08 September 2010

The Curious Case of Creating

I loved reading about your first sewing adventures yesterday.  It seems to have brought memories for many of us, thank you for sharing!

So, he wasn't pictured among some of my other guests, but he's a big part of why we all create.  He tells us stories of painting rocks as a boy and going around the neighborhood selling them [actually making money].  But they weren't just ordinary painted rocks.  They were extraordinary, like the woman made out of 3 stacked rocks with a tiny pointy one at the bottom for her shoe.  He's adventurous, always up for something new.  His mom was a scrabble sensation which shows in his vocabulary.  If you want an opinion, he's the one to ask, because he always has one:  

Oh, wait.  I meant this:


I'm Katy's dad. And I'm compelled to create. I have been since I was Katy's kid's ages. It's not an option. I HAVE TO CREATE!  It doesn't really matter what (as you will see as you scroll down). It's having ideas in my head, and raw materials at hand, and then using those materials and my head and my hands to make something that didn't exist before. I don't want to be blasphemous, but it is god-like. It's exhilarating. It's fun!

I'm an artist. I'm a painter, carver, florist, gardener, stained glass star maker, and seamster (that's a man seamstress).
Why? I don't know. I guess I was born that way.
How? You have to be really courageous. And not care what other people think. And I believe there is a bit of discipline added to the mix. And you have to want to. And not just want to. You have to have to.

What's hard about it? No steady income. Sometimes no income. No 9 to 5. No one telling you what your job is for that day.
What's good about it? No one telling you what your job is for the day. You get to make stuff. It is so very satisfying.

What's the hardest/scariest part? Starting. I don't lack for ideas. I don't lack desire. I don't lack for skills (actually I often do--the skills part). It is beginning something that isn't there, that doesn't have an instruction manual or recipe to follow or photos of the finished product. SCARY! But once I've laid brush to canvas or sharp instrument to wood or scissors to flower stem, or needle and thread to fabric, the fear leaves and the fun begins. It makes me happy.
 I enjoy a good play on words.

I like to carve and paint frames that are an integral part of the painting.

I made this casket for my mother-in-law, Mary Deane. Her favorite color was blue. I also did the flowers. Note the painted polka dots on the two side arrangements (I'm big on color-coordination). Mary Deane loved high heels.  She wore them even into her eighty's. No frumpy gramma shoes for her! So sewn along the hem of the fabric are tiny silver high heels. Yes, she was buried in this casket. 
I also made my father's casket. He was a champion boat racer, so his casket was in the shape of his race boat.
And my casket is ready to go when I am. It is black and natural pine. I have carved in bas relief along the sides, little vignettes of my life. So no obituary necessary, just look at the pictures on the casket.

Recently I've been making blankets for the newly born grand children. 

 I also carve chairs for the grand kids.

I've made four of these topsy-turvy dolls. I don't know how to sew. I just fake it. Vincent Van Gogh said, "I am always doing what I don't know how to do, in order to learn how to do it." That's me in a quote shell.

This is my Asian Caucasian doll.

My Black and White doll. Is that politically correct?

So all you creative types. That's what I do and why I do it. I know your pain. And you know mine. But we both know the JOY!


  1. how lucky you are to have such an interesting, artistic & fun dad~ i loved this post~

  2. it IS god-like, just as we are. when people tell me they are just not creative i'm a little put-off. i suppose it's one thing if they don't believe themselves to be particularly artistic. but we are ALL creative! humankind was made to create.

    thanks for being such an inspiration to the rest of us on the subject, Kurt (and Katy)!

  3. Creativity is integral to humanity. It is something that begs for expression. The trick is finding the method that works for you.

  4. Comahmneedah! I love creative types.

  5. Katy- cracking me up with the picture! they do look a bit alike:O)

    Great to see all of Mr. Knudsen's work (can't seem to call him Kurt). Curious if he has another career as well.

  6. I'm having a baby, a girl we are naming Sophie, just in case you'd like to make me a baby blanket!

    Also, I love those little chairs!

  7. What an amazing man! :) Thanks so much for sharing. I loved the chairs he made for your girls. How special to have something hand made with your name on it. I love gifts like that. It's the thought and work behind it, that makes it so special.

  8. I absolutely LOVE this!!! I'm pretty certain I do not relate to your story but i can see my oldest daughter in this story to a "t"!!! She LOVES to create.....with anything she can find and I hope that I can nurture that to the fullest!! You are AMAZING and you have AMAZING children! I don't know you at all....I do not know your children at all but I have come to LOVE their blogs and how artistically they create through words, sewing, raising their kids, photography and SOOOOO much more!! Thanks for sharing today...most enjoyable!

  9. An interesting and extraordinary man. What an inspiration, and opportunity you had as a child!!! Now I can see where you get it from!!

  10. Great post! And I love the Van Gogh quote. I may have to borrow that as well.

  11. I agree- great post and I love the variety of his skills!

  12. I have been lurking at your blog for awhile. I love all of your posts. They are honest, refreshing and CREATIVE! It is so nice to "meet" your dad because I can see where you get your "you-ness" from. What a wonderful man... who had a wonderful daughter and some darn cute grandkids!

  13. Great post, Katy's dad, and cool stuff! I too create because I have to. It is what keeps me sane. At the moment I'm not creating enough, so I'm slightly off kilter.

  14. What a fun and inspiring man your father is!!! I love it!

  15. I love you Knudsens, every single one.

  16. Found your blog through some link somewhere (not sure where anymore, though, maybe your guest post?) and I love it. And really loved this post from your dad! I'm so in on the Sewing Month Celebration...I even blogged it to keep myself on task (and to use the van Gogh quote your dad used, too)! Now to step away from the computer and get to my sewing machine...

  17. You have the eye - everything you make is unique and beautiful, not like everything else.

  18. love love love your life philosophy to be creative in everything. it is one of the earliest things i remember about you from your guest artist presentation in high school art! so fun to see the collection of creative "everythings" here.


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