What does Great British Sewing Bee tell us about creativity?

Over the years I’ve met many creative people who are ‘stuck’, unable to get their creativity to flow. Just like the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee, each and every one of them has been putting their creativity under pressure. Often this pressure is caused by not allowing their creativity enough time.

On Great British Sewing Bee it’s easy to see how time pressure can impact on precision; excellent sewers end up making elementary mistakes such as sewing the wrong pieces together. A less obvious casualty is creativity. Even in the final task of the episode, where Sewing Bee contestants prepare in advance, there still isn’t time during construction to step back and think, to tweak, to remodel, as real  designers would .

There was some wonderful creativity demonstrated last night on the Great British Sewing Bee. However Sewing Bee left me wondering what would have happened if the contestants had a couple of hours to walk the dog while they thought about the adaptation challenge, or a few days to make the final piece of the episode’s three challenges.

Maybe some people’s creativity can thrive under pressure, but in my experience, if we step back and relax our creativity flows more effectively.

Are you giving your creativity enough time?

9 thoughts on “What does Great British Sewing Bee tell us about creativity?

  1. I love sewing bee, but the idea of being a contestant fills me with dread!

    Those tight time constraints might ramp up the pressure to make a good programme, but I can’t help but feel slight frustration with the programme makers.

    It takes huge mountains of courage to put your creativity in the spotlight, publicly and for it to be microscopically explored for flaws is like creative self harm!

    The programme would still be a great programme, the sewing would be better and the public humiliation would ramp down several notches and I think I could watch it without squirming so much. (these are talented sewers, but its almost as if they want to show them at their worst!) For a guy who has gone through rigorous military officer training to say that he has never felt such pressure just shows the effect it has.

    The bake off is just as bad, the timelines are so tight that any tiny miscalculation and the end product is a disaster, one round I remember nearly everyone’s was raw… and don’t get me started on the freezer problem! Why have empty freezers and not enough for everyone? Yet that poor contestant was blamed for cracking under pressure.

    I wonder if they put these people back together afterwards? I wonder how Alex felt walking back into work this morning?

    I wonder (that is a lot of wondering! sorry) just how many creative people watching end up sitting on their creativity? Because the message is clear, step into that spotlight at your peril – you think you are good at something? Well lets just see about that!

    Wonderful ammunition for the inner critic! ha! (I call mine Maud, its not a flattering name and I imagine she is some sort of Hilda Ogden character – when she is loudest I focus on her curlers or I give her a squeaky voice) I apologise for the detour in this comment… my mind travels in forks and diversions!

    I agree wholeheartedly, Bekki, the creative process is about; mistakes, stepping back, dog walking, reading blogs, (housework is my most productive!) trial and error,

    its about MAKING… expressing the creator in us all and allowing it to flow into words, fabric, paint or even the odd cake or two.

    That said…. I LOVE to see sewing on the TV, it’s a great hobby and I am sure its responsible for keeping our love of sewing going strong! Not to mention the rather dashing .. judge (no it isn’t May!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, a lot of wondering, but wondering is good. I do wonder how many people have a good reality TV experience whatever show they put their hand up for. The programme makers want to ‘entertain’ so will do their best to throw in curved balls – just think of the things less BBC2 reality TV shows have done to put pressure on their contestants. More specifically Sewing Bee, I agree with what you’re saying and all your wondering is making me think, do people need therapy after these shows? I guess there are positives in it too and taking good attitude that it is just a TV show will go a long way. I hadn’t thought of it making viewers sit on their own creativity, I guess it must do, but it also has encouraged a lot of people to take up sewing too. And at the end of the day I do enjoy watching it and find it inspiring, I just feel for some of the contestants and think it a shame the programme makers can’t make it more of a creative exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I am at the fitting toile stage – its lovely to be able to simply take my time. However, this week I have to put it aside to get ready for a workshop I am teaching next Saturday.

    I could not have developed the pattern without stepping back and having some thinking time. So I agree Bekki, the stepping back is an essential part of the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never seen the Sewing Bee, but I like the question you ask. I think everyone is different, and sometimes our process changes over time. Sometimes I work fast, but I do believe that creating requires time. Ideas require a gestation period, the artist also needs time to work, time to reflect on that work and respond to it intuitively. I think time allows you to refine your work and reach deeper into the process. Bekki, I will check and let you know if the subscription worked. It was acting kind of funny, so I’m not sure! Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, absolutely! Love your phrase ‘reach deeper into the process’ I hadn’t thought of it like that, but that’s a great way to put it. Each time we reach deeper and find something more that was hidden beneath the surface of what we were seeing. As for subscription, it’s now showing – maybe WordPress was being slow? Thanks again for following and for your comments. You take good care too.

      Liked by 1 person

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