I have been working on a series of paintings I call “Creative Workbenches” and I am discovering that this term doesn’t make any sense to people. If you Google Creative Workbench you will find photos and ads for tables and benches that can be arranged “creatively”. I don’t think they consider the person using the workbench as the “Creative”. Maybe my title of the series should have an apostrophe, like “Creative’s Workbenches” and that would make more sense. Please send comments if you think I should change the title of the series. I can adapt.
I Can Adapt
The term “I can adapt” may actually be a better name for Creative. A Creative is a person who can solve problems, find a new way to do something, make something new, use their imagination, prepare a new meal, search for the lost sock, adapt a new tool, write a new code, do jig-saw puzzles, or fix a faucet. In all honesty, everyone that gets up in the morning and chooses their wardrobe for the day is creative. We are all creative by design.
So why did I have so much trouble finding people willing to provide photo’s of their Creative Workbenches. My theory is that there is some confusion between “Creative and Artistic”. My husband, Dave, is probably one of the best untrained engineers I know. He has had 70 plus years of experience doing all kinds of things (Maintenance Engineer or Handyman) and now he is able to look at a problem and provide several solutions. He is my go to guy whenever I want a new art display, method for framing or organizing concept. He just makes it happen with the limited materials available. Now that is creative. His workbench can be found in the back of his car in five-gallon buckets.
It took me a long time, but I now consider myself an Artist. I have been practicing watercolor for over 15 years now and it has only been in the last three years that I felt I could call myself an artist. An artist is someone that has cultivated skills and talents toward creating art and crafts that include but not exclusive to fine arts, painting, drawing, sculpting and music.
The Confusion between Creative and Artistic
I have approached many people asking if they would be willing to provide a photo of their workbenches so I could add them to my watercolor series. The first words out their mouths are “I am not creative”. Bam, there in lies the confusion. I believe that since I am creating a painting from their photo, they think I am looking for Artist’s Workbenches and not Creative’s Workbenches. They do not understand that we are all creative and we all have concentrated spaces of creativity. It could be the kitchen counter as meals are prepared, the computer station for bookkeeping or coding, the cosmetic station as you compose your face, hair salon, car maintenance, childcare room, nature seeking or any number of areas that require problem solving
I think it is hard for people to accept their creativity. I remember when my son was five and his kindergarten teacher chastised him for creating new words to the London Bridges song they were singing. I enjoyed his creativity and she felt he was insubordinate. Agreeing to conform to rules and regulation is necessary for people to get along with each other, but it tends to stifle creativity. The challenge is to recognize we are all creative and be willing to set aside our preconceived notion of right and wrong to allow fanciful ideas to be considered and developed. I think Artist’s are allowed the freedom to do that more easily because their creativity is accepted by definition. Hopefully as I continue my Creative Workbench series, I will help uncover those wonderful concentrations of creativity and showcase their beauty and will resolve the confusion between creative and artistic.
Creative Workbench Photo Contributions
If you would like to help me with my Creative Workbench Series, I would love to have images of your creative workbenches for consideration. I will be having a solo show in October of 2022, so I will need at least twelve more photos. I can’t guarantee I will use all of the photos, but perhaps I can add the additional photos during the show to help people recognize the diversity of creativity.
Katherine J Ford
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