On Creativity

Posted on December 27, 2016 by prairiemoonquilts in Creativity Challenges

As I had hoped, I learned several things during this year of Creativity Challenges. Some of them I already knew, but simply needed to be reminded of.

If you took on any of the challenges, I hope you got something out of them, too. I’ll share with you a few of my own observations. Please share in the comments if you have something to add.

  1. Good art supplies, and plenty of them, are a necessity. While you don’t need to spend a lot getting started, once you decide what parts you like and might want to develop further in yourself, getting quality supplies and having plenty of them on hand is a must. I remember one year in college, I spent $300 on books one semester — and $800 on art supplies! It makes a difference in what you can do. Just as in quilting, when you get ready to start a project, it’s handy to have lots of nice fabrics on hand to choose from, and all the right tools at your fingertips — it’s good to have proper art supplies, so you can get right to work when the muse hits you so you don’t lose that fantastic idea. (I subscribed to ArtSnacks, and I get a little box of high-quality art supplies every month, and I’m loving them — things I might never have purchased on my own or tried out — it’s very good for pushing you out of an art rut!)
  2. Having a good workspace is key. Having a space for your tools to be handy, a place to spread out and work, and not have to pick everything up every time, helps the creative muse a lot. I realize not everyone can have this luxury, but if you can, it’s great to have. The same with quilting — having a dedicated space for all our sewing things helps us get a lot more accomplished. I’ve worked on some serious organizing for the last two years, and I’m getting much closer to having things the way I need them for maximum productivity. 
  3. Inspiration is everywhere, if you just pay attention. Sometimes even if you don’t! I’ve been laughed at for running around taking pictures of floors, walls, and ceilings at places I’ve visited, while others are taking pictures of the actual scenery — haha! And inspiration isn’t just about noticing things that you can turn into art, it’s about clearing your head by visiting new and different places, or simply getting out in nature, and letting new inspiration come to you once you’ve quieted all the nagging voices in your head that order you around. Some of my best ideas have come to me while on horseback out in the middle of nowhere! 
  4. Don’t let yourself get so overwhelmed with work and other things that it makes you a grumpy person. Fit in the time for creativity — it’s good for your soul. When I fell off the creativity bandwagon midway through the year, and could not even squeeze in any time to get out the paints or markers, and those voices wouldn’t let me come up with anything new because I was so busy working on deadlines, I really missed it. I missed just getting to mindlessly doodle, or even purposefully create new things. The deadlines squelched me, stressed me out, and made me grouchy. All of this made me realize I need to get better at scheduling — something I intend to work on in the future.
  5. Let go of the parts you don’t like, and cultivate the parts you love. If you like working with ink, but you don’t especially like watercolors, then forget about the watercolors, and spend your time with the ink! I really like drawing letters, but I’m not comfortable drawing things that are supposed to look realistic. While I’m not going to completely give up on drawing things besides letters, because I want the practice, I do intend to get back to doing more lettering, like I used to years ago. I also found some of the challenges difficult (even tho I dreamed them up myself), but that’s what makes them a “challenge”, and my intent was to push myself past my comfort level, and try something I might not try otherwise. How do you know if you’ll like something if you never try it?
  6. Sometimes you have to step back from what you’re doing to get the larger picture. Even tho I got overwhelmed and didn’t post a challenge every week, I’m still planning to challenge myself in the next year to keep at it, and do something artistic every week; something that is not related to quilting, but something that will give me a break from it, and perhaps give me new ideas and inspiration that will help me with my quilting. By taking a break, stepping back and doing something a little different, new ideas will come to me that I might not have had if I had stayed so deeply immersed in just quilting.

So did you discover anything about yourself while doing some of the challenges? Do you like art? Do you not like it? Did you find a new creative outlet that you’d like to keep doing? Try something you’ve wanted to try and decided that it’s either not for you, or that it’s something you’d like to explore further? Or do you just wanna go back to strictly quilting all the time?

Did you make anything from a challenge that you think you’d like to translate into a quilting project? Or did you try a technique that you’d like to now try on fabric and incorporate into a sewing project?

I’d love to hear what you got out of the challenges, if anything, so please leave a comment if you’re so inclined.

I’m not continuing the challenges in a formal manner in 2017, but I will be periodically posting about some of the creative things other than quilting that I’m managing to fit in. I still want to keep working on some of the projects that I started this year and see what they turn into!

You can go back and repeat any of the challenges from last year by visiting this page to see what they are. I’ll also add links to new posts at the bottom if they pertain to this subject so they’ll all be in one handy place, if you need a creative prompt.

I hope we all have a highly creative 2017!

One response to “On Creativity”

  1. Wendy says:

    I need to get better at scheduling, especially my blog. I’m new to that, so it’s been a challenge to find time to create while keeping up with blog posts. So #4 and 5 are resonating with me right now. I need a blog support group. Haha! Outside of that, I enjoy so many different creative things that I get distracted and flit from one thing to the next. I’m learning to think about what I really want to do as opposed to doing it just because it looks fun (although there is merit in that as well, just not all the time).

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