Monday, April 30, 2007

Nurturing the Creative Process by

Picasso said, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” As a child, I can remember lying face up in my bed with a slight smile on my face, appreciating the initial indications of a bright summer morning. The steady stream of fresh air filled my tiny nostrils, sunshine illuminated every surface, and I could hear the faint sounds of giddy laughter and chatter from children playing down by the water brook. I slowly emerged from my sweet slumber, while simultaneously calculating the possibilities of the day, all before my feet even touched the hardwood floors. I was excited about what the day had in store for me, never doubting it would be brilliant.

I was not intimidated by the box of 64 Crayola colors, nor did I worry about what I would sculpt with my play dough, and good lord, as soon as I could get outside to greet the day there was no need for Parker Brothers to facilitate my game playing adventures. I made up my own games and more importantly, my own rules. There were instances when this unbridled creativity led to my downfall, such as the famous, “Toilet Paper Parade”. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to tie toilet paper on sticks, and encourage a host of friends to do likewise. The inspiration for the parade quickly pursued and we all jump on our bikes, held our handmade flags proudly in the air and took our procession to the streets, unfortunately to the horror and dismay of my poor mother. Needless to say we never made those flags again, but it was a delicious idea at the time. I was not in survival mode back then, life was easy… life was fun.

The creative spirit resides deep within and even as a young child I would lay still in the grass, look up at the bluest sky, and for a fleeting moment realize there was something much bigger than myself at work in the universe. As adults we tend to forget how important it is to just be still, to be quiet and know without any uncertainty that anything is possible. This simple act gives birth to the seeds of greatness.

However, what happens when our creative juices suddenly and unexpectedly run dry? As a jewelry designer, I ponder this dilemma, albeit only momentarily. I have several quick fixes under my belt. Here are some suggestions to help you through those unproductive periods that haunt us all.

• Commit to taking time out of your day, preferably very early in the morning before anyone else is awake, to be quiet and at peace, even meditate if the spirit moves you to do so.

• The space in which you work needs to be comfortable as well as inspirational. Hang pictures of images that kindle the imagination, paint the walls your favorite color, and place your special pieces in prominent locations throughout the space.

• Go for nature works, they are refreshing and you will be surprised by the things that inspire you along the way.

• Engage in artistic pursuits other than your chosen medium. Even though I am passionate about jewelry design, I also write, paint, sew, and dabble in mixed media.

• Go with the flow. Creativity is an ellusive process that ignites unexpectedly and if you allow it, will flow continually until you cease to be no more. When an extraordinary idea explodes let it overtake you, yield immediately, and remove any egotistical leanings. It is not about you, it is about the process. Creating really is a form of surrender. For me, it often takes place in the wee hours of the morn, while I am putting a bead on, taking a bead off, until I am no longer thinking, just doing, and that’s when something genuine becomes form. Once the trance is broken I may as well walk away until the next providential urge to slip back into my studio takes over. I live for those moments.

It is nice to remember the days of my carefree childhood and how much easier it was to be true to my spirit, but I certainly would like to believe it is possible to live that way each and everyday of our lives. So, even though the restrictiveness of our daily schedules try to crowd out our precious play time, it is important to take the time to nourish our spirit, continually engage in creative pursuits, and courageously conceive the impossible!


jill Q said...

Outstanding article!

DBrown said...

Very uplifting article! Nicely written!