Happy August everyone – and on that note, summer has, for many of us, reached the half-way point. It’s a holiday today and things are moving a little slower as the thermometer is steadily creeping up foreshadowing another hot and humid day. The thunderstorms promised last night did not materialized but somehow Mother Nature cooled us off enough to ensure a better night of sleep.
What does all this have to do with creativity – not much! On to the topic at hand: for several weeks now I have been pondering a post about creativity and the role it plays in my life. I know it is not good to live in the past but in my defense, the past shapes us all. 19 years ago this weekend I picked up Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way” and began to journal. I faithfully wrote my morning pages for three years and working through the book really aided me in recognizing and finding a creative focus. Little did I know how much it would help me when less than three weeks later I began my London City & Guilds courses in Art, Design and Embroidery.
Fast forward to this summer. It is the first summer I am not traveling across the continent. I am actually home for a change. And I have started to journal again. These morning pages really help in setting the tone for the day, a week or even a month. They have greatly aided me in becoming more focused again. With that I have been pondering the theme of creativity. What does it mean to me? Do I have to “make something” just to be creative? Does a tangible “something” outweigh my intangible idea, a sentence that I craft but not openly share, a meal I prepare with a new spice combination, or just simply capture the morning dew on weeds.
I have received emails and inquiries whether I am moving away from creating textile art, and whether I am going to take up photography as a main art form. To be honest, I am in a state of flux. Photography has certainly been a major part of my creative outlet, especially since I successfully completed a diploma in photography three years ago. However, as with so many creative skills, one never stops to learn and as I shared in a post in July, photography has been my second biggest learning curve this summer.
The biggest learning curve last month was in completing and proof reading the Kantha book. Assembling the necessary documents and making sure I had some new material to add to a rather limited topic. Has it squelched the writing bug? On the contrary… While I am not interested in embarking on researching material for another hands-on how-to book I am returning to one of my earlier paths of exploring creativity and its many manifestations. But for this week I am pouring all my energy into packing…
Many of you know that when I teach workshops I fully embrace the most challenging form, the guided studio format. I love bringing together like-minded people, providing a safe environment where they can experiment, explore, ponder questions, discuss and jump off in new directions without pressure or set expectations. From this concept Art Quilt Campus grew and has become an event I look forward to each summer. Imagine a group of textile artists gathering, bringing with them countless ideas, some just mere sparks, others a few notes or simple sketches on loose paper… For one week everyone has complete freedom to follow their inspiration, discuss, collaborate, exchange ideas, experiment and push ideas and imagination to new heights! That is the ultimate in creative endeavors! I am privileged to know these artists, for them to trust me in choosing a venue, organize the classrooms and then wave the imaginary start flag… All this will be in full swing next Monday at this time. Do stay in touch and check back here often as I will again post our daily progress.
Meanwhile, in case you are feeling the pangs of regret for putting Art Quilt Campus off for another year, I want to share a few interesting links for your reading pleasure.
I don’t share internet sources too often, but these are too good to ignore:
- This article is all about the neurological benefits of creativity and an active art practice. “Your Brain on Art” was shared last week by the Painter’s Keys. A free newsletter for artists first distributed by the late Robert Genn.
- Some months ago I wrote about a book that caught my attention. I ordered it thinking it would provide me with photographic information. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the book is all about injecting some fresh ideas into one’s creative process. “The Creative Fight” by Chris Orwig is a fabulous read with great exercises to pull us out of a rut. I signed up for his newsletter (which is not going to fill up your inbox with more useless junk mail!) I have had two notices since December 2015… and both have been very valuable. Each time they contained a free item that I am referring to all the time. In early July the short email contained a thank you for signing up for Chris’ newsletter and as such he provided a link to download the audio version to his book “The Creative Fight”. He had created this audio version for a blind friend. He believes in sharing, and once a book is released in print it no longer belongs to the author (his attitude is amazing!). In that spirit he is giving this audio book away for free for a limited time if you sign up for his newsletter. Here is the link. I was very excited that this offer is still available as of this morning. Don’t wait too long! How often do we get something for free that really is of value!
- Last but not least, Creative Drought is something we hear about – and we certainly experience from time to time. I call it my time to “fill the well”, a term I picked up from “The Artist’s Way”. A blog I follow just covered the topic yesterday. Check it out here.
This certainly has turned out to be a long post today. Well, get me talking about creativity and its benefits and I have a hard time keeping quiet. Hope you enjoyed today’s post filled with links and great reading. I am off to put more energy into pulling together supplies and equipment for Art Quilt Campus. Time flies and I will be trading my quiet, introspective days for times of creative exchanges in just a few days!