Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just Thinking - the Creative Process, 9/11

Today is certainly a day of thinking for me. Lots of thinking.

First, there's the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It is hard to believe that ten years have passed already since our world changed. The event is still so fresh. The only reason I do know ten years have passed is because my kids were little back then, and they are almost adults now (well, one is an adult). They grew up in a different world than I did. That makes me think, too.

On a much lighter subject, yesterday I heard Kenneth King speak at PenWAG. I took classes from Kenneth over twenty years ago at Sewing Workshop when he lived in San Francisco. I lost track of the doings of the sewing world in those years I didn't sew. When I came back to sewing and learned he had moved to New York, I was surprised. He touched on that topic yesterday and how 9/11 factored into his decision to move to NYC.

But what was interesting, to me, was his creative process. The talk was called "DeMystifying the Creative Process" which, of course, was about his creative process. It was interesting to watch the evolution of his work and what inspired it. He was (and is) greatly inspired by architectural detail, especially architectural detail of the Belle Epoque. This shouldn't surprise someone who knows his exuberantly embellished work, but it's interesting to see how certain inspirations translated to specific pieces. He is also inspired by Art Nouveau jewelry, such as the very stylized pieces of Lalique.

It's just so interesting when a designer can absorb pieces of art, works of architecture, or sights in nature, and then re-interpret these things into their garments. I am in awe of that creative process.

How many times have you heard an artist, when speaking of his/her creative process, say, "I don't know where that came from." Kenneth says that, too, of some of his innovative pattern designs. (And I wish he'd release a pattern or two with Vogue!) It feels as if this creative process, in that phase, is a result of a connection with some higher energy.

Having worked with some of Issey Miyake's designs, it's clear that one of his influences was origami. I wonder what other things inspire him. He is able to work in the 3D space with such a unique language - it's hard to fathom what his thought processes are like. (I speak in the present tense, because he is still doing interesting work, though he has handed off his design house.)

I have often wished I could climb into Issey Miyake's brain and watch his creative process. But, then, I would no doubt be very confused and frustrated, because I don't understand Japanese. :)

I have an intense work week this next week, so I am doing some simple sewing this weekend. A few more Teagarden T's are in process. This pattern, which I have made many times now, is an Issey Miyake design, and I never cease being amazed at how this single pattern piece (plus a gusset) morphs, with various seams, into one of the best fitting garments I've ever had on my body. It's a magical process.

Have a peaceful day.


  1. Very thoughtful post, Shams...I just listened to Paul Simon singing Sound of Silence at TT ceremony.. Very stirring.
    I feel the same way about interesting and different the inside of his brain must be!

  2. Thank you for this post, Shams. Anyone doing work that intrigues, inspires, delights, assists, comforts is doing work that elevates humanity. There are so many, and we are so fortunate we have them. We are so fortunate we have ourselves, too, doing our bit.

  3. That is very beautifully expressed, Carol. I bet that was beautiful to hear, Margy.

  4. Interesting how the creative process works. I'm inspired by nature and the colour of things, and sometimes just by fabric itself. This is probably why I am not a world famous designer!

  5. Texture inspires me a lot. I can look at the "texture" of something and start thinking about how to interpret it in fabric, great fun.

    IM is one of my favorite designers. His work just fascinates me. It seems to pull you and and ask you to wonder how he did that.

  6. Excellent post and thought provoding. Thanks for sharing our thoughts.

  7. It sounds like you had a very interesting time. And agreed, wouldn't it be wonderful if more designers released patterns? Alexander McQueen released one pattern, a horrendously difficult and complicated jacket that I have yet to get brave enough to try out. I would be supremely happy if Vivienne Westwood released some patterns too...
    I wish I had kept my Issey Miyake patters from the 80's now; I had a few and thoughtlessly tossed them out. Grrr!
    If you are interested in another Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto has made a movie recently, about his thought processes and designs, and he speaks English! I'm sorry I can't remember for the mo what it is named... should be a really interesting one. I'm looking forward to seeing it released here...

  8. I was at his lecture as well. I LOVE his sense of embellishment. We should say hello sometime - I should recognize you from your photo, but I didn't see you. Lenore Kelly

  9. Funny how artists describe the creative process. I wonder how many fabric artists came to it inspired by necessity or a response to an error? I wish I saved a Carol Horne jumpsuit pattern I made long ago. It *never* went out of style and it was a great pattern to use to express yourself. Thanks for a great post, Shams, I can't wait to see your tee.

  10. Oh, thank you for your lovely sweet comment! You are too kind...! :)