A Wine Cozy??

About 10 years ago, I got into knitting in a big way. I tend to get obsessed with things and this was no exception. I voraciously learned every stitch, technique, and style. I learned how to make socks, sweaters, shawls, and more. After I’d made things for everyone in my life and had enough socks for myself, I was hungry for new projects. I’d spend hours searching through Ravelry (awesome site for knitters, btw), trying to find new projects. One day as I was about to begin a wine cozy, it hit me. What am I doing? Nobody needs a wine cozy. Wine doesn’t need to be cozy!!

double knitted scarf with nice pattern

You see, what happened is that I (and people like me) love to knit. And we ran out of ideas for projects to make. It’s like we had this skill (knitting) and knowledge (stitch patterns) and were desperately seeking something to do with them.

Wine cozies were invented because people like me needed a new project, not because wine bottles need to be swaddled in wool. This is the same thing as knitted toilet roll covers. If your main goal was to create something to keep a bottle of wine cold or hide spare toilet paper, there are better ways to do it than to knit something.

Our techniques and pretty knitted patterns were driving what we created, not the other way around.

I believe this tension and backward way of coming about things is an unspoken problem in the world of polymer. We all love to learn techniques and create pretty patterns, veneers, beads, and I think causes us to get ourselves boxed into a mindset that paralyzes us. When we have a technique in our hand and go around looking for something to make with it, it’s a bit like desperately seeking wine cozy patterns.

We’ve all sat there with a gorgeous piece of something on our table and then felt that empty feeling…what should I do with this? Sometimes we think of something right away and we’re off making an object. But more often we feel that ugly tension, and it makes us feel like we’re somehow empty and devoid of ideas. (Never mind all the other negative things we tell ourselves.)

I think a better way of coming at this is to look at techniques as tools. Set the veneer or cane aside. Put the beads in a box. File your technique away in your mind. These skills (and things you made with them) become tools just like sandpaper or a texture sheet.

Now. Come at it from the other side. What problem needs to be solved? Put the wine in the fridge. (Or open it and have a glass.) Now, what would your cousin really love to wear? Does she like bright colors or have a favorite hobby? Did she just redo her living room and might need coasters? Now that you know how to make great mokume, you can use your knowledge (a tool) to create an awesome pattern in colors that she’ll love. See where I’m going with this?

Obviously, this isn’t going to be the answer for all “writers block” in the claying world. But I suggest that if you’re stuck it might be helpful to look at things in a new way and from a new direction rather than beating yourself up, assuming a deep lack of creativity and artistic worth.

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4 thoughts on “A Wine Cozy??”

  1. Over the holidays, many of my creative friends complained that they spent hours making gifts for family/friends, but the gifts weren’t appreciated. They were hurt and angry. I understand that. But, I also wonder if they were making/gifting their own versions of “wine cozies”.

  2. I, too create gifts for my family and friends and feel somewhat these gifts are unappreciated for all the thought, work, experience, research and love I put into each gift, but I have had to learn and realize there is no way for the recipients to know all these things that make a piece of jewelry for them. So, I just accept the “thank you’s” and remember the joy and fun I had creating their special piece!

  3. Ginger,
    You SO hit the mark with this article, at least for me. I so often get excited and stimulated by a technique or idea, buzz ahead and make a veneer or a cane, and then sit there, stuck. What next, what to do with this, what’s wrong with me that i can’t finish things, on and on and on with the recriminations. But majorly stuck. I now see that the way out may be, as you suggest, to approach the design process from a different perspective: let what to make come first, and now let the creative juices flow as i put my newly discovered “tools” to work making my idea come to fruition. Thank you for this new nudge!

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Polymer Clay Love is a celebration of the creative people, art, and community of polymer clay. It is curated by Ginger Davis Allman and is a community project from:

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