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One of the things that is great about making for kids and adults alike is when you can get engaged in the process of creating more than just trying to get a thing done.
I struggle with that, especially this time of year when the list of things I’d like to make is longer than the time available to make things.
With knitting I really have to be product focused a lot of the time because I need to be able to write a pattern or come up with a thing a person can actually wear or use. But sometimes I like to just play and see if I can figure something out or explore something new, too.
Getting lost in the process is the way to flow, a meditative state of super focus in which time doesn’t seem to exist. It’s the place creative people want to be, but if you’re just focused on getting a thing done you’ll never get there.
And while making to have the thing at the end is great — especially this time of year if you are making gifts — the spirit of the project will be that much better if you enjoy the time spent making it. You really can put bad energy into a project, and then you won’t like looking at it or wearing it.
There are lots of ways to get into the process of making, but as usual one of my favorites is watching a kid. Unless we give them a particular project or they have a clear idea from the beginning what they want to make, kids usually aren’t that focused on getting a particular result.
Here are a bunch of great process art projects for kids from the Meri Cherry blog that are great for grownups to try, too.
Sometimes making something deliberately ugly or “bad” can help because you aren’t as dedicated to the outcome if you’re expecting to fail at traditional concepts of “pretty” or “good.”
Using your kids’ art supplies can help, too, if you’re one of those people who worries about wasting the good stuff (really, you should get over that, too, because if now’s not the time to use the good stuff, when is?). Pull out the finger paints or an old-school tray of watercolors and just make something.
Or try making a collage. Take five minutes to collect random things from around the house and see what you can do with them. You can also build a model or make a creature if your items lend themselves to that.
Play with clay, string some beads, cut up fabric and sew it together in a new way.
Enjoy the process. You still get something great out of it even if you don’t really love the finished product. And you just might love it anyway because letting go of the results allows you to take risks you might not have otherwise, which can make a thing even better than you expected.
A you more into the process or the product? What do you do to get into the process? I’d love to hear your thoughts.