Thoughts from the Studio.
Keep it Creative- Part 2. Fuel your Mojo.
Hey Creatives! Welcome back. Two weeks ago I talked about your creative spark and nature walks to get you thinking.
Today is more about active exploration of what you can do to fill your creative mojo cup and learn what the pros do!
1. Be a SPONGE! This post is heavy photo based, full of images that appear to be random and chaotic. Why? To show you a snippet of my creative process and how easily a nice, neat, white table becomes piles of color, action, confusing mess, juicy, fun, promising and stimulating- Full of possibilities! How does that happen and why is it important to creativity? Because a critical part of the process is TO BE A SPONGE! No judging or ruling out yet...Just collecting and soaking up what grabs your attention. (No need to curate now, that comes later)
Be the magpie who is attracted to all things shiny and just can't help herself from bringing it back to the nest!
a. POSTCARDS, MAGAZINE PAGES! Collect postcards from pretty much anywhere that intrigues, they're cheap & tangible. Collect color tabs from paint stores or design shops. Rip out pages of catalogues, magazines (sneeze while doing it at the dentist's office if you are that bold!) Quilt designs are noticeable everywhere we look and great references to file.
b. COLLECT BOOKS! Quilt books, graphic books, home decor. Visit the museum and if you love the exhibit, get the book. Go to library sales- full of great books for cheap! Flea markets.....etc....No matter how sophisticated our technology gets, the way we leaf through a book and truly ingest whats on a printed page is a rich and wonderful experience. I reference my books all the time for inspiration. Any good idea is worth exploring again. Derivatives are always an intriguing path to go down and in the quilt world, so much new work is inspired by tradition.
c. SOAK UP NATURE. Study pattern and repeats in our natural world. Quilts are just geometric simplifications of so much complexity in the designs from Mother Nature. Color is also wonderful when your palette is chosen from nature. It always, always works!
2 Make STYLE FILES are crucial to organizing your wonder/wanderings! To get to the point of having enough stuff to spill out on your dining room table, your studio desk or your college kids now tidy, unused bed, you need STYLE FILES! I keep them in light plastic snap folders marked: MODERN QUILTS, NATURE GEOMETRY, COLOR EXPLOSION, MONOCHROMATIC, ETHNIC/IMPROV DESIGN, TRADITIONAL/AMISH QUILTS, MUSEUM, QUILTCON, etc... Name them whatever your interests are. If this is your first time creating style files, keep it manageable by choosing your top 7 or so categories. Don't overwhelm yourself but do organize your ideas. I have many obsessions (I pretty much appreciate ALL colors and ALL styles when designed and made well- plus I have so much fabric design files in addition to quilt design.... so my library is over the top, but it's my full time job, so it works for me and I do love it. ) One of my finest textile design teachers from FIT told us on the first day: "You are as good as your best reference" Just make sure you do what works FOR YOU!
There are so many other sources of creating style files too: Pinterest, iPhoto, Instagram and various other applications suitable for screen viewing. Today we focused on the tactile inspiration. I still prefer them even though I am a huge fan of the online availability of endless inspiration. But for now, we have limits and boundaries....That is also part of the creative process. Knowing when to reel it in, put your head down and get to work.
Harnessing your own creative potential gives you a path to navigate and builds on your already existing knowledge. All of us need to hear it again and again with fresh ears.
1. Be a sponge. Keep your eyes open and scour the world for the good stuff.
2. Organize your Style Files. Start one that's been hiding in the little nooky part of your mind.
xo- Until next post.
Thoughts from the Studio.
Keep it Creative- Part I. Fuel your Mojo.
1. Born Creative
You came into this world with a creative spark. Believe it. Scribble it on a sticky note for the fridge and your car dash. "I was born creative". Say it out loud—Again and again and again. Train your children, get a parrot.
Hope, wonder, curiosity, experimentation, silliness, action and reaction. Children embody creativity with the least of efforts and it's a main ingredient for growth. We marvel at the beauty and freedom of a child's way of being. Creativity nourishes us, drives us, transcends us. It is vital to our well being as individuals and our culture as a whole. We all get blocks too. Sometimes for hours, days or even years...So lets tackle it. We have such potential...are you open?
Beginning in elementary school, we begin to lose touch with that space to play, discover, fall down and get up with humor, forgiveness or ease. As we age, pressure and duties increase and we lose touch with our playfulness, our creativity. Later, we beat ourselves up, declare ourselves lazy, overworked, bored or bitchy. Or worse: someone else does (BIG YUCK!). Doubt is a disease that attacks from inside and out. As we experience life's highs and lows, if we do a little self reflection, reassess what we need or what makes us tick, we often find ourselves yearning to be in touch with that creative spark again...because is just feels right to remember and honor something we were given at birth. This is where your craft comes in. Are you feeling connected to your work? How is it really going? Are you ready to get out of summer mode and into a fall rhythm?
Part 1 of a 5 part blog mini series begins with the belief that we all are Born Creative and it is my goal to convince you to embrace this idea. That itself can be a hurdle. But it starts there. Come on, just try it on. I want you to see the beauty and light and fun in you. Your process of making and working with pattern and color whether it's improv or a set pattern takes creativity. I encourage you to give yourself a lot of love, quiet your mind and to take moments in your life to be still, allow space and permission to just settle: Content, Sad, Frustrated, Peaceful, Ashamed, Proud, etc...Just see it and own it. It's interesting to face it and see it as an emotion that comes and goes, not a permanent state. Screw fear—it's not as big of a deal as we think it may be. Turn on some of your favorite music. Give yourself just 15 minutes. It starts from within, not from without.
2. Go Outside
When I'm feeling zapped and my creative MOJO meter has sunk, my immediate coping method is to just GO OUTSIDE. It's how I stay energize, in shape and in a routine. Of course, I DON'T WANT TO always do it because I am feeling overwhelmed, irritated, overworked and "I don't have time!" This is when I most need it. We fill up our cup in these ways. It's all part of remembering we need to nourish ourselves and that creative spark. Being in nature helps to decompress from the stress of raising a family, running a household, meeting work deadlines, loved ones expectations and our own inner demand, blah blah blah blah blah.....Open up to some peace where we have room to let things bubble up. I declare it as a "NO BRAINER" and for most people, a profound yet magically easy cleansing. Get your blood pumping, take the happy dog, breathe deeply and start swinging those arms back and forth. The rhythm is gonna get you! (XO to Gloria Estafan- c. 1987). I don't need to reference science or in depth studies on why it works, it just does. Remember to leave your device either at home or in your pocket on silent.
Finally I want to share with you the wisdom of a creative collective. At Quilt Con 2016, I was a guest speaker on a panel of designers from our industry talking about how to keep the MOJO alive. We all had different stories and thoughts to share, taking questions from the audience on what to do when you hit a road block. The messages shared were similar, even when our paths meandered in different directions. We all get stuck, we all have fear and we all have to work through it, show up, have a plan, deviate from that plan, create bad stuff to get to the good stuff. We also have learned to trust the process, to forge ahead and slosh through the muck to get that groove feeling that is so worth fighting for. It's a practice. It's a commitment. It's the best high I know.
To wrap it up today let's keep it simple, real simple. Embrace two things this week:
1. I WAS BORN CREATIVE
2. GO OUTSIDE
We will delve a little deeper next week, until then, be good to yourself.
Creatively yours, xo
PS: Sale this weekend in the shop. 20% off all items until September 6th. Use code: luckyme
All sales come with this free pin up below- For your workspace: Pattern free to make your own in previous post.
Carrie Bloomston- The Little Spark.
Austin Kleon - Steal Like an Artist.
Sherri Lynn Wood- Improv Handbook for Quilters.
Amy Butler- Creative workshops.
Stories from the Studio
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