A Tribute

The following quote I saw today describes perfectly my experience with creating the Curve Master Presser Foot.  Although said by someone much smarter than I, who changed the world in a huge way more than the Curve Master ever will, I said to myself upon reading this, “That’s what I’ve been explaining to anyone who asks how I came up with the Curve Master!”

“To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don’t take the time to do that.”

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”

“Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.”

And the last paragraph, about people in our industry ending up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem rang true as well, even though the speaker was referring to a different industry than quilting.  Those who do not expose themselves to new ideas or worse, those who reject new ideas remind me of a cartoon I saw years ago.  Two monkey parents, watching little Junior stand up and walk on his hind legs, saying to him, “No, no!  On all fours like Mom and Dad!”

So to whom do we attribute the above quote and why is it resounding with me just today?  Steve Jobs, Apple Computer.  (Wired, 1996)

As a person who lived before the first television and who was terrible at arithmetic and math, I have always dragged my feet where new technology was concerned.  Got my first PC when in graduate school in 1988, probably a 286 with dot matrix printer and a book about DOS, and limped along doing my papers on it.  When the garage mechanic who built my first PC said I might want to add more power to be ready when Windows arrived, I replied that I didn’t think I’d go that way, that I could work enough with DOS!  Of course from there I proceeded to 386, onward and upward, to the brink of Windows Vista when I said, “I’ve had enough of Windows!  I’m going to try a Mac.”

I bought my first MacBook (a black one) in 2007 and the world opened up.  Suddenly I could make photographs do what I wanted; I could find files; I could make movies and post them; I could create a blog.  I can assure you with 100% confidence that none of those would have happened without a Mac in my lap and on my desk.  Yes, I added a desktop, another laptop because I liked the design of the unibody aluminum, five ipods, two ipads, and I’m standing in line for whatever comes next!  No matter what city in the world I am in, one of the most fun alive places to visit is the local Apple Store!  In other words, Steve Jobs changed my world and although he will never see this, I still want to acknowledge that.

And not that I have the hubris to compare the Curve Master to a Mac, still the experience he describes relative to creativity is what I espouse in all the classes I teach:  “don’t just look, really “see.”  Don’t just accept the linear solution!”

Why am I suddenly thinking the old way of doing curves is a bit like working with Microsoft Vista?

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