I make lots of things: sweaters for dinosaurs, pajamas for ponies, quilts that hang on the wall, and soft sculptures that are too fragile to play with. It’s easy to think all of these things are useless, pointless, a waste of time.
But they’re not.
I make them because I love the process of creating new things and if I’m lucky, when I’m done, I love the things themselves.
Fortunately, I’ve come to realize they don’t have to make me money, make me famous, or change the world. All they have to do is make someone happy. And if that someone is just me, so be it.
Julia Cameron puts it like this:
…we can always make things for love.Julia Cameron in Finding Water, p. 111
When I find myself with another crazy idea or the itch to start a new project, I quickly realize I am in love with an idea. Turning the idea into reality is an act of love as well.
Apparently, love is what creativity is all about.
Do you wonder if you are wasting your time making “useless” things?
4 thoughts on “Why Make Things?”
I think that sweater for the dinosaur brought such a smile to my face that I don’t see how anyone could consider it useless! I think this is an interesting question though. I’ve never really worried about whether my works are ‘useful’ at all but I often get asked the question ‘what are you going to use it for’ which always rubs me up the wrong way. Probably because it’s usually accompanied with a slightly condescending tone implying that I am indeed wasting my time doing whatever I’m doing.
For me, I just learn so much by doing ‘stuff’ and having a play, be it historical textile-related facts to all the technicalities of fabric construction with weaving, that I couldn’t ever consider it a waste of time. I find making equal parts frustration and joy during the process but I love learning so much that I could never find it a waste. Plus, maybe I also need to develop the skills to make those ‘things with uses’ that some people seem to imply I should be spending my time on!
Enjoy and embrace the useless!
“What are you going to use it for?” Is up there with “Who is that for?” in my book. Baffling and annoying, especially when it makes me question my urge to make things. I create because I am inspired and even driven to. Is it Andy Warhol who said to just keep working and don’t wry about what happens to the things you make? Trying to make that my motto.
To create is to be human.
It’s taken me a long time to realize this, but you are right!