Have No Fear

Many years ago, when I was setting about to teach myself to draw and paint, two guys who had graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design, encouraged me in my endeavors by saying, “Just have no fear…”  I don’t think they realized how much I would recall those words.  Every painting, every sketch, every knit or crochet project or design, every new creative endeavor…starts in my head with, Have No Fear Jen.  It’s only paper, it’s only canvas, it’s only string.   Somehow we can get so strangled by fear of…well, what is it, anyway?  Fear of it not being “good”?  Fear of it being a failure? Fear of messing it up?  Fear of not being original?  Fear of not having anything to say?  Fear of not improving?  Oh my, these are just a few.

Of course, I could blast through every one of these and “explain them away” for you.  I’ve read a good bit on creativity and it’s traps, I’ve learned to recognize and talk myself through them.  But somehow, when faced with a blank page, a basket full of new yarns…all our reason goes out the door, and the deer in headlights look comes over our face.  Have No Fear…just begin…one baby step at a time…just move forward.

One place this fear shows up is when we tackle something we are not as well-versed in or something we have not made before.  I faced this as I stared at a basket (remember this basket from the hexagons in Crag2Crag?) that I wanted to line with fabric so the yarns wouldn’t get picked.  Now, I can sew.  I’m fairly well equipped when it comes to sewing.  But I had a small amount each of four fabrics (which I had purchased to make these birds), no pattern, and I had never lined a basket before…or at least I can’t remember when I have.  And, of course, I didn’t want to JUST line the basket…I wanted it to have pockets on the outside for my scissors, hooks, and anything else needed for the project in the basket.  *Headlights*.  Will the idea work? Will I have enough fabric?  Will it turn out alright, or will I have butchered the fabrics so that I can’t really  use them for anything else?

Just begin. It’s only fabric.

An hour or two later…I had it…the thing I had envisioned, plus or minus a thing or two.  One MUST be flexible along the way and allow for altering the original plan.  This is KEY!  I like to think, in creative matters, that mistakes or roadblocks are merely opportunities for a wonderful new idea or outcome.  But you’ve gotta bend to it.  Life is that way too.

And so now my basket is lined with fun fabrics which have places for “stuff” around the outside.  One spot that gave me pause, was how to deal with the liner where the handles meet the basket.  What came out (ribbons tied on the sides) works well and is pretty to boot.

And with the leftovers, I was able to make the birds from a free pattern found here…I’m not sure WHY I made them…just for fun…and with no fear.

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10 thoughts on “Have No Fear

  1. I did a post on this way back when I first joined EDM. Fear of it not being perfect, marketable, etc. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Fear of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and trying something completely different. Oh yeah, I know all about that fear. But, somehow we still manage to muddle through. Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  2. Excellent observation! (and I love the basket liner).

    To go along with “Have No Fear”, I’ve heard a well-known speaker say if you DO feel fear, “Do It Afraid!”.

  3. Oh, that basket with its pretty liner is so cool! And so are the birds! Great post, I can certainly relate. But then the older I get the less that fear seems to matter somehow.

  4. It’s all just like that for me too! I sometimes want things to be perfect so then I freeze with the fear of it. We need to let ourselves make the mistakes, and then use them! The we get the unexpected, often better than we planned. Wonderful – By the way, a great book if you haven’t read it is “Art and Fear” by Bayles and Orland

    I love your basket and the birds! Beautiful!

  5. Fear must keep so many potentially highly creative people in hiding. I don’t suffer from it as much as I did, but it never goes away completely.

    And well done -fantastic job on the basket.

  6. Lovely thoughts here everyone! Thanks for the compliments, the book suggestion, and the “do it afraid” encouragement. It’s helpful knowing we’re all in this fear thing together.

  7. I remember a salesperson in an art store saying, “You don’t know how many artists choke over a $5 piece of paper”. The fear. Maybe that is why I think that every project prepares me for the next. There will be hiccups, but go for it!

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