And let’s talk about the meaning in the making
We continue to live in difficult times. Unfortunately, this is not a first. It’s happened before, and if history proves anything is that it will happen again. But on the heels of the pandemic, the news about the war in Ukraine and what it could mean, fills many with a sense of despair. Each day, we wake up hoping for better news, for things to get resolved and for human decency to prevail. At times, it may seem difficult to keep spirits up. Art can help.
Art can’t make the world a better place, but it can temporarily pull the creator and the viewer into a world of possibilities. Art seeks to make sense of everything; from our smallest sad moments to the most earth-shattering tragedies. It helps us to process and come to terms with the things in life that we can’t control and can’t really explain. Art can help. Making art that’s deeply personal is only one way to cope with the awareness of the devastation caused by war.
What we know from history and psychology is that creativity and innovation arise in times of crisis. When our lives and our world undergo drastic changes, our minds change, too—often opening up to a new level of our own creative potential.
Creativity is one of the most powerful tools we have for finding meaning in any circumstance. Viktor Frankl wrote, “In some ways, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”
Despite the myth of the tortured artist, pain is not a requirement for producing great art. Beauty, joy, hope, and love also inspire great art. What seems to be the determining factor for growth is that the experience is grounded in a sense of meaning. From Creativity in times of crisis by Caroline Gregoire
As human beings, we don’t leave anything to their own devices. We control, we influence, we change, we bend and we even break. And at our very best … we create.
We fashion and form.
We mould and forge.
We sew and mend.
Why is it that we are compelled to make? Why do human beings feel the need to create? We are driven to create because it comforts us in the face of impending disaster. We know we cannot turn the tide, but we can make things to help us make sense of life. We are also compelled to create because of intense joy; happiness, love, and the sheer monumental feeling of being alive.
We have been making and creating since the dawn of times. The works discovered at Lascaux dating back some 20,000 years show depictions of animals, humans and even abstract symbols in beautiful detail; perhaps they were drawn to feel more in control of the chaotic forces that dictated the direction of their lives.
So in times of chaos and disorder, we MAKE. In times of happiness and gratefulness, we CREATE.
And we hope that those who experience what we’ve made will feel what we felt when creating and will resonate with them too Ultimately, we read art using our own experiences. We might not be able to put clearly into words what we’ve shared because we may not understand it rationally ourselves, but that’s the beauty of art. It’s not a medium that requires certainty.
So no. We won’t save the world. And we may not change anything. We may lose the battle. But there’s something humanly beautiful in the attempt.
And no better way I can think of to spend a life. Making and creating.
That is is one of the reasons I’ve created my new program Create2Flourish. Because I cannot imagine my own life without art. Because I don’t even want to think what the last two years of my life would have been like after the trauma of loss (and all that came with it); without papers, and fabric and threads and colour and paints and messes and the comforting rhythms of the needle and thread. Trauma, chaos, disorder, grief comes to life unexpectedly sometimes. I know it came into mine. But Art made sense and gave me the space to breathe. And grieve. And sit quietly and create. And today, I’m happy. I am content. I feel at peace with myself in this chaotic and imperfect world we live in. I hope you’ll join me in this journey, together with others who have gone ahead. Let’s make the world a bit of a better place by creating together.
Thanks for reading. Keep creating,