Keeping the Creative Spirit Alive

January 19, 2008

It’s not by accident I imply that my Creative Spirit has a life of it’s own. Keeping my creativity nourished while I tend to the non-creative parts of my life is a daily challenge. Each month I spend about a week’s worth of seemingly endless days on business administration, advertising, writing class outlines, editing photos, website management… the list can go on but I’ll spare you. This was one of those weeks that I stared longingly at my torch over and over, while ideas raced through my mind, begging to be created. All were in danger of being squashed by a tall brick wall of deadlines.

When the inspiration is there, the ideas are formed, the intent is overflowing, but making art isn’t top priority or the time just isn’t there… how does one prevent the Creative Spirit from dying a slow and painful death? Mine stays most healthy when I carry it throughout all parts of my life. Applying my creativity to being a mother to my two boys is much more natural than applying it to implementing marketing strategies or keeping my business books in order. The most creative part of book keeping for me is my handmade checkbook cover and the doodles in the margins of my register book, undeniable evidence of the number of times I drift off while crunching numbers. My accountant’s going to love that!

Living life in an artful manner is the key to keeping my inspirations alive long enough to make them a reality. This can mean different things to different people. It all depends on what moves you. When I’m shuttling kids around and running errands I always have my iPod, loaded with music that gets the boys and I singing and groovin. As a photographer, in a former life, I learned to always pay attention to the natural light and my surroundings for the perfect image. I’m always on the lookout for imagery to apply to my next torch session. I try to fill my life, my wardrobe, and my jewelry box with artful objects and colors that inspire me. An added positive is that I get to support other artists through my purchases. Lastly, I’m amazingly lucky to have so many friends in my life who work as glass artists, metalsmiths, graphic designers, textile artists, painters, musicians, and even writers. Chatting on the phone or online about your art, attending classes and conferences, or getting together for impromptu collaboration play dates can literally spark bonfires of creativity and friendship among artists.

We all have time that we need to step away from the studio and tend to the everyday necessities of life and business. If during these times we fail to provide them with nourishment, they can mature and then fade away to nothing. Saturate your life with things that inspire your Creative Spirit and it will not only keep it alive, it will feed it, and help it grow into amazing things.

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Inspiring Your Creative Spirit

January 8, 2008

6378creeksm.jpgDuring the holiday season we find ourselves spending most of our time following schedules and rushing to meet deadlines. This rings especially true for artists and small business owners. I often find that my most brilliant ideas come to me when I can’t possibly spend even a moment making them a reality. Talk about creative frustration! We try to cram so much into one month of joyful chaos, that when it’s over, we’re spent and a little lost.

Each Winter, most of us need to restore our artistic senses to some degree. This quiet time of year is perfect to start anew and nurture your creative spirit. When the time comes to get back to work, there are a few scenarios that as artists, we know all too well. The ideas may pour out faster than one can actually create and at other times, a little prodding to rattle the imagination is necessary. In the worst case, nothing short of committing to guerrilla warfare will do.

6389frozenleafsm.jpgHere are a few inspiration seeking tricks that may come in handy when fighting off the winter chill. I always carry a small notebook with a fat rubber band around it so I can write down my ideas and refer back to them later. Along with my doodles and lists, I stick in swatches, sticky notes, clippings, leaves, and anything else that grabs my attention. I also use my camera phone as a “notebook”. The other night I saw tissue boxes with great color combinations in the grocery store. Yes, tissue boxes! I snapped a couple pics to peek at before my next torch session.

6459berriessm.jpgWalks in the frozen woods, bundled in boots and down, armed with my camera, always seem to help. I challenge myself to find color in the sleeping landscape. This should explain my affinity for snow covered berry bushes. Taking a class to learn a new technique is a tried and true tactic. Trying out a new tool or glass, a subtle change in your studio, a new scent, or different music while you work can help jump start new ideas too. Recently I’ve also discovered the value of the “inspirational blog collective”. It’s like having an artistic work out partner to get you moving and creating. Check out Modern Savages and Creative Every Day 2008.

6396cattailssm.jpgSometimes completely walking away from my normal discipline is what becomes necessary. *refer back to the camera in the woods scenario* I’ve even been known to pull out my book binding materials when I’m really stumped. Meticulously cutting and folding paper is something I can “zen out” on. That leads me to Yoga. Yoga is my quick fix for everything. Especially an achy back. When I honestly stop thinking about it and just relax, is when the amazing stuff really happens. The best idea I’ve had in a long time came to me the other day while baking cookies and dancing around the kitchen to Maroon 5 with my 2 & 5 year old sons. We LOVE dancing in the kitchen! It’s just a matter of time before we get caught doing it.

Go forth artists! Take a walk. Take a class. Buy some glass. Do a dance. Take acoustic guitar lessons. Shake those winter blues and find the inspiration your creative spirit craves! Have an amazing, creative, and productive New Year!!!