Do you enjoy these creative practices?

Question #3 from my survey; this one is super interesting. When I put up the multiple choice answers, I focused on the things I was most interested in at the moment. I was curious to see the other ways people practice a creative spirit. (Maybe I should have phrased it that way!) In any case, the comments reflect many other activities and even, “ways of being” which are self defined as creative. I love it. Just the spirit I was hoping for.

As of 8am West Coast time, the survey has 37 responses – excellent! Thank-you so much for taking part. If you have not joined in yet, please add your voice to the conversation.

If you are curious, here is the full list of additional practices so far:

  • music
  • writing
  • fashion
  • food
  • entertaining
  • gardening
  • jewelry making
  • woodworking
  • crafting
  • building
  • beading
  • pottery
  • blogging
  • business
  • costumes
  • signs
  • painting
  • parenting
  • relationships
  • health & well being
  • up-cycling
  • problem solving
  • poetry
  • scrap booking
  • flower arrangements
  • crochet

Amazing honesty in the responses, thank-you so much. I am honoured to be connected to so many creative people. Rightly so, many times it has been noted that “creativity is a way of life”. For many of us, it can’t be separated from our daily life. It is present in everything we do. I think that is pretty evident by this list.

Speaking of creative projects, enjoy these photos from a recently completed silk scarf I knitted. The pattern and yarn came from LoopsClub in Tulsa. I’m a member who receives a kit each month. Because there is always another project on it’s way, I stay focused on getting projects finished. For me this is a good incentive. Otherwise projects sit on needles for years, waiting for me to complete them.

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How important is creativity in your life?

Wow! 14 people have completed my survey – What does creativity mean to you? That is awesome, thank-you. If you have not taken the opportunity yet, please add your voice to the conversation! I am learning so much about what the creative experience feels like on a personal level.

When I was thinking of the questions for the survey, it was tricky to generate ideas which would prompt meaningful answers. Everyone is so different and lived experiences would likely run a full spectrum of possible responses. Yet, there seems to be some patterns developing which I had not thought of in my original assumptions. Interesting stuff. When my survey is complete, I’ll post the aggregate graphs so everyone can see the clusters.

The second question of the survey relates to how important creativity is. I think that even if there are differing opinions about what creativity means or what kinds of activities should be deemed creative, everyone seems to have a sense of it’s importance. In my answer choice for “important” I included the bit about “balance”. For me, the really creative things I want to do, must be balanced against a whole bunch of stuff I have to do. For example, cooking a new recipe at dinner is somewhat creative, but all the old favourites and the dishes are not so creative. Not to mention all the grocery shopping and recipe research which had to be done ahead of making dinner.

Maybe creativity will have greater importance in everyday situations if we place more value on it? Shelley Berc wrote a good piece entitled, “Creativity in everyday life“, on her blog called, “The Creativity Workshop”. I’d never given much thought to adding creativity into my everyday tasks, simply through perspective. It is worth a try.

I’ve always thought it was important to have a space in order to “be” creative. This was a priority for me, long before computers came on the scene. So I still keep a space, is only a desk for now. Maybe one day it will be a whole room again. But for now, even my desk is hard to claim as my own. I often end up on the couch or in my bedroom. Good thing I need very few supplies for writing!

Do you think of yourself as a creative person?

I’m curious. When someone says they self-identify as being creative, what do they mean? I think of myself as a creative person, I would use that label, or agree with it if someone asked me. I create all kinds of things and have creative thoughts. But, I was speaking with someone who I think is really creative and she hesitated to characterize herself in that way. She clarified that she considered herself “crafty”, but not creative. She thought the term “creative” applies mainly to artists.

That got me wondering, is the word creative only applicable to someone who has a certain set of skills? Do you have to be paid or commissioned for your efforts? Are some pursuits not serious or special enough to be considered creative? Is knitting less creative than painting?

I was reading a comment online from a woman in Scandinavia who said that you had to earn the right to call yourself creative. Since she had completed her schooling, (in photography), she was now “allowed” to use the term creative to describe herself, but she only did that in her professional work. Do people commonly have such limiting beliefs about the concept of creativity?

There have been many articles written which detail lists of common characteristics among creative people. While these are interesting reads, these traits are not unique to creative people alone. In fact, many smart people have these abilities. So maybe we are all creative, if we have attained a certain level of success? But there were so many highly creative artists who didn’t achieve any notoriety until after they died.

If we think back to childhood, everyone was creative. Children are creative beings. As a parent, I had the wonderful opportunity to relive that as I watched, played and created with my kids. And now I can see what happens to all that innate creativity. It gets schooled out. My children want to get rid of the lego, put away all those art supplies, cast off all those projects which once filled them with hours of joy.

Coloring

I am not worried, they will come back to it, as I did. Hopefully it doesn’t take them as long as it took me.

This is the first, in a series of 10 questions about creativity. If you are interested in my survey, please follow this link. I would love to hear your thoughts, here or there.

Art Journal Therapy

That is what my husband calls it. I have a different view of all 3 words – art – journal – therapy. I don’t see how spreading materials all over the tables, floor and shelves, grabbing this and that, coloring, painting, this is not how a real artist works? Certainly, I don’t need so much stuff to simply write in a journal. And I guess everything is a form of therapy these days.

So my desk starts to look like this:

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(Yes that is a gin and tonic in there).

That might seem like chaos. To those who have not wandered into the world of art supplies. It is like a cult. So many different pots and containers, all serving different purposes, giving different effects. All one can do is start. Laying down some of this and a little of that. Notice the effect and move on. Watch others. Covet more art supplies.

Or dig into my bins. Notice the plural. I discovered gouache paints I used about 24 years ago. It is amazing to me they survived all the moves, all the purging of excess possessions over the years. There they were, dried to hard little tubes.

Then I realized it has been a long time since I’ve applied myself to creating any kind of art. I use that term loosely. But, the only reason I ever owned gouache paint was for an assignment at school. I even own a palette. And it was used!

After getting over the amazement of how fast time has flown by and how little hands on, creative stuff I have produced in recent memory, I got down to it. And I have enjoyed myself over the past few nights.

Of course I can’t be alone. When my daughter realized there was going to be paint, she had to get in on the action. At first I didn’t like how much she talked. Kind of a babbling banter, asking me to look at her stuff every few minutes. And we have to play modern pop music, which can seriously grate on my nerves sometimes. But we have found a rhythm. I’m more relaxed and she is more comfortable to just be. (She even copied one of my pages tonight!)

So here are a few of my pages of fun!

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Word of 2015 BRAVE

It is just before 6pm on December 31st and I’ve about finished my goals for next year. My little family of 4 is nicely tucked away in a small town in the Southern Baja. I have purposely kept our reservations, commitments and “have-to’s” down to almost nothing. In fact, other than getting back down to SJD for the flight home, we got nothin’ on our list. That has cleared out the mental space I needed to finish my goals. I started back home, but “my life” did not allow me the mental space I needed.

For the past 3 years, I have been searching for a way to bring the peace and calm I feel on this vacation, back home with me. There is a sense of stillness and focus, which seems to slip through my fingers like sand as I get back in the car for the journey home. But this year, today, I may have a list of actions which will bring me back, centre my soul to this time and this place.

Here is a brief summary of my main ideas for the year. These will pop up in many forms, my goals are quite specific. I think it helps to understand the intent, the feelings associated with the goals. Otherwise they are words on paper. They can easily be overlooked, forgotten and trivialized.

*Margin. I read about this idea sometime in 2014. The idea is to create margin or space in your day. Room to breathe. Time to think. Creativity needs to bubble up.
*Mindfulness. Be where you are. I have rationalized this notion out of my life entirely, blaming my never ending “to-do” list. I’m looking at this as the opposite of multi-tasking. I’m going to plan enough time to do one thing at a time.
*Gratitude. Only by focusing on gratitude do I increase my feelings of happiness. Full stop. The minute I spiral into bad news, my mood goes down accordingly. If current events are consisting largely of bad news, then I am going to be like a stork (my husband corrected me this morning, an ostrich) with my head in the sand.
*Practice. When I threw out the other “P” word, (perfection) I didn’t replace it with anything. This year I will practice all the time. Everything I want in my life is attainable, if I give myself the opportunity to practice. This I am eagerly looking forward to.
*Creativity. When I look back at some of the happiest moments of my life, they involved a healthy measure of creative endeavor. Somewhere along the way, I have lost that part of myself. I realized that I miss her dearly. As it turns out, I’m going to need her in 2015. Much of the heavy lifting on my list of goals will require creative work. Some of it will be “artsy” and some of it will be more “problem solving”. The latter has remained in my life all along, but the former will unleash all kinds of goodness.

Now it is time to play away the last hours of 2014.

Happy New Year or Feliz Año Nuevo!

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Creative soul

After a very hectic couple of months, this weekend was my time to settle back into my groove. That means turning my focus to what matters most. Seems logical enough, and probably easily done for most. But I really have to practice turning off the world for a bit.

Started on Friday. We wanted to surprise the kids with the family pet, we had discussed, but not confirmed we would get. So we hoped over to the local animal shelter and had our new, old cat, Lynch unleashed into our life by surprise to our children. My daughter was so over joyed, she almost cried. That reaction was unexpected. Clearly she had listened when we had firmly told her, no promises.

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Saturday I started my knit along. Yarn, needles and pattern in hand, the first post also indicated I needed to create a space for my knitting. Well, that meant I needed to transform the chair in the corner into something a little more special. For that, I needed to do a little second-hand shopping. And this day turned out wonderfully.

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Sunday was about Annie Sloan paint. My newly found, old treasures needed some chalk paint love. So in between coats drying, I knitted rounds in my temporary digs. I’ll have to carve out time over the course of the week to get the wax on. Then there is the beret, which is the reason all of this started. Only half done the ribbing.

Annie Sloan projects_web

So little time, so many creative things to do.

Inspired by paint

As Carrie Thachuk said today, “Welcome to your new obsession.” I didn’t think that could be true….at 10am this morning. Now that I have finished the course, walked around my house a bit and reflected on what I learned today, yes welcome to my obsession might be a fair statement.

To be honest, my history with paint is not great. As I mentioned in the round table of introductions this morning, I have painted many things – different pieces of furniture, interior wood decor, fences, houses, etc. All of it, under a punishment – finish the project before you can go out with your friends. Of course, going out with my friends was what got me in trouble in the first place. Mainly breaking curfew, so nothing too serious, (as far as I can remember). So I would get my friends to help me work off the punishments, a little bit like Huck Finn. And the cycle would start again. My parents had an in-house painter at their disposal. It was all just a matter of time.

Fast forward to present day where I found myself sitting in a painting class. (If my teenage self knew, she would be aghast!) The topic today was a beginner’s guide to Annie Sloan chalk paint. In the 5 hour session, we covered everything you need to know in order to feel a good level of confidence to start attacking those old wood pieces in need of a lift. Or in my case, pieces that resemble wood, (laminate) and need to look amazing in my newly renovated bedroom and I don’t have the cash to buy anything other than paint!

Paint card_web Paint Samples_web Paint Supplies_web

The ladies at The Passionate Home in Langley were wonderful, encouraging and provided a healthy dose of inspiration. They are running a fantastic business over there. (And I’ll be seeing them again tomorrow, because instead of buying a big can of “old white” I grabbed “old plum”). Which is probably a good thing, because I might have started painting straight away. My husband is away until next Friday…I could get a lot covered by then!