Dame Fighting Irish for Matt, Peace Symbol and Hearts for Ann, Tanks blowing up small villages for Marty (Marty had some unresolved issues).

I don’t remember how much money we made – if anything. I don’t remember who my partners were, who the teacher was or even what the projects goal was. Maybe teamwork? Maybe creative thinking? What I do remember is the experience, and it’s one that will live in my creative memories for a long time. What’s funny is that after a 15-year career developing products and accessories for retail, now I custom print apparel -a similar venture similar to those custom, hand-designed pencil boxes. It even allowed me the opportunity to work with NASCAR’s custom shop. All those great memories from one great question.

Here’s some other answers from the discussion that I found, lets say, “interesting”:

” I was creative since I can remember. At 4, my mother would give me a ball of twine, and I would go to my tree (5 of us, we each had to up 25 cents to purchase our own tree to stop the fights over them, roll eyes), and make a home in it, stringing my twine round and round, lost until mom called me in. My birthday gifts were those paintings you added oil to. Then string art, water colors to acrylics , knitting (self taught) onto computers where I was lost for years creating! After that I got into herbs, which got me into healing stones which got me here!”

25 cent trees? Herbs & Healing Stones huh? Yeah we know what going on here.

“Four and a half years ago when I picked up a chainsaw for the first time. I have been non-stop since.”

Yikes! creativity comes in many forms.

A little over 20 years ago when we had family issues concerning what I would do when I my mother could not care for her self (in the future) at that time. I prayed for a job I could do at home, i even fasted for 4 days for answer.. Being the oldest in the family, it would fall on my to quit work and stay home and care for her, should that time arise. Then I had a dream one night, telling me “YOU WILL WEAVE BASKETS” essentially to make a long story short, I did not agree to it at first. but 3 years later after being told a second time, “YOU WILL WEAVE BASKETS” , I accepted the fact and had a dream that showed me how to weave baskets and have been a basket weaver and chair caner ever since.

I knew it! God is into basket weaving.

So now I pose the question to you: When did you realize that you wanted (or needed) to express your creativity?

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