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Making the Creative Shift

Creative practices not only develop new skills, they also change who we are as humans.

Recently, I’ve been trying to draw more. I loved to draw when I was young, but it fell by the wayside over the years as I spent more time on other creative activities (including sewing). Something in me said it was time for a change, to stretch myself in new ways.

At the library, I picked up a copy of Betty Edwards’ famous 1979 book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. In this book, she proposes that drawing requires the use of non-dominant parts of your mind that are often underdeveloped in daily life. These parts of your brain allow for awareness, understanding spatial relations, and intuition.

She proposes that this portion of the brain is what allows for those "aha" moments in problem solving, the actual creative thinking that goes on when we are unaware of it. Like other activities that develop our brains in new ways, such as meditation, the practice of drawing can shift us out of the rut of analytical, literal thinking. This not only offers a respite from the daily grind of left-brain thinking, it also helps us see things in new ways and come up with insights we might not have otherwise.

In other words, the benefits of artistic practice extend well beyond the actual act of creation. Practicing creativity changes the way we think. The more you experience the shift from analytical thought to creative thought, the more often you are able to return to that state.

There are many ways to have a creative or artistic practice, and for you making clothing might be one of them; it certainly is for me. When I choose fabric and visualize its final form, it exercises my imagination. When I get into the flow of construction, I experience an unusual level of awareness between my hands and my brain. When I’m stitching, I am focused and observant. All of these things are developing this underused right side of my brain, and they’re changing me as much as they’re changing the fabric.

Creativity isn’t something you have, it’s something you build. As dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp said, "Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits." If you long to feel more creative, sewing can be the work that changes you.

The Lynn dress
The Elmira wrap

If you’re ready to renew your creative sewing practice, we’ve brought you two new patterns to help with the upcoming transition between summer and fall. The Lynn dress is a shift dress with contrast yoke and back button details that can be made in many fabrics to fit any season. The Elmira wrap is the perfect thing to throw over any of your summer dresses when the evenings start getting chilly. It also pairs beautifully with a full skirt, like our Brooklyn.

While we’re talking about changes, I have one final note. This is the last month I’ll be writing to you as editor of Seamwork Magazine, as I’ll be passing this title onto the wonderful Haley Glenn. In reality, Haley has been the one managing this production for quite some time, so she’ll be formally stepping into the role of Editor-in-Chief as I focus more on creative direction.


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