Yesterday, I finally started hooking on my piece for the Rug Hooking Daily challenge "Grandma's Trunk". I can't tell you what my piece is, but I can tell you a story about it.
When I first had an email from Sunni about the challenge (since I had participated in her last one), I didn't think I was interested. I hardly knew my Grandmother. I don't know if she had a trunk and I sure don't know what would have been in it if she did. I thought that I would just let this challenge pass me by.
The following day, I was struck by a memory of my Grandmother that was so strong and vivid, it was like being hit in the head with a 2 x 4 (not that that has ever happened to me) I decided to make it into a mat and to participate in the challenge. I know that technically, this might not be something you would find in any Grandma's trunk, but when something that powerful happens to you, you have to go with it.
As I've been hooking on the piece, I'm reminded that sometimes we are the most creative when we face a challenge that puts us in a small place. The confines of the challenge seem to free up a part of our brains that is often overwhelmed by the vast universe of creativity. Being creative with no guidelines is nearly impossible - at least for me.
The bra project that I have been participating in is a fine example of creativity in a small space. Tell people that the challenge is to "hook a bra", something outside the realm of normal hooking, and the creative juices start to flow.
This is not just a phenomenon of hooking either. I remember when my hubby and I used to host the neighbourhood Hallowe'en party. If you left the thing wide open, half the people didn't bother to dress up, but if you told them to come as ...something that starts with the letter 'H', they would rise to the occasion and be very creative.
In my professional life, I have worked as a copywriter in advertising, where not a word is written or a concept thought of until a "creative brief" is prepared. It sets the stage for the parameters of the project - who you are talking to - what do they think about your product now and what do you want them to think - and you go from there. Sometimes, it does feel like you have one hand tied behind your back and both feet glued to the floor, but invariably, you manage to be the most creative inside that tiny space.
And that's how I feel about this challenge. The story and the mat would never have happened without it.
And in a few weeks, I'll be able to share both.