Extending the conversation: Creativity

Melanie from Catbird Quilt Studio recently wrote a blog about creativity. I found her post to be inspirational and intriguing because I have been contemplating creativity as work or a muscle that one must exercise, rather than considering it a mere random ‘talent’ that one does or does not have.

On and off in my life, I’ve tried to explore a new creative talent. About 25 years ago a friend and I took a drawing class at the Laguna Gloria art museum in Austin, Texas. My friend discovered a previously unknown talent for charcoal sketching and well, I did not. That class was painful and embarrassing and frustrating and I quit after one or two sessions.

What I realize now is that I should have stuck with it, even though I was terrible. I should have dived into my terrible skills and rolled around in them until I found some nugget of talent and explored it until I found another and another. Even if the only one who thought it was talent was me. Even if I was the only one who found pleasure in my skills.

Quilting has helped me begin to explore my creativity and I’m a little older and wiser and more patient and less judgmental with myself. It helps to have fellow bloggers who lead the way — folks that inspire me like Melanie of Catbird and Tierney of Tierney Creates.Ā 

I’m working on a quilt project that demands some minor sketching skills and it reminded me that I wanted to learn to draw all those years ago. I stumbled on a blog by Rachel/Chachel from Wild Sketch. She has some tutorials that have been a help. I’ve found a sketch pad to stick in my briefcase and I’m allowing myself “sacred” space and time to exercise my creativity. Things I drew last week that I thought were hideous at the time now seem acceptable in retrospect. I am learning to be kinder to my creative self.

How do you explore your creativity? What stops you? What inspires you to continue? What advice would you give to your younger self about creativity and its value?



8 thoughts on “Extending the conversation: Creativity

  1. Melanie McNeil says:

    I love this phrase: “I should have dived into my terrible skills and rolled around in them” šŸ™‚

    Thanks for the link. I chew on this subject over and over again. I’m not sure it helps me to BE more creative, but it helps me form how I think about creativity!

  2. Tracie says:

    Great question! I want to take a water color class someday for the fun. Iā€™m not a painter; however, I hope it feeds my creativity.

  3. tierneycreates says:

    Thanks for sharing your drawings and your thoughts on creativity – I love the continuation of the conversation started by Melanie! Also I am honored to be mentioned in relation to the word creativity šŸ™‚
    Great questions you posted and the only thing that stops my creativity would be, well, MYSELF! What inspires me to continue and keep experimenting are my quilting mentors, friends and blogging community (which I am so glad you are a part of!) šŸ™‚

  4. Chela's Colchas y Mas says:

    I spent my childhood drawing. I wanted to be a cartoonist for Walt Disney. I used to watch the Woody Woodpecker Cartoon show just to see the drawing lesson at the end of the show. I took art classes in high school, but I always felt inferior to the talent of the rest of the students in the room. I stopped drawing. I started again when I was teaching. I read this great book by Mona Brookes, Drawing With Children. I found it so sad that many of my first graders already said they were not good at drawing. By the time they left my class, they believed in their creative abilities.
    Through this experience, I, too, started to believe in my creative abilities. I need to remind myself quite frequently, because I am still my harshest critic. My family, friends and blogging community keep me going.

  5. Gray Barn Designs says:

    Great post! I love the phrase, “Forget the noun, do the verb” because I always get “paralysis by analysis” and then my creativity tanks! I’m most creative when I just leap in and get started.

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