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Diane Gilleland originally shared:
 
I once did an interview where my guest explained that she crafts primarily for the finished product. She finds the process of cutting, pinning, and sewing a bit tedious, but she loves having the handmade item at the end.

...Whereas I craft mostly for the process of it. I start way more projects than I finish, and oftentimes, right after I finish making something I lose interest in it. It's the hours spent making that have lasting value for me.

Which part of your creative work is more compelling: your process or your finished product? And how can you tell which one you prefer?
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Kristin Roach's profile photoJen Moffat-Hallam's profile photoElisabeth P's profile photoKristine Beeson's profile photo
21 comments
 
I have startitis. I craft for learning the technique, puzzling out a pattern, etc. Once I've figured it out, it's boring, and I have to force myself to finish, or abandon it for something new.
 
I create simply for the joy of the process whether it's cutting, gathering, stitching, painting... otherwise I wouldn't do it. It's always about the doing. In fact if I'm stitching fabrics together for an art quilt and I get bored, I never press on (no pun intended). I simply stop and start again another day when the mood hits. I flit from medium to medium even within a day leaving lots in process, but gradually everything gets finished. Sort of.
 
Heh! And now I'm wondering... just like the ranks of online crafters are swelled with introverts, are we also primarily a process-oriented bunch?
 
Someone asked me that a few years ago and I replied that I was more interested in the finished object afterwards. So I can completely relate with your interviewee.

But thinking about it now I feel that, for me, it's a bit of both. I love starting new things but I also love having the new hat/dress etc. afterwards too. If I didn't enjoy making things I wouldn't do it. I'd just be another consumer like all the others.
 
I have a serious case of KCADD (Knit Crochet Attention Deficit Disease).  I have many many many items started. I mostly craft for the process, not the finished project.  It varies by my need just to keep my mind from focusing, or keeping my hands busy. I use it to help with pain control so the severity of pain will determine if I work toward process or project.
 
I think it's a little of both for me... I love the actual time spend on a project (especially if it challenges me just the right amount) and then I'm super proud when I'm wearing something that took all the time to make. but here's a weird twist: in my crafting or reading or tv watching, I feel really sad as I'm getting to the end. if I'm rewatching Buffy again, I may put off the last few eps of the final season to drag it out because then id'd be done. And a friend pointed out I get a similar worry when I'm getting to the top of socks I'm really enjoying knitting and almost done with, but kinda hate to finish because then this project will be over. how does that fit into a process vs. product crafter?
 
When I was younger it was more about the finished product. It was sewing to have the item to wear as the motivator. But now it is much more about the process. I think I can tell because I'm focused on starting the next idea and the next and the next.
 
I adore creating new pieces, which can be difficult when selling online, as the ability to sell the same item multiple times really behooves you on a site like Etsy, for example. Since my process isn't as planned out, I rarely know what the end result will be if I'm in design mode, which is exciting. I often wonder what my feelings for jewelry making would be if I wasn't doing this for a living, if my hobby hadn't turned into my job. I don't get to "play around" with various components as much as I'd like.
 
+Kristine Beeson , wow! When I near the end of a project, I tend to work harder and faster on it. It's not really the completion I'm after, though, it's more about the excitement of being close to seeing how it'll all turn out.

I think you're AmbiProcess-Product. :-)
 
I read a quote once, that the purpose of finishing a project is simply to be able to start the next...
 
Hmm, for me it depends on how I'm feeling at the time and what I'm bringing to the 'table' emotionally. Sometimes I'm fully charged and in the moment, enjoying the journey. Probably more so when I am crafting for 'fun' instead of 'work', thought that line is very blurred.  Some days I just love to cut, others is all about sewing or blogging. Thankfully, there is usually a fair amount of flexibility in my working hours so the process can remain the focus.
Of course, there's a lot to be said for finishing a piece and getting it out 'there' so you can receive lovely fluffy comments about it. A supergood feeling!
 
Both for me. The process is always an adventure in discovery, or I 'see' something as a result of my process, which leads me to more trouble (so to speak). After painting myself into a corner, the end result is satisfying. There have only been a few fails, and I try to keep my UFOs to one or two.
 
My main craft is knitting and I think I am process driven with that.  Although I am quite the perfectionist and if I have made a visible mistake, I have been known to rip out and start all over again.  Probably nobody would see the mistake except me, but I like things 'just so'.  Which actually suggests I am more focused on the end product.  This has got me thinking!

I love to write - it's another of my favourite 'crafts'.  But I sometimes don't enjoy the process as such.  I get writer's block from time to time.  Sometimes a piece of work just won't 'flow'.  I find speaking far easier (so podcasting comes fairly naturally) and with that, I love the process FAR more than the end product.  But the end product generates conversation with crafty folk and I love that.

I love starting new crafts and new projects.  There's nothing more exciting than assembling everything you need and getting started.  I have started so many new crafts over the past few years...  but only a few stick with me!  On reflection, the crafts I tend to stick at are those that have a fairly even enjoyment balance between process and end product.
 
Hmmm... I hadn't even thought about writing or podcasting, +Martine Ellis - good point! I'm all process when it comes to podcasting, but that may be because, by the time I arrive at the finished product, I've listened to the show about eight times and need a break! But with writing, I love having written much more than I love the actual writing, most of the time.
 
If I blog about a completed project, somehow I always manage to leave out some of the process, but I guess that can be alright sometimes. We all have out little secrets.
 
My grandma was all about the finished product, she actually found sewing annoying. In fact, when I inherited her stash, I realize now that in all of her supplies, there were only a hand-full of things that need finishing. Amazing.

But me, I love the process, which is often my downfall because I have a lot of UFO's boxed up. Which is how I can tell I'm a process creator.
 
I'd say I'm a little different than both:  I love figuring out how I want to do something.  For example, I have an idea in my head on the birthday cake I want to do this week, and I've been plotting for weeks on how I'm going to get it to look like I want it to look (it will involve icecream cones and other various odd items!).  

The actual execution of the plan is also fun, but can be tedious.  I'm NOT a detail person, and it's hard for me to deal with the boring stuff, or stuff that requires exacting measurements (I'm much more likely to eyeball than to measure).  And then I love the final project when it's done, and it's nothing I ever want to do again (unless I have to because I need to create the tutorial for the blog!) - because I've already completed the project and the challenge and fun was in the planning and then seeing it realized.

So I don't have boxes of unfinished projects, I have boxes of supplies that I'm going to figure out SOMETHING REALLY COOL to do with someday ;)
 
I was like that since I got a call on a custom order yesterday, for a hummingbird painting. Starting out with a basic inventory of my paints, I juggled them around in my head until I arrived at what I wanted to achieve. I just finished it and am quite pleased with it.
 
Nancy, I feel compelled to amend my comment from earlier because you absolutely hit it right on. Especially the part about not wanting anything to do with it again after finishing it. That's one of the big reasons i moved away from selling handmade things to selling the zine (essentially a pattern collection + illustrated stories). 

And on further reflection, I realize that I don't really have "boxes" of unfinished projects. Just one rubbermaid bin. And it's mostly because once I have all the "problems" solved, I get bored with the finishing part. But being aware of that, I make sure to force myself to finish things. Because in the end I always love having the handmade thing in my home - especially more than the pile of unfinished handmade things!

Thanks for articulating your process so well as it's helped me to better understand my own :)
 
+Kristin Roach , AMEN. This is why I make media projects, too - even though you're technically doing the same thing over and over, the subject matter makes each podcast, video, zine, ebook etc. a unique process.
 
+Kristin Roach glad to have helped articulate it for you!  Now after spending all day on my cake project I have a giant crack down the middle of it.  So now I guess I have more problems to solve, yippee! if only I wasn't on a deadline, sigh heheh.
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