14 Pillow Cases - A Creative Sidestep
After our parents passed, my brother and I found a closet full of bed sheets and linen. It was a collection of a lifetime. Everything from sheets to napkins, including a pile of almost fifty kitchen towels, carefully folded by a mother who never threw anything away.
I have towels. We both do. None of us needed any to make our homes complete.
But these kitchen towels were special. All handmade and embroidered. All of them carrying too much soul for me to ignore. It would be a shame to move them into yet another closet. And it would be a shame to end their extraordinary life in yet another kitchen.
So I decided to bring them to life by giving them a new purpose. Relieving them from the hard work of being a kitchen towel by offering a better and more relaxed role in the comfort of a home.
Like lining them up two by two, and transform them into pillowcases.
While discussing creativity, a friend of mine once said “You have to maintain your creative tunnel, keep it clear. Otherwise it will only jam up and you won’t get anything out of it.”.
He was referring to what is commonly called ‘flow’, and that flow - by its mere definition - cannot be held back.
And he's right. My creativity is a tube or a tunnel with constant traffic. In that tunnel I have no control over which cars will turn up, or what they will carry with them. I just have to deal with each and everyone in the order they appear, in whatever way suitable, to make room for the next one.
In other words, there're no good nor bad, no right or wrong, there're just ‘ideas’. And all of them should be treated with the same amount of respect because all ideas need closure. That’s how you clear the subsequent traffic.
If ‘closure’ means hit record for 10 seconds just to realize that those great four chords belong in the bin, then I have to do that. If it means working late hours to sew 14 pillowcases and end it all by giving them family names while building a dedicated webshop for this new and unexpected line of home styling, well, then I have to do that.
All in all, it is the same creative logic. The only difference is time.
And creativity has a built-in ripple effect, which means this is a process greater than the sum of its parts. No matter the topic, no matter the time, if I allow myself to indulge in one single idea, it teaches me respect and patience. It gives me a sense of value for things created and turns each step into a rehearsal for the next one.
It is a liberation of the mind that sharpens my tools and prevents my traffic from jamming up. It’s a dance, a creative sidestep, and there’s nothing else I can do than to follow the rhythm.