Sunday, September 09, 2007

Imagination & Visualization

Google these words and you get a bunch of new-age-y spiritual stuff or how to succeed in life by simply using your mind. Pardon my practical cynicism but I think it’s both simpler and more complex than that — and of course these folks are all trying to make a buck with their advice. Here is a pretty good explanation though without all the pseudo-religion and hype. As creative people, we artsy-crafty types usually have pretty good visualization skills. But you’d be surprised how many still have trouble with relatively simple things like imagining that sweater in a different colour and with a different neckline. They have to see it illustrated in the real world first. Like any skill however, the ability improves with practice. And I think it can be really worthwhile to work on it. It might improve your life!

I really wonder how the kind of constant visual input that kids get these days (TV, videos, toys that move and “talk” by themselves) affects their imagination and visualization skills. In “the olden days” kids had to use their imaginations to create toys for themselves out of the things of everyday life. Storytelling was one person speaking to others directly and making up the words on the spot. Books didn’t have many pictures and photographs may not even have existed. No big corporations marketing directly to little ones and creating future shoppers hungry for popular labels and the latest hot items…oops. Sorry. I digress. My point is: do you think kids are better at using their imaginations these days or not? Or maybe they are just the same as kids have always been?

I remember as a little girl in the 1950’s making dolls out of flowers, twigs and acorns and houses for them out of discarded ceramic tiles. My generation is also the first one to have had television in our childhood years. My 3-year-old granddaughter has her own videos and knows how to use the remote. She’s actually more in control of what she watches than we were. We still play house together and pretend to drink tea with her dolls. Different and yet not so different. Just some thoughts from Damselfly’s wandering brain this Sunday morning. T-Man is off to his woodturning symposium’s final day so it’s rather quiet around here. More like a weekday than a weekend. But he’s off for 2 more days so it’s back to the cement-mixing tomorrow. Gotta make concrete cobblestones while the sun shines!

Yes, I have been doing something besides imagining! I cut the innersoles from the felt I made yesterday:

I used my Birkenstocks for a pattern which worked quite well. I also decided to stitch (with wool left from the slippers) an extra thickness for a bit of support for my arches. I cut them from the felt’s corners where it thinned out making a smoother transition at the inside away from the edge. Before I closed up the seam, I tucked an extra smaller piece inside to contour the arch support higher at the edge where I decided I need extra thickness. I’ll put them into the slippers with the seam side down so I won’t feel it under my foot. There’s still a piece of felt left so I’ll hang onto that in case I need to add anything more in the future. The last time I made felted slippers I needed to add more thickness to the heel as it compressed and wore down. I’m now quite happy with these slippers and they should take me through at least a couple of winters with warm tootsies.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I think the imagination question is an interesting one. My kids have a million toys and watch a lot of videos and don't seem lacking in imagination, but one incident does stick out in my mind. My then-three year old son loved to play store and would invent elaborate shopping games with his father, who would be the hardware store customer. My son would help him find (imaginary) things for his projects; they would fill up an imaginary shopping cart, and then proceed to an imaginary checkout stand, where my son would play cashier. He would make all the cash register noises and then tell my husband his total. They played this game every night for months.

He loved this game so much that his grandmother bought him a cash register for his birthday. It has a little sensor; if you swipe something across the sensor the cash register beeps and announces a price. Then you press a button and it tells you the total.

Almost immediately, my son abandoned the shopping game. I think the talking cash register took all the fun out of it.