As I said after the Creative Prompt Project ended, I still want to encourage creativity and creative pursuits in YOU via a regular blog post, but I didn’t want to create any more creative prompts. As I also said, that may change, but for now I am trying different things. I have done a couple of color inspirations as you have seen, but I haven’t found a niche yet. This is probably good as then I won’t get bored. Today, I am going in a different direction, still a creativity challenge, but different than the Creative Prompt Project and the color palettes I have been posting.
Some time ago I wrote a review of the book, The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston. I just read over the review and the things I wrote at the time were things I still thought were relevant as I reread the book’s introduction and Spark 1 for this creativity post.
I feel it is important to nurture creative endeavors in myself and in others. It is so easy to get sidetracked by work, the housework, kids’ activities and take no time for yourself. It is so easy to think that creativity is not important. Creative endeavors nurture your soul. If your soul is healthy all the other things you have to do in your life are easier and come out better.
Like in the Creative Prompt Project, any kind of art is appropriate. If you are a potter or a cartoonist or a weaver, these reviews and exercises will work for you just as well as for someone who sews, makes quilts, draws or paints.
Housekeeping: I am not going to tell you all of the details of all of the exercises in the book. It isn’t right for me to give away Carrie Bloomston’s content. You will need to buy the book for that. ( <— It’s easy, just click the ‘buy the book’ link; yes it is an affiliate link**) 😉 That isn’t to say that you will get nothing out of the creativity posts that I am writing. You will, if you read through them and think about what I have written. I am using her material as a jumping off point. Her material is valuable and I am adding my own spin to it.
While we may have more time for creative pursuits in our modern times and we have more time to contemplate creativity, decorating and making things beautiful is in our DNA. Bloomston says “The Spark is your creativity and you were born with it. We all were. Humans have always felt its pull. We see it in our oldest art representations — paintings on the walls in the caves in Lascaux in France from 17,000 years ago.” There are early quilts that are beautifully stitched even though rougher stitching would have been just as warm. We can easily buy soft, warm blankets from the local department store and beautifully knitted throws from catalogs yet we still make quilts and knit throws ourselves.
“…your desire to make things is bigger than you.” I flagged this quote when I initially wrote the review and it is still one that sticks in my mind and makes me think. Bigger than me. I wonder about what that means. Is there a creativity hive mind to which I am contributing? How does what I make fit into the larger continuum of creativity? This is something to which I have no answers and am still contemplating. It is a thought that is almost too big for my mind. What do you think?
These are the kinds of topics that Bloomston’s book makes me think about. What is important is that “it comes from our human desire to make things beautiful and meaningful — not for the sake of beauty, but because each decorative mark on that cake or that pot celebrates our existence.” (pg. 7). What you make doesn’t have to be beautiful. You just have to make it. Making things is the point. Having your project come out beautiful is a fabulous bonus.
Whatever your art is, “it will enrich and connect you. It will give your life depth. It will fill you with purpose and sparkle. It will allow you to shine your light.” (pg.7)
If I haven’t convinced you, with the help of Carrie Bloomston, that you are a creative being and you must exercise your creativity in whatever way speaks to you, all I can say is Just Start. Make a mark on a piece of scrap paper with the pen you have to hand. Twist some string into a fancy knot. Just Start.
You won’t be surprised if I tell you that Bloomston’s first spark is on getting started. I think we can all agree that getting started is the hardest part. It is hard to get started being creative. It can be hard to start the next step and it can be especially difficult to start your perfect project, the image in your mind being so perfect that you feel you can never achieve such greatness. You can.
I have engaged in creative pursuits my whole life,s tarting with dime store coloring books and pieces of paper. Now, my creative muscles are usually warm and flexible. I feel like I never stop. I try to plan my project steps in such a way that I know exactly what to do when I step into my workroom. Of course, I have times where I can’t move forward as planned. If I don’t have an image in my mind of the next step, then I can’t make the next step. The image of my mind has to consist of exactly how to put the next pieces together. That doesn’t always happen. Or I can work on my creative pursuits if I am upset or tired or don’t want to work on the planned project or I have to do a step that is challenging in some way.
All of these things make me pivot and I have to make a new ‘start’. Often, I will do some mind sorbet type sewing. Hunting and Gathering is also a great way to make a new start or work on something in between. I often make pieces and parts or cut patches and then stack them up until I have enough to make the quilt I want to make. Making 4patches and 9patches are great examples of hunting and gathering as well as a project that is great when you don’t know what else to do or you need to make a start.
I am very fond of mosaic piecing (this is called ‘made’ fabric by some teacher whose name I can’t remember right now). I use my scraps, generally monochromatically, to make new pieces of fabric, which I, then, cut up and make something else. Often those projects are journal covers.
You can cut the mosaic piecing into squares and then make some great 4patches. You can do something crazy quilted. The point is that you have to start. What you start sewing (or drawing or painting or molding) and if starting means just pushing fabrics through the machine and worrying about what it will be later, then so be it.
The Little Spark is a great book to energize or start your creativity. Please tell me how you light the spark of your creativity.
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