Creative Constraints

What I find the most interesting about human creativity is the way we feel obliged to make things harder for ourselves.

It’s not enough to string words together in an interesting way; you have to have a form and make it a sonnet or haiku or villanelle or sestina.  Ribbing to make the cuffs tight isn’t enough; knit into the backs to make twisted rib, because it looks more interesting.  You have a lot of scraps already, but get donations from your neighbors so that you never use the same fabric twice in the top.  Write a novel without using the letter E.

Gearing Up

There’s this thing that happens.  I’ll see or think of a project, and it’ll sit in the back of my head.  And sometimes that’s all it does, but other times this thing happens that I think of as “gearing up”.  I don’t necessarily decide that I’m going to start working on whatever-it-is now, but I’ll realize that I’m browsing around for materials, thinking about colors, deciding if I have the tools necessary, whatever.

I am in the gearing-up phase of a completely impractical, SCA-oriented project¹; I can tell because I ordered a book from Amazon yesterday on the technique I want to use, and I have been looking around at how to make a band loom with small enough dents.

I wish my subconscious wouldn’t mug me like this.  It’s not as if I have a dearth of projects that need finishing.  For one thing, I just got the party-trick socks back on the needles correctly after taking them apart to do the heels because the third time I had to rip back was just too much.

1: And heck, if I get started in the next few weeks it might actually be done by next Pennsic!


I would absolutely love to know how the pysanky here was created.

Those of you who’ve done this craft are aware how it usually works.  First, you draw on in wax all the places you want to be white, and dip the egg in yellow.  Then you draw on all the bits you want to have yellow, and dip in orange.  And so forth, working from light colors to dark.  As a result, the “structural” lines of pysanky designs, the ones that everything else is worked around, tend to be in white because that’s the first set of lines drawn.

On the one above (which I adore, and if anyone wants to get me a present…), almost all the important lines are in black.  It is not impossible that whoever did it just filled in around the areas that would end up being black, I suppose, though it would take huge amounts of control.  I find it more likely that the egg was dyed black, the lines were drawn, and then they bleached or washed the uncovered black back off again before doing a more traditional progression of colors.  It gives a very nifty stained-glass sort of look to the end product.

I’ve been thinking I needed to do some more eggs for the Etsy shop; maybe I’ll try dyeing and bleaching on one.