I slipcovered my chair.

some thoughts about learning from a master, creativity and originality

some thoughts about learning from a master, creativity and originality

I learned to make slipcovers from my dear departed mother in law, Jackie Hill. Jackie learned from her mother who learned from Jackie’s grandmother. When Sarah was a baby she came to stay with us for a week and gave me slipcover lessons. I’m the 4th generation and maybe the last to learn how to make a slipcover fit exactly. Jackie wanted me to have this practical skill but it’s not for a beginner seamstress. She knew I would work independently sewing and find plenty of demand for it. Imagine how much frustration she saved me from by teaching me the combined sewing experience of 3 generations. Why is it different in the art world?

At York Academy of Art our teachers wanted us to study the masters. It’s a discipline young artists don’t learn on their own. They think the secret to being the next great artist is to be creative and original. They don’t want to learn a skill from any previous generation. I read about how to be creative on art blogs all the time and it doesn’t concern me. I read about people asking if it’s all been done before and it’s impossible to be original. It sounds like misguided thinking to me. Maybe because the art universities don’t teach their students the basic skill of drawing they try to compensate by trying to be more crazy than the next guy so they will get noticed.

This is the 4th time I’ve covered this chair and every time it’s difficult but it comes out better than the one before because I find a different way to work out the construction problems. Creativity comes from combining practice and experience to solve problems.

My daughter Sarah Hill is on WordPress now. She’s a writer. She IS the sharpest tool in the shed and I’m not just saying that because I’m her Mom. She’s getting to the top of her game by reading and writing every day. Read about her free spirit and wanderlust. Sarah will make her dreams come true.



7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gretchen Getsinger
    Jan 28, 2014 @ 12:45:14

    Gorgeous slipcovers! My mentor suggested I study the Old Masters; best advice ever!


  2. sarahjanethill84
    Jan 31, 2014 @ 08:15:46

    Chair looks great mom! And you’re right about the masters… in my world nobody would take a writer seriously if they never read and studied anyone else’s work. You have to learn everything else in life from a master (how to walk, talk, eat, dress, read, write…) why not the creative arts too?


    • chris ludke
      Jan 31, 2014 @ 14:32:41

      thanks. Yeah, I’m thinking creativity works when you know a little first. For some reason they think it’s supposed to come out of the blue so you can be original. I even heard critics say “It’s been done before” like that’s a bad thing. It’s just more proof the art world is fubar. 😉


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