Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sources of Creativity

As a BEST member, art educator, and active member of the artist community for many years, I wanted to begin a discussion on creativity and what inspires, drives, distracts and pushes us to create. Thinking back to the part of your life that has been the most creative, the people who have been major influences, and the actual process of how you make.

Anita of Miscelena Handmade Papercrafts has volunteered to be our first person to complete my short little snippet to begin the discussion process.

1. What part of your life do you find is/was the most creative ? Do you think back to these times when creating your work?

This is by far the most creative period of my life to date! Over the last decade and a half, I've worked hard to build a design career while raising my son... which didn't leave a lot of free time for other creative pursuits. After years of being in a 'production' position (i.e. helping translate others' ideas onto buildable designs), I'm now in a design position at my day-job and my son is in high school, pursuing his own creative ideas in a two-year specialized art class. As a result, I now have more time and ability to explore my photography and papercrafting ideas at home, AND I've developed a network of fabulous artists and designers who share my enthusiasm for 'playing' with color, pattern, texture and concepts. I feel so very
lucky to live within such a creative network of friends, family and other professionals.

2. Did you have a creative mentor? A teacher or role model that taught you about creativity or simply inspired you to be creative?

Oh, this is very much in my genes: when I was small, my mother and grandmother sewed most of their (and my) clothes, and a real value was placed on handmade gifts... and handwritten notes. Much like cooks who find it difficult to simply follow a recipe, I learned early that it's better to 'make it your own', by altering a design or pattern and following inspiration. These days, I'm also constantly encouraged and inspired by my friends in the design-industry who each seem to have their own 'homemade' interests as well: some paint, some are photographers, some sew - there's always something new and exciting!

3. When you get stuck, how do you get out of it?

I've learned that it's no good to try to force creativity... when nothing's working quite right... nothing fits, the colors don't quite coordinate, I can't even cut a straight line... I have learned to just shrug it off, let it go. It's like giving myself permission to have some downtime: I'll go do something else entirely, usually reading (there's never enough book-time, it seems!) and come back to it later. If it's an on-going block, there's nothing like a trip to the art museum (ANY art museum) to jump-start some creative thoughts.

4. What is your creative process when making your product?

I usually start with one particular item: a stamp I've found, or a new patterned paper, or even just a color ("Today I feel.... lime green!") and start searching out the items (other stamps, other papers) that feel related to the theme, either color-wise or style-wise. Choosing inks - and I rarely use just one in a design anymore - is the next step; what colors do I want to emphasize? Is it about contrast or coordination? Is this a 'happy' card or a somber note?... then last come the embellishments: ribbons, twine, old dictionary pages, detailed brads, a bit of metal, etc., to add style and make the cards unique.

5. Do you have any creative thinking tricks you like to share?

I carry my point-and-shoot camera *everywhere*. I'm not a 'serious' photographer, and my shots are as often more simple documentation than thoughtful compositions... but whenever I see a palette of colors or textures(sky/trees/roadway or brick/concrete/railing or skirt/sign/building) I try to 'catch' it. Even if I never directly reference the images I capture, I think it keeps my brain 'tuned' to looking for patterns and contrasts.

Post written by JennyJen42

1 comment:

miscelena said...

This was fun to do! Thanks for asking us this, Jen - I'm looking forward to reading others' responses, too!