Friday, January 11, 2013

An Artist's Date . . .

What a great day!  I took myself on an Artist’s Date. It’s been awhile since I’ve written Morning Pages (that sort of comes and goes for me), but it’s been even longer since I’ve done an Artist’s Date. These two things are huge components in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a phenomenal book for anyone wishing to explore their creativity on any level. It’s not just for artists :-)

Anyway – the book is loosely structured into a 12-week course (for lack of a better term), and once a week you’re supposed to take yourself out to have some fun :-D You must go alone. It can be an hour, or an afternoon, or whatever suits you, and it can be pretty much anything you want that will feed your spirit. I've fallen out of the habit, but today, I cabbed it over to Vogue Fabrics (wish I had had time to go to Manny’s Deli while I was over there!) and rootled around in the store . . .color and texture everywhere. What a wonderful hour I spent!  It was a feast for the spirit.  :-)

I don’t know if it’s that I’m shooting another 365 Project or some other catalyst, but I have so much creative work inside me trying to get out right now that it’s really amazing to me. It’s a fountain of stuff!  Ideas just keep coming and I’m loving it very much.  After what seems to have been a long spell of just going through the motions, all this creative energy is a welcome gift.  When there’s something to share, I will :-)

Today I was emailing with a friend about the Process vs. Project debate – always an interesting topic, particularly for fiber artists. :-) I think a lot of people are driven one way or the other – but I’ve found that both pieces are important for me.

When I'm knitting, I love the outcome (usually :-D) - the Project. I also know that if pressed, I can knit a plain vanilla sock in a day. The technique is there, but it's not very much fun for me. Pounding through the Process to get to the Project makes it "just a sock" somehow.

Although both parts are important to me, the Process is where the sexy stuff is – it's stimulating and engaging for me. The Process is the soul work – where the Project is nurtured and takes shape, and where I begin to see myself and trust myself and my instincts. The process of searching for what I want to make, tumbling through the stash yarns to find the best match, touching the skeins, feeling the fiber content, wondering if it will work, choosing, swatching (sometimes ;-) ). And then, it's like slipping into the water . . . weightless . . . sliding easily into a comfortable rhythm, losing myself for awhile, and coming out the other side of the Process with a soothed soul, a calm spirit, and a Project in the bargain.

Process! Project! Can you have one without the other?  As I think more about my own creative process, it ultimately leads me back to childhood. I have to go back to when I was a kid, when I was always doing something creative – music, acting, playing, coloring, dancing, writing, imagining. I always wanted to draw and paint; unfortunately, however, I was behind the door when they passed out the traditional “fine art” talent, (stick figures are about it for me, and even those are dicey most days . . . :-D) and so throughout my life, I have sourced and gravitated toward the art that I can make. Music always, and for a long time primarily. Oh, and I was a champion colorer (I confess that there are crayons and a couple of coloring books hidden in my sunroom – surely I’m not the only person who sits down once in awhile to color?).

I could certainly never draw or paint the images in my photos, but I can see and frame a photograph in my mind before I shoot, which is why I nearly always have a camera in my hand. Growing up, embroidery was huge for me, and I’ve been knitting since I was 7 or 8 years old adding spinning, weaving and assorted other arts as an adult. All of these things that I create with are often very solitary, and I think one of the reasons that I enjoy them so much is that I grew up as an only child. When you are an only child, you learn at an early age to be self-sufficient and to enjoy your own company, and it seems to me that that ability to be able to be still with myself has made a great difference for me in terms of how I approach the art that I make. Having learned it in childhood, I am easily able to be alone with myself now, and allow that still, small voice to move through me.

Contrary to popular belief, we are all creative. Yes, really, and yes, all of us. It makes me really angry that so many children are told that they can’t sing or can’t dance. It’s not true. Everyone can sing and dance. Granted, there are some people you would pay money to hear and see, but music is one of the greatest creative joys there is. In my crazy extended family everyone loves to sing and dance (even the boys), whether or not we are any good at it – and we all do both as often as possible.

I even draw stick figures once in awhile ;-)   Soul food indeed.

It doesn’t matter what your art is. It’s not always music or painting or knitting or dancing – for some it’s keeping a beautiful home, or teaching, or cooking a gourmet meal, or listening, or raising children. These are all arts in their own way.  It's been awhile since I shared this - it's on my ledge where I see it every day.  If no one has told you this lately, I am telling you now:

I believe in you as you step forward in your life.
I'm inspired by you for keeping your dream alight . . .
for facing the challenge and achieving your goals.
I'm proud of you as I watch the bright light of your spirit embrace the world.

I think it's up to each of us to find the things that make our hearts sing. And then, it's up to us to do them :-) 


Kristyn McCain said...

Thank you for the reminder that creativity is inside us all. Sometimes I forget that.

A :-) said...


Linda said...

I think that for me I've been becoming more of a Process person than a Project person when it comes to my knitting. I'm slowing down more when working on my projects and enjoying trying new techniques. I used to get flustered when my knitting wasn't working out, but now I'm much more relaxed about setting things aside until I can focus on them and then figuring out how to address the issue.

Because I can't draw or paint or make music, I've never thought about myself as very creative. But you're right, we're all creative. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

A :-) said...

You are welcome :-)