Why make stuff?

I regularly catch myself thinking about why creating things is so rewarding. At the moment, I’m reading The Stand, by Stephen King, and in his post-apocalyptic world, there’s a scene where the main character comes across a man who is on his porch doing some watercolor painting. This made me wonder: if I had all the free time in the world and didn’t need to work (in this particular scenario the demise of humanity is almost complete and very immediate, so food and resources are extremely abundant), how would I spend my time?

I’d definitely read a lot of the time. But I also recently discovered I can do some simple knitting while reading (as long as no real counting is involved).

But would I knit though? Would I paint or create anything? Would it be all that rewarding if I knew that no one would be receiving my final product? Sure, I could make things for myself… but…

I’d still have no one to show it to.

So there you have it.

For me, I guess part of the enjoyment – a large part of it – isn’t just the simple act of completing what I start but also… showing people. I’m really not so sure crafts or even fine art are all that purposeful if absolutely no one will see it.

Yes – I have some pieces that almost no one has ever seen. Because some of my illustrations or paintings are very personal, but at least one person has probably seen everything I’ve ever created.

Even this blog – I haven’t shown it to anyone but I can see that some people have stumbled across it, and that is motivating to continue. And of course I know eventually I’ll announce Old Salt Craft Co. Eventually.

Writing is different. I like to document experiences and thoughts to return to them later. Would I knit if there were no people? Would I paint? Or create anything artistic?

Maybe? Probably not with the fervor I do now though. For one, since I rarely keep my knitted items, one of the things I enjoy is that while I’m knitting, I’m thinking of the person. I’m considering what they would and would not like, how it will fit, how the fabric will feel to them…

This is probably why almost any project I’ve made with the intention of keeping it for myself has yet to be completed. I just don’t have the same kind of motivation.

This year, I sent holiday cards to friends, family, and co-workers. The cards had a winter scene I painted using watercolor. I don’t think most people knew that it was my painting. They probably thought it was just a generic card.

I guess I can take that as a compliment.

Not the best photo…

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