Thursday, June 23, 2011

Group Project: 8 Weeks to a Better Me (Week 8: Awakening Your Creative Side)

 I had a difficult time getting on the internet earlier this week. I apologize for the delay...

I cannot believe this is the eighth and final week of Danielle’s group project 8 Weeks to a Better Me! During the past two months, I have made small gains and put into place a plan for further self-improvement in each area. I have learned new things about myself and discovered some bad habits are hard to kick. If you are at all interested in making lasting changes in your life, be sure to visit Sometimes Sweet for positive inspiration. Next week I will share where I have been successful and where I have been, um, less than successful. ;)

Before I bemoan the end of 8 Weeks to a Better Me (boo hoo!), let me just say how excited I am about this last topic - Awakening Your Creative Side. I have a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber, and I love to make things. Even so, I sometimes feel too busy, burnt out, lazy or stressed to enjoy making art. I am most creative when I am healthy and my life is in balance. Hunting for a new position has made me a little out-of-sorts, a little down, and it’s completely knocked out my schedule. Sometimes it is hard to feel motivated under these conditions. However, I do have more time to dedicate to thinking about, looking at and making art. The materials I am most drawn to are cut paper (especially from magazines), fabric, language, office supplies, cast off junk, ephemera, photographs, etc. The themes I focus on most are repetition, tools and tool use, manipulation of the human body, and, more recently, sweet little home-related narratives. Sometimes my work is dark, and sometimes it is light. Sometimes it is serious, while other times it is simply intended to inspire happiness in others. Whatever kind of work I am making, I never feel as accomplished as I do when I have finished making something with my own two hands. It does not matter if it is a story, a cut-paper collage, a repeat pattern or even a blog entry. Creating is that beautiful experience of delivering something into the world that was not there before.

Danielle asked Leigh-Ann from Freckled Nest to contribute her advice this week. Leigh-Ann is one multi-talented lady, and she is so generous with her advice, you can tell she is committed to living the creative life. All her ideas are thought-provoking, fun and worth trying. However, I most related to her concept of “inspiration hoarding,” where you have tons of ideas but fear, lack of time, the wrong mood, or the tendency to procrastinate, etc., stop you before you begin. Oops. I am working on reforming, now that what I do has a name!!

1. Be inspired by great art. - I visited Kansas City’s amazing FREE art museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, recently, and I wish I had brought a camera to document details from some old favorite artworks that inspire me. I am going back, camera in hand.
2. Finish a project. - I am really good at buying supplies for projects, and even starting them, but I am not always good at finishing them. This week, at least one project will be finished. I’ll post a photo on my blog as proof.

3. Use what I have. - Mmm, I'm going back to that whole idea of “inspiration hoarding.” I have a lot of good stuff. This week I am going to plan a project using supplies I already have stashed away.
A longer-term goal of mine is to put together a really special crafting party for my girlfriends. I have some ideas in mind, and I want to bring this party to fruition. I love impromptu craft nights, but I have some really fun treats in mind.

What inspires you to make? What are your favorite materials? What prevents you from being as creative as you would like to be?



  1. I like your commitment that by the end of the week at least one project will be complete. It's a simple thing to set a deadline, but one that we forget to do for our own personal projects sometimes (okay, all the time if you're me.) Maybe I will try this too. I may make it by the end of next week since it's Thursday night though. This is a nice blog Alison! I'll be stopping by more often :)

  2. Thank you! I really appreciate that. I am a huge procrastinator, and I recently discovered just how disorganized I can be when I don't keep a schedule or set deadlines. :/ I am working on getting it (er, myself) together. :) If you do end up making something by the end of next week, I would love to know about it!! Having a blog actually is a good tool for keeping me honest.