I’m still playing “catch-up” with my 12-Secrets posts. Chapter Two presents the reader with three challenges. The first is to spend 15 minutes a day in quiet time, simply to listen to your thoughts. The second is to build a creative sanctuary, even if it’s just a collection of inspiring objects in a portable box. The third challenge is a Creative Style Inventory.
I have not done the first challenge on a regular basis. I could claim that I’ve been to busy, but I believe that I could find 15 minutes to do something that was important to me. The reality is that it never occurred to me to do this again, after I read the challenge. I just turned the page and went about my business. I confess that there was a little bit of resistance on my part, as I read the activity, especially as it is a daily, repetitive, activity. I will try it when I’m finished with this post to see how it feels.
I’ve also made a decision not to do the second challenge for now. John and I are looking at apartments, getting ready to move soon. That seems like a bad time to be creating a new space in my home. Yes, I could just create a box of inspiring objects – but I have too many inspiring objects for that! I have rubber stamps, fabric swatches, paints, ephemera; I’m ready to get into a new dwelling and get things organized! We are hoping to find someplace big enough for me to have my own art room.
So that leaves the Creative Style Inventory. I thought I’d share my answers with you as I work through them.
- When did your creative awakening or reawakening occur? About four or five years ago, I made a new, highly creative, friend and she encouraged me to start making jewelry as I had a hard time finding jewelry that fit. That started my creative reawakening, even though I no longer make jewelry (in fact, I did not make much jewelry, although I sure bought a lot of supplies!). From there, I went on to try my hand at more sculptural works, and began playing with fabric. I eventually hosted a group of artists who were exploring color journals in a round-robin format. I remember mailing off a book the morning that my father died; that was three years ago in February. Since then, I’ve gone on to be the Featured Artist at the Redlands Art Association (October, 2008), with a show of mixed-media pieces.
- What talents do you have, naturally? I’ve been told that I’m good at composition and color. I’ve also been told that I have a way with words.
- Which elements (fire, water, wood, air) draw you toward them? Fire and water. I’m fascinated with small (candle sized) flames; I love the way they flicker and move about. Water is very calming and soothing to me.
- Where and when do you create? Where and when do you wish to create? I tend to create at the dining room table, usually in the evenings or late at night. I’m trying to work with my creativity, coaxing it out at other hours. I wish I had a room of my own in which to create, and I wish that I was more of a morning person. I wish I created throughout the day, every day. Creating everyday is a goal of mine. I don’t expect to create a masterpiece each day, but I do believe in the value of showing up to my tools, of honing my skills.
- What activates your creative energy and what drains it? My creative energy is often activated by the promise of a new technique or a new product – I love working with the new. Sometimes I try new things and they don’t take me anywhere, but often times, I find something to add to my creative arsenal. My creative energy is also activated by pain – mild to moderate pain. The ability to work through pain gets me through a lot of bad days. However, pain – anything stronger than moderate pain – also drains my creative energy. It’s just very difficult for me to stay focused and creative when I’m hurting. Another thing that will drain my creative energy is fear. Fear my art won’t be good enough, or compare favorably to someone else’s, but also fear of touching something emotional within myself through my art. Fear is a big energy drainer for me.
- Do you use creative rituals? Which ones? If not, invent some. I really don’t use any creative rituals. So many people do, that I may reread this segment of the chapter and consider creating some.
- Does nature influence your creativity? How? I’m not sure if it does, or how it does. I know that I sometimes feel more clear-headed and ready to tackle a project after a walk, but I’m not sure if that’s about nature or about the exercise. As I much as I love the country (I was raised out in the middle of nowhere), I’m a city girl now and I love it just as much. There are certainly powerful influences and inspiration in the architecture, dressed windows and city smells.
- What has been your greatest creative hurdle so far? As I previously mentioned, it is fear: both the fear of being judged – and found lacking – and the fear of my own emotional response to the creative experience. I have found that when I can let go and enjoy the process, the product is better – and I’m less concerned with the outcome.
- What time of day are you most receptive to inspiration? Inspiration most often hits me when I’m actually working – or playing – with my materials. That is why I really want to develop the habit of “creative every day”. When I’m doing other things, ideas don’t just come to me very often, When I’m actually playing with my supplies, working with the materials, trying new things, inspiration hits. It doesn’t seem to matter when that is. However, as I mentioned before, I’m much more likely to be playing with my art supplies in the evening or at night.