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Finally a diagnosis... I have Creative ADD!

07 August 2008

I have had the symptoms for quite a while now, but until today I didn't have a specific diagnosis.

When I checked in on Decor8, one of my daily blog reads, this morning Holly had posted about Design ADD. Holly's post enabled me to finally put a label on my disorder: Creative ADD. (Of course I have Design ADD too!)

My Creative ADD stems from not having a Creative "off" button. I am continually inspired by even the littlest things and I want to create all the time. I see something and it sets off a little spark. Or, as is often the case, a raging fire. It could be a colour or combination of colours, a way of doing things or a new material that I haven't used, a book cover, a photo in a magazine, a shadow on the footpath... anything really.

My 'Into the Woods' collection is a case in point. I love the warmth and grain of timber and started to experiment with it early this year: painting, stamping, and collaging. I really got into stamping and have quite a collection going - some stamps I have bought, and a lot of others I have hand carved. I keep finding variations on the timber I am using and before the paint is dry on one thing I'm off on another tangent. I am not so patiently awaiting my order of timber veneer at the moment so I can careen off in another direction.

A few months ago I bought dozens of small timber spoons, paper coasters, and eggs of all sizes: all new blank canvases for me to work on! I started to collect vintage egg cups to put my egg creations in until I realised that the goose eggs I was using were too big for the cups, and it really wasn't worth the effort to decorate little hen's eggs. Not to worry - I now have a great collection of vintage egg cups to display, as well as some beautiful eggs. I started to make Birdsong Boxes (which may yet make an appearance for sale on my website) and for a while I was totally engrossed in making little birds out of vintage doilies. Then I came across this great product that hardens fabric and found a new use for my doilies. I launched into making little bowls from vintage doilies I had customised with fabric, paper and embroidery. Then I was inspired by the resurgence of the tea towel as a design object and I got carried away thinking about designs to screen print on beautiful pieces of linen. I even bought a couple of silk screens! I am currently obsessed with a different screen printing method called Gocco that is popular at the moment in the art and craft world and I have all sorts of ideas for cards, gift tags and limited edition prints. Against my nature I am trying to take the time to consider whether this is a direction I really intend to pursue before I invest in the equipment.

I have a love/hate relationship with my Creative ADD. I wouldn't want to become stale and uninspired - and there's really zero chance of that happening with my brain in constant overdrive. On the other hand it would be nice to be able to be still and focus without the constant distraction of "hey! I want to try that!", "those colours are gorgeous, they would look superb on...", "what if I...", "ooohhh, look at that beautiful old [insert anything here: book, fabric, box, sign, bowl, etc]... I've just had an idea!" I see the creative part of my brain as a bit like a pinball machine. The ball is released at high speed and it pings off the side. The lights flash and the bells go off. The ball hits something else. Flashing lights, bells sounding and ping! the ball has hit another target. But unlike a pinball machine the ball in my mind never goes out of play. It's relentless.

Of course the stumbling block is time and money. In my dreams I have a gorgeous conservatory-style studio in my rambling back garden with the space to have all my projects set up. I have a lot of ideas on the go and the time to devote to each of them. I spend time on ebay and weekends at markets scouting for vintage finds and often fly off to Tokyo to buy my art supplies and be inspired by amazing young artists at Design Festa. London and New York are also on my itinerary for gallery hopping and shopping. I discover traditional arts, crafts, materials and techniques in the many different cultures I encounter around the world and I also manage to study new things. [This is sounding like a very busy life!] I don't have to worry about also being a graphic designer or earning money. I can just indulge my Creative ADD - after all I'm sure that's the best therapy for it.

I think I need a business partner, a mentor or an investor - or all 3! Failing that I'd settle for a sugar daddy.

Back to reality... Not that my reality is at all bad. I'm so fortunate in so many ways, but it's nice to daydream isn't it?