Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Take it Outside - Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity Key # 11

Get outside and take a walk through your environment. It doesn't matter if it's a city street, country lane, or your own back yard, there is creative energy everywhere. Take lots of photos, large vistas and small details. Photograph everything, no matter your personal interest at the time. Then, examine your images, each and everyone has something to teach you and some will even inspire you. Try cutting out a small square, oval, or circle in the middle of a sheet of paper to use as a viewing window. Move this around your photo and you'll be amazed at the many wonderful scenes that exist within one image.
Lets's look at a few sample photos for suggestions. This architectural image is really wonderful. It gives me an idea for a quilt pattern from both a horizontal and vertical perspective. I really like the hardscape with straight lines that are broken by soft, draping lines. 

I like the mystery of this curving path that doesn't reveal it's destination.

Don't you just want to crop this photo to include the bicycle and then add your own original elements. What would you put in the basket? Maybe teddy bears, yellow daisies, rolls of fabric, or some fresh picked vegetables and fruit. And I'd make my bike candy-apple red with a black and white polka dot seat.

The point of Key #11 is to see with eyes of appreciation all the wonderful elements in your environment that lend themselves to creating an inspiring image in your mind. And remember to write a short introduction to your thoughts, a short story to describe you feelings toward what you like and what project you'd like to make with this. Describe the mood, the morning or evening light and how you want to capture it. Put all this in your Inspiration Workbook. In that way, you'll never lose the spark of excitement your images produce, even if years go by before you use them.

Storytelling - Key #8

Monday, March 18, 2019

Stay Curious - Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity Key # 10

“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.” ~ Steve Jobs

When visiting with other 'creative' people, one common trait always shines through - CURIOSITY.

Curiosity has also been a major factor of my personality and creative journey. So how does one determine if they have the type of curiosity that leads to imaginativeness? Let me share with you some of the things I've discovered.

Curious Creatives - have a million questions. In fact, they drive others nuts with all the questions they can ask about any topic, anywhere, at anytime. They can't help it - so be supportive and just bear with them.

Curious Creatives - fluctuate between constant communication (talk, talk, talk) and periods of hermit like behavior. In there hermit phase, it's not that they don't want to have anything to do with you anymore, it's just a way to process all the information their curious nature has accumulated.

Curious Creatives - have a perpetually energized mind. Their curiosity and design intuition never takes a break. (That is probably why they nap a lot).

Curious Creatives - love the quirkiness that makes them a little weird and different, not because they're arrogant or self-centered, but because they know that somehow this oddity is their path to originality. They treasure and guard it even if it makes others misunderstand them.

Curious Creatives - live in a dual reality. One is the 'genius stage' which is marked by frenzied activity. The other is the 'slug stage' that is marked by zero inspiration. Thank goodness for the 'slug stage'. Without it a Curious Creative would experience burnout quickly and never create again.

Curious Creatives - are often perceived as procrastinators, an irritating factor to those who live and work with them. I'm not sure why this is so, but I know it's true in my case. Maybe it's because I do some of my best work when under the pressure of a deadline; but I'd rather blame it on my lazy creative muse.

Curious Creatives - are often labeled as people who can't focus or have a one-track mind. But the real truth is that when they're in the creative sphere, they're simply immersed, buried, or spellbound.

And here is a small tip to keep you on the good side of any Curious Creatives you might know. Don't rudely or abruptly drag them out of the immersed state unless you have an emergency. Why? Because while in the creative sphere, multi-tasking is simply impossible. If you interrupt them, you've destroyed their world of imagination and design. And believe me, it takes a lot of effort for a Curious Creative to rebuild that world.

So, are you a Curious Creative? Do You know a Curious Creative? Drop a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Create With the Heart, Build with the Mind

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Armchair Traveling for Inspiration - Destination #2 - Toy Story Land - Disney - Florida, USA

What is armchair traveling and why is it beneficial for 'Creatives'?

What - Armchair traveling is exactly what it sounds like. It's experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and thrills of traveling while remaining in your comfortable spot at home. Due to age, health, circumstance, or financial considerations, not all of us are privileged to travel as much as we'd like. However, that doesn't mean we can't rack up miles while reclining in our favorite chair with a cup of coffee and hot cinnamon roll while we browse a book, travel magazine, website, travel channel, etc. 

Why - Creatives need constant inspiration, new ideas, and breaking away from the ordinary to capture something illusive that takes root and grows in their imagination, eventually emerging as a design, craft, or work-of-art that is uniquely their own.

Destination #1 - Toy Story Land - Florida, USA
Photo Courtesy of Little Feet Big Adventures

This time of the year many of us are planning our summer vacations. The final choice doesn't really matter, but what does matter is that you're prepared to take advantage of every inspiring aspect of this choice. The first priority should be your family's enjoyment and relaxation. But that doesn't mean that you can't fill your Inspiration Notebook with fabulous ideas for future creative projects. 

If you'll be armchair traveling this summer, what could a 'Creative' find in this one scene from Tory Story Land at Disney in Florida?

Look at how this color plan creates excitement and screams FUN. A very effective color palette for creating that anticipation in children. But children aren't the only ones who are moved by color and react emotionally to particular color sets. Color combinations can move adults to experience a playful, romantic, or serious mood. Test different color ranges on yourself and record your experience in your inspiration notebook. Sparking emotion and mood with color are tools designers use when creating original art and illustrations. 

Other aspects from this scene that are useful are the contrasting shapes: straight lines, waves, angles, and circles. These bold shapes in all their splendid color creates a fantasy of imagined excitement. When designing your next collage, quilt, painting, fiber art, sculpture, etc., you could draw from these elements if you preserved them in your inspiration notebook. 

I don't know about you, but I'm really getting into this Armchair Traveling for Inspiration. Until our next jaunt together, keep your minds and hearts open for inspiration wherever you may find it.

Click here to experience more of this travel destination.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Watch Over My Shoulder - Seven Moons Fabric Art Series - Completion Phase #4

There is not much in the world of design that is more exciting than the completion of an original work. This is especially true for me since I don't preplan these projects. In this Seven Moon series of articles, I wanted to show that creating an original design is as simple as beginning and then, not giving up on your inspiration until you reach the finish point. For me, it doesn't matter where I end up, it's the process I love. Allowing myself to feel my way through the different stages and working free from constraints until something emerges, almost on its own will.

This piece measures 16" x 21" and is a technique using cotton fabrics and a fusible web. One of the practical benefits to creating abstract art is the opportunity to play with different color palettes. It's a great way to discover what color combinations are your constant favorites and then bravely mixing them up to form equally beautiful sets. It supplies the experience we need to build confidence with color, composition, shape, and balance.

If you've enjoyed this series and would like to see more of these in the future, please drop me a comment below. If you haven't yet viewed Phase 1-3, you can find those here.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Reward System for the Stay-At-Home Creative - Unlock Your Creative Ingenuity Key # 9

WHY do we Creatives, especially those of us who work from our homes, need an effective recognition and reward system? The basic purpose of such a program is to improve our motivation, creative growth opportunities, and personal benefits.

When working alone, motivation and productivity can suffer. It's really hard to always be at the top of your game, to be a self-starter and top producer. This is where a well planned personal reward system will keep us super-charged and goal oriented.

While we all enjoy rewarding our family and friends, we often experience a mental block when thinking of rewards for ourself. So here is a list of rewards I've personally used. Use this list as an inspiration platform to create a personalized set of rewards just for you.

Spa Day: Book an appointment for that massage you've been wanting. And why not take a friend with you.

Education Day: Buy that special workshop, tutorial, or seminar you've been wanting to  experience.

Collectors' Day:  Give yourself that perfect item to add to you collection

Garden Day: I use this reward every Spring when I want to add something extraordinary to my yard design.

Better Tools Day: Have you needed a new desk or chair? How about that expensive light fixture, video camera, etc. This is upgrade a tool day!

Hire a Maid Day: Have your entire house professionally cleaned. You'll love this one!

Gadget Day: This is not the same as the Better Tools Day. This one has to be some new gadget that
you've never used before but envied others who did.

Personal Assistant Day. Hire a temporary assistant for the day to help you with whatever work you'd like to complete. Get that studio organized, etc.

Stock the Snacks Day. Get your favorite beverages stock piled. Add some unique and healthy snacks along with water, fruit and nuts. As I've always said, Creatives Need Snacks.

Storytelling - Key # 8

Create with the Heart, Build with the Mind - Key #6

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

2019 Scrap Busting Challenge - Participant Showcase for February Projects

We're two months into our 2019 Challenge. How are you doing?

I hope you're having fun finding a zillion ways to tackle those bags of scraps you've got stashed away. One small project each month is doable and stress-free. Don't overthink or plan elaborate items. Just find something you'd like to keep for yourself or an item you'd like to give away.

It's never too late to join the challenge. Jump in and have some fun...

Here are the February projects that were submitted by a few of our challenge participants. They've been creative and their projects may inspire some of your own.

Carrie submitted Butterfly Bling as her February project.

She created this mini quilt using inset shiny bling fabric and free motion quilting

Carrie is on track with two projects completed for the  2019 Scrap Busting Challenge.

Kitty submitted her sewing machine cover for
January's project.

Kitty submitted these ribbons made for a local
quilt show for her February project.

Kitty is on track with two projects completed for the  2019 Scrap Busting Challenge.

My February Project is creating motif's for greeting cards I'll be making later this month. A great way to use up some of the scraps that I have left over from my fusible web art projects.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Storytelling - Key #8 - Unlocking Your Creative Ingenuity

Every Creative knows that there is a story behind every project, craft, or artwork. There is a reason, inspiration, or need for making it happen. Often, that story becomes the inspiration point and reveals itself in the finished product. At other times, it stays firmly tucked away in the creator's mind.

When creating fabric art, this aspect of storytelling is always active in my work. The first clue you might be a storytelling creative is whether or not you feel compelled to give your project a name. I have to do this and, when I do, the project immediately takes on a life of its own. It becomes a personality with parameters of expression.

Since I'm also an author of contemporary fiction, I'm familiar with creating a story synopsis, capsulizing a story into a few paragraphs. This process forces a writer to adjust their focus until they've captured the core essence of their story. The same task can help an artist to capture the singularity or core idea or feeling they are endeavoring to create.

Try this exercise the next time you have an idea that you need to broaden or solidify. Think about your concept and the end result you want to achieve. Then write an actual story description for your project. Think about what's called a book blurb. Thats the snippet of information on the back cover of the book that gives you an adea of what the story is about. That small amount of information is a powerful tool for selling that book and it can be a powerful tool in giving you a clear vision of the project and where you want to take it.

Here is an example: This is the companion piece to my larger piece of artwork named, For The Love of Autumn. You can view that here.

My project description: 
Autumn inspires with courageous color. Leaves morph into artistic brilliance as if defying their imminent demise. In a moment in time, and with just a whisper, they release their hold on life and gracefully float downward. This is the time of year when I pause to reflect on the beauty of a single leaf.

You might like:
Key #5 - Discovering What Shouldn't Be