new designs: going old-school
I spent most of this week cutting little triangles out of contact paper and sticking them onto velum. In a beautiful pattern, of course. I'm designing a new line of napkins and I wanted to add a creative challenge (because designing a new product isn't challenging enough). Here were my guidelines: 1) only using simple tools to make the patterns 2) not relying on a computer for any part of the process.
But why not use the computer? And have perfectly uniform triangles to "copy and paste," enabling me to whip out designs inside of an hour instead of a week?
A valid question. I happened to ask myself that every five minutes of tirelessly peeling off sticky-backs and trying not to crumple the thin contact paper that is better suited for big rectangle drawers than tiny triangles for napkin designs.
The answer is that I'm creatively stubborn. I'm determined to prove to my imaginary audience that watches my every creative move, that I don't need a high-tech tool for a low-tech skill. And screen-printing is lo-tech, for those of you that might be intimidated by it. Monkeys can screen-print. Stoners can screen-print. Moms can screen-print. And we all do. Except maybe the monkeys.
Because what I love about screen-printing is that I get to use my hands to be creative, that I can literally feel my work being made. It's a messy, tactile medium. Unlike computers.
I love the look of handmade where "mistakes" actually add character. For me, designs that are super slick and have no rough edges become dull and bland. I thrive on random "accidents" that come with creativity. Any time that I make a "bad" cut and the lines don't match perfectly, I get a little internal thrill because I know that the design just got better.
So, keeping it old-school has delivered on all it promised: I have proven to myself (and my imaginary audience) that creativity is not generated from high-tech tools. That something beautiful or inspired can come from materials that are right in front of us. That the act of making can happen right now, with whatever is at hand.
I couldn't ask for more from a roll of contact paper.