// >//]]>
...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sensible Ways to Inspiration

One of the fastest ways to get reconnected with your inspiration is through the use of the five senses—see, hear, touch, taste, smell.  If you are stuck in your creative flow and cannot seem to move forward to start or complete a project, take 10 or 20 minutes out to really pay attention in an eyes-open moving meditation.
Look around you.  What do you see.  Allow your eyes to focus on an object.  Probably, if your eyes stopped there, it arrested your attention.  So really look at the object.  Look at the outline of its shape.  Look at the colors of it.  See if you can discern the variety of shapes that makes up a single object.  Really examine it.  Close your eyes and see if you can describe it in detail.  Then open your eyes and try to really see another object.

Now close your eyes and listen.  What do you hear?  Perhaps you hear the sounds of nature—wind in the trees, birds singing, or cats meowing.  Maybe you hear the sounds of mankind—an air conditioner or heater, the hum of lights, the motors of cars as they pass by your location.  Pay attention to the quality, quantity and levels of the sounds you hear.

Take a deep breath.  Smell the air around you.  Are you aware of any scents where you are?  Maybe you smell your own soap, lotion or perfume.  Maybe you smell the aromas from a previously cooked meal?  Maybe there are smells that are less pleasant. Whatever they are, consider allowing yourself to continue to smell the nuances of the scent.  Really pay attention to how you would describe it—whether visually or with language.  What language descriptors would help you describe what you experience?

Take your hand and allow it to touch your other arm.  Feel the temperature of your body, feel what the skin and hair of your arm feel like.  Pay attention to the pressure you feel on your fingertips.  How would you describe it?  Can you paint that feeling?

Eat or drink something.  Allow it to sit on your tongue.  If it is liquid, swich it around your mouth.  What temperature is it?  Is it sweet, sour, bitter?  If you had to ascribe a color to the taste, what color would you give it?  Can you visually describe the taste?
Our senses are powerful.  When we pay attention to each or all of the senses, it can expand our creative thinking.  If we attempt to use what we experience in a creative way, to describe it or expand upon it, we have a never ending source of creative inspiration.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Creative TV...Online

Having watched all the reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation that my mind could tolerate, and not being in the mood for the documentary of Queen Elizabeth available on Netflix, I decided that tonight I would explore some of the "TV" shows on My Craft Channel.

(c) Holly Charlesworth, My Sister's Suitcase and My Craft Studio

I watched Episode 10 with Holly Charlesworth on My Craft Studio hosted by Christina McKay as Holly transforms trays into chalk boards and upcycled a lamp into a cool retro vase.  It might be my computer but the sound and video did not sync so that part was a little distracting.  As far as crafts go, I could definitely see making different chalkboard colors for different applications and how that could brighten up a space or even serve for a shop display or for craft shows.

I considered watching the Mancrafters, but none of the available four episodes really was something I have an interest in (vinyl primarily), but the idea of men crafting was appealing so I had to take a peek to preview.

"Road Kill Rescues," episode 11 of Get a Little Creative caught my eye since I have a penchant for upcycling furniture and finding new ways to make old stuff useful, beautiful or interesting and keep items out of the landfill.  Becky Farrant shows how to take a simple drawer and make a shelving unit that can hold "vignettes"--she chose to put craft supplies in the display.  This was such a simple project that truly, anyone who can hold a spray paint can would be able to do it.  I thought the drawer was almost "too" simple with such a tiny amount of decoration but that probably has more to do with my own personal style of lavish embellishments.  It was cute and now I wish I had not gotten rid of several drawers I used to have just sitting around in the studio. Of course, I have so much of my own artwork already, it would be difficult to find a location for something like this...but I do have my father's rock collection which is currently boxed and on a closet shelf for lack of a sturdy display home...so perhaps, this would be an answer to that display.  Now to find a suitable drawer....

(c) Beckie Farrant and infarrantlycreative.net

Finally tonight I watched Spot On Design with Nicki Larson, on "Mark Your Territory."  Although Nicki Larson is a good speaker, she is not nearly as animated as Beckie Farrant and I have to admit, a tiny bit boring to listen to as she talked about her items.  Still, just in those five minutes I did pick up a good tool (Easy Tack spray from Krylon) and a couple of good tips for stenciling on fabric.

uccessful pre-bedtime creative TV time.  I'll randomly check out other episodes and shows.  Would love to hear what episodes you like.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creativity from Antiquity

I love to go to flea markets, thrift stores, auctions and antique shops.  Sometimes when I am in a "down" time from my creative flow, I make a trip to one or more of these types of shops to add a bit of a boost to my creative energy.  When I am in an antique shop, there are many times when I find myself completely mystified by the objects in front of me.  Their usefulness has either gone out of vogue or more often than not, completely become obsolete.  Who actually needs a shoe button hole hook after all in this day of laces and Velcro stays?  There are tools and farm implements, kitchen utensils and home improvement tools that once were considered the very best in new technology.  Now, they adorn walls of restaurants and people's homes as country style decor.  I sometimes wonder if these ancient tools led to the invention of newer tools....

Antique shoe hook (looks a little like a modern latch hook for
making latch hook rugs)

I like to imagine what life was like both before and after the implements were invented.  How exactly did people close the buttons on shoes before the button hook came around?  and what sort of method was used long before the food processor or food choppers or even blenders were around for making melanges of fruits or vegetables, much less a smoothie?  did they have any concept of the smoothie or would that have been one of those anachronistic items?

Kitchen utensils.  Being myself almost an antique,
 I recognize most of these tools.
Do you?

It seems like in the art world, the tools and implements really have not continued to evolve--though perhaps the advent of acrylic/synthetic brushes shows that they do continue to move forward.  The painter still uses canvas or paper (albeit, many buy them pre-stretched and ready to go instead of creating the frames and stretching the canvas themselves) and paints with pigment and brushes with water or linseed oil and rags. The stained glass artist's tools have evolved to the point of electric soldering irons and sticky back copper foil, fluxes that are far more clean and efficient and solders that are cleaner and more pure than ever before.

Farm tools. Huh?

For all of our advancements, we are still attracted to the antiquities and for myself, a part of my admiration of a true Lewis Comfort Tiffany stained glass panel is exactly a result of the challenges that had to be faced to create such astonishingly beautiful pieces.  From the masterwork paintings, I admire not only the painting itself and the techniques used to create the art, but the  lost or dying skills of not just mixing pigments but identifying and crushing them correctly for paints, among other difficulties in obtaining the tools of the art.

I actually own a Kerosene torch like this (two in fact), that I got at an auction
...but not with the soldering iron attachment.
That part I will have to invest in next time I see one. I imagine
stained glass would take a very different look from this.

I'm not sure why, I'm not sure how exactly but I do know that for me, a visit to an antique shop rejuvenates me for getting back to my creative work. Perhaps there is an alchemy that occurs in accessing the curious objects of the past and activating the curiosity of the mind in thinking about how things were made and created.  Perhaps there is a bit of magical allure and some of the creative genius that rubs off when one handles antique objects so that that magnificent creative force can be harnessed to the new-fangled methods, techniques and tools of the modern artists' studio.

So here is the challenge of this day:  visit an antique shop.  Question what things are, what they were used to do, how they were manufactured and be in awe and fascination with the creativity of our forebears.  For the day, let go of the modern and the new.  Let your mind play with ideas and ponder the uses of unknown tools.