Wedding Blinders On!

Which means blog posts around here are probably going to get spottier and spottier. We’re now within 7 weeks of the wedding and I would dearly love to have all projects completed one week ahead so, really, the clock is ticking with less than 6 weeks to get a LOT of thing knocked off the to-do list.

But all of this mania has made me think of some potentially pithy remarks on

Delegating Creativity

A couple of folks–including my mother, most recently–have offered to help with some of the wedding crafts. While I do appreciate the offer, it’s more than the usual amount of difficulty in accepting the help.

Yes, part of it is my long-standing need to do everything on my own. Call it stubbornness or the never-ending quest for bragging rights, but it seems to be ingrained over the last 37 years and it’s a tough habit to break. But putting those habits aside, that’s not the only reason I’m having trouble asking for or accepting help. And it boils down to this:

It’s a little hard to tell you what to do when I’m making it up as I go along.

It’s not like I don’t know what I want to achieve or how I want things to look. I’ve thought about pretty much every facet of the look of the day and thought through how I think I’ll be able to go about getting there. More times than not, though, little things go awry and if I’ve sent someone home with a project I won’t be there to troubleshoot or creatively solve the problem.

And yes, I definitely need to be involved with each step.

Also, by the time I’ve tested and trouble-shot an idea, chances are I’m far enough in that it’s just as easy for me to finish the project than put it aside so I can show someone else how to do it the next day.

Looking at it like this, my wedding is starting to sound like a giant piece of DIY performance art. I swear that’s not the focus, I just want the details to enhance our experience, not detract or distract. Minutia-level involvement is my way of assuring myself that that will be the case.

But the point I’m getting at is… Is it possible to delegate creativity? Can our art become a truly collaborative project?

Sure, you can collaborate on a concept or idea, and everyone’s been part of a group project in some form or fashion, but delegation is a hand-off, less of a hands-on. Can we still claim it as ours?

Which brings up the whole question of ownership in general. Can art really belong to any one person?

Now I’m not talking about copyrights and trademarks, I’m talking about that intangible thread between the artist and her creation.

The Great Master painters had apprentices. You hear tell of the Rembrandt “school,” for instance, but it’s in-the-style-of the teacher, even if the project may have been begun by the big cheese himself. Who knows? But art historians can tell by studying the brush strokes and other infinite details who actually painted it. I finished reading The House Girl the other night, a fictional story about (among other things and themes) antebellum paintings attributed to the mistress of the plantation but that were actually completed by one of her slaves and who has rights to those works. Whose name goes on the back of the canvas. Who gets the proceeds, be they money or bragging rights.

In this day of Pinterest and rapid-fire inspiration sharing, where does the inspiration stop and the appropriation begin? Where does imitation cross the line into impersonation?

And does it even matter?

I think it does. Matter that is. It matters where our ideas come from. It matters what came before us. It also matters how we put our own spin on things. Some people aren’t interested in personalization but focus on replication, and I suppose that’s okay for them, but I want my thumbprint on what I lay claim to. I don’t mind sharing the spotlight if I was inspired by someone else, but I could never take credit for someone else’s work, either, even if it was my instruction that served as the catalyst for the finished object.

Hah! I brought it back around to delegation. (I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there, to be honest.)

So, what do you think? Can we delegate creativity or does trying to place us in the position of muse or catalyst, but no longer artist? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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