The appeal of kits has been wonderfully and accessibly documented in a great article called "Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences" (Dahl and Moreau). And also, of course, by my wise, wise sister: "Well, duh. Most people don't suffer creative paralysis from having too few ideas, as they believe. It's because they have too many! Kits help narrow one's focus so that choosing becomes possible."
I think she's right. When I lived in Portland , OR, I loved going to this great little store called S.C.R.A.P. - the School and Community Reuse Action Project. There one could purchase, for negligible sums and among many other random things, little bags of recycled images, cards, trims, and assorted miscellanea on a vaguely related theme. I have always enjoyed collage, and I loved these little kits, even though my partner couldn't believe I was spending money on bags of old crap. Addiction to creative possibility can be kind of hard to explain. But I hope it's a positive addiction that is contagious.
With that hope in mind, I made a creativity kit for a young person on my gift list this past holiday season. I bundled together some blank greeting cards, glue sticks, cut-outs from magazines and interesting scraps, papers, and old book pages. I found an old Twister game box that was the perfect size, and collaged the outside. I arranged all the art supplies neatly inside and called it a Creativity Stimulus Package. It was great fun to make (even though I demolished my art room in the process). Hopefully, my loved one will have fun using the kit to make collage cards that others will then have fun receiving. And if not, maybe he'll enjoy just the idea of having a creativity kit.
When my mother gave me my sewing kit, she showed me that she trusted in my ability to make stuff. Because she saw me as creative, I saw myself as creative, and I hope I'm able to inspire that same ethos with my creativity kits. I also fervently hope not to become known as the weird lady who gives out boxes of old crap, but it's a chance I guess I'm going to have to take.