Cre8ing With Colette: The Importance of Story
The creative process is, by its very nature, a highly individual affair. To create is to provide the world with an unflinchingly-honest illustration of not only our talents but our tastes, which are as unique as we are, because they are shaped by the unique stories and contexts which define us. As a lover of history, and a shameless stalker of antiques, I find it difficult to overstate the tremendous importance of story to our everyday lives, as context provides a sense of identity. As a decorator, I find it even more difficult to overstate the importance of story to the creative design experience. Our tastes are different because the stories behind them are. Our individual stories play an undeniable role in shaping our tastes, in determining what speaks to us and the manner in which it speaks.
On top of the variance of our individual sensibilities, our highly singular contexts also decide how we assign value, whether we are dealing with an antique in a shop or piece we uncovered in a relative’s home. The story attached to the piece, and the memories it brings back to us, can make even the most (seemingly) unremarkable item a treasure beyond even monetary value. This concept of beauty by association brings to mind an experience I had here at the shops, as I was folding an old and well-loved quilt. It had been stitched together by hand in the mid-1930’s, using remnants of flour sacks. A literal assessment of the quilt’s worth would likely focus around details such as the slightly faded prints, or the obvious wear at the edges, leading to the conclusion that the piece has little real value. As I turned it over in my hands, however, I realized that an assessment of the story of the piece made it priceless. I imagine it was stitched in love, that a mother saved scraps of material for months in an effort to create a blanket of security to keep a child warm amidst the turmoil and uncertainty of the Great Depression. While not the work of a master quilter, it is, in its own right, a masterpiece.
I like to believe that, when we are creating our spaces, our own stories and the stories of the pieces we use can liberate our decorative sense. Rather than attempting to force a room to fit a theme, and rather than attempting to shop to a highly-specific theme, decorate by instinct – use the pieces that you love, the pieces that perfectly suit your unique tastes. Your own story, the tale that guides your likes and dislikes, will not lead you astray. In using the items that truly speak to your unique context, you become the “theme”, if you will, the unifying factor that ultimately allows you to create a warm and distinct living space.
I encourage each of you to reconnect with your story, and consider how it has molded your tastes.
On behalf of the entire Station 8 Team,