Sunday, August 14, 2011

A family affair

I visited the "Against the Tide" exhibition at the Substation in Newport today....and it felt a bit like home. I mean... the home I grew up in. Art all over the shop. Artworks by my sister....
And my brother.....
The whole thing has got me thinking about nature vs nurture in the idea of the "creative family". I come from a long line of crafty, creative, make-do-and-mend sorts... but is creativity innate or environmental....?
In my family, creativity was encouraged. Materials, time and space were allowed for the creation of anything we cared to make. Mess was allowed (...although I seem to remember an incident involving purple candle wax on the dining room carpet....hmmmm...).

My brothers, sisters and I have all grown into adults with a wide range of creative abilities and interests. Nature or nurture?

I meet people all the time who come to craft late in life and take to it like the proverbial duck (to the proverbial wet stuff). Is that an innate (previously untapped) talent, the result of environmental influences, or is it just that anyone can do this craft stuff if they have a go..?

What do YOU think...? Is your creativity the result of a nurturing family environment or is it something that was just itching to get out, despite the odds.....?


Against The Tide
August 5th - 22 August

The Substation Gallery
1 Market St Newport Vic
Gallery hours:
Thursday - Sunday 11.00am - 5.00pm


Fiona said...

I always thought I wasn't crafty at all. My Mum sewed (all of our clothes), embroidered and tatted, my Dad did woodcarving (beautiful birds) and my sister was a dress designer and is now an artist. Never thought I could measure up to any / all of that.

BUT I do love making things. I knit, crochet and sew ... albeit by following patterns. But I've got over the fact that I'm not original - I am creative and it was probably as a result of growing up in a family where craft was part of life.

Katy Cameron said...

Hmm, my dad's very into photography (as am I now, although I came to it long after I left home, much to his dismay) and my mum knits and embroiders. I was forced into embroidery as a child, mainly to make presents for grandmothers for Christmas, but I was more into making things out of all sorts like Fimo, and mod-rock and drawing and painting. Bless my parents for indulging me with the mess! Back then I was kind of following patterns only, it's only since I left home and started to make all my family Christmas/birthday presents (I got started on that at uni when I couldn't afford to buy stuff for me to play with AND buy presents lol) that I've got more independently creative. They're still indulging me though, my mum bought me 2 whole metres of Liberty pincord today so I could make myself a skirt (at an eye-watering £32, and that was half price in the sale!!!) She might have been buttering me up though, she also gave me 2 metres of tartan fabric to make her a skirt for dancing too lol

trudi@maudeandme said...

Not that simple I don't think.My mum was very crafty, but out of 4 daughters I am the only creative one.The others can appreciate it , but just not interested in doing it. So I think it comes down to combination of both.

Majid Ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buy Design said...

I'm going to answer this in the morning because it's bedtime here and I only popped on the computer for five minutes. By the way did you know there is a village called Newport just the other side of Dundee which is only half an hour away from here.
Night night

Vireya said...

I wanted to sew from a very young age, but wasn't allowed to use a needle because I might hurt myself. Now every sewing project I do demands a blood sacrifice, and whenever my quilting group hear an "Ow!", they know Vireya has stabbed herself again.

So, do I injure myself because of nature or nurture? Who knows, but I still love to sew, even with the holes in my fingers.

Tania said...

A bit of both, I reckon. But honestly, you NEVER STOOD A CHANCE, did you?

Karen Wilson said...

My dad isn't crafty at all, and my mum keeps telling herself that she's not crafty. She has sewn all her life but follows patterns mostly. I grew up being told that "we're not art/crafty people, we're maths/science people".

I always feel like I'm not crafty enough. I go into my sewing room and have all this creative energy but don't know what to do with it. It's only been in the last couple of years that I've really had the "just do it and see what happens" attitude to my craft, which I think is what has made me really crafty.

My mother still says that she doesn't know where I get my creative streak from.

Lynne said...

I was taught handcrafts as a child - first knitting, then sewing, then crochet. My nanna bought my first sewing machine when I was seventeen. We always had pencils and colouring books or paper, later textas were added.

I did knitting, decoupage, folk art, etc, but mostly following someone else's patterns. Somewhere deep inside I could hear a voice crying to be let out! I needed to create my own measterpieces (or messy-pieces) - or burst!

Anonymous said...

I have always loved to sew and started with dolls clothes from about the age of 5, progressed to clothes for me, my sisters, friends and anyone who wanted them. sewed for my two boys and even now they are grown up still make the odd shirt or fancy dress costume for them
I purchased your A-line skirt pattern a couple of weeks ago and have just done a review on hope that you don't mind.

A Peppermint Penguin said...

you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it knit/sew/draw/quilt

talent.... unpracticed isn't worth much

environment...practiced doesn't necc. yield talent.

Er... bit of both!?

Liam's Mummy said...

I think a bit of both and more. To light a fire you need fuel, oxygen and a spark.

Fuel = Genetics
Oxygen = Environment
Spark = Inspiration

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Katherine said...

Sounds like a wonderful home to grow up in!
Hmmm... you ask a good question. I like to think that everyone is creative in some form or another, but sadly, not everyone recognizes or finds their own creativity. Perhaps that's due to not being raised in an environment where creativity (and their subsequent messes) were allowed. I'm not sure. Personally, I only know that as a child, I was inwardly compelled to make stuff. I just had to create and it still brings me joy to put my hands to making something. It also means that my sons have been raised in a home that encourages and nurtures creative pursuits. It's a happy aspect of our family life and I wouldn't want it any other way. :o)

Charlene said...

While neihter parent was crafty, my need to create was always encouraged. I was always attempting something like, drawing, crocheting,cross stitching etc...I wanted to sew at a young age. so my dad went out and got me a used sewing machine. Wonderful parents nuturing a child's creative side. So,maybe a bit of both. :)

Buy Design said...

My mum did lots of dressmaking when we were wee. Some outfits I would rather forget but my sister and I were always unique. (just not always in a good way) I think I always knew how to knit and sew but never thought that made me particularly creative, simply practical. I'm a rubbish cook and I hate housework but at least I could sew. Everything I do now started as a hobby and it's only now that I'm selling in my own shop that I'm beginning to realise that maybe I am quite creative afterall. Maybe it was there all the time. My mum was always really proud of anything I made but her encouragement was sometimes a bit too much. I remember knitting a cardigan for myself when I was about 10 and she said I should take it to school to show the sewing teacher. I was mortified to be showing off and got a lot of stick from kids in my class for being the teachers pet.
Oh and my dad once built a Canadian canoe in our garage. I have no idea why... It was massive and every child in our street crowded around on the day he took it out, tied it on the roof of the car and off we went.
So in answer to your question.. I have no idea sorry.
Fiona x

Fer said...

Being adopted I can definitely say it's in the genes. Growing up in a not very creative family was often a source of frustration for me. (Being reunited with my natural family when I was 21 really proved this point)

You and your family are very talented, I love the way it was always encouraged. ♥

Chille said...

Definitely Nature !! If you've got the creative streak it will come out. My parents were non-crafty, anti-artistic maths/engineer types who really discouraged creativity. My grandma taught me to knit and I taught myself sewing, crochet, painting. I found out this Granny was a concert pianist which my father never told me (because he placed no value on the Arts).

At the age of 8, I sewed for my Barbie dolls and had my own Project Runway show in my bedroom with the dolls (like 40 years before PR existed !). I am horribly jealous of all those that get to grow up in a nurturing, creative family that are able to make 'stuff' all the time.

To that end I only have sons and it's hilarious trying to drag them thru fabric shops or hint at trying to learn knitting - I'll have to make do with sharing the artwork, making music, cooking and growing stuff with them :)

Anonymous said...

Can I sit on the fence and say both??? Regardless, your wee one has the best chance of her creativity flourishing!

Liz Branson said...

I believe children are born with artistic/creative talent. In our family my grandfather was a jeweller, his son a drawer, then his daughters are artists, and now their children are very talented in the arts too. They are encouraged and allowed to follow their passion. My three boys have never been "taught" how to draw. Yet my oldest is particularly skilled and seems to have been born with the understanding of color/shade and even the language that artists use to describe their medium......the middle son is musical (so am I),......definitely mostly nature and freedom of choice...