When I was little, I loved to draw and color. I always had a supply of paper, coloring books, and crayons around for spontaneous creating. I took a pastels class in the second grade with children who were a few years older than I, and yet, I won the blue ribbon for my still life drawing of a wine bottle, mixing bowl and saucer. I always made personal greeting cards for any occasion and when I look back over a box of them my mom saved, I am pretty much in awe of what I did.
What on earth happened to that child? What made her put down her pencils and sketchbooks and become one of those people who say, “Who, me? Nah… I’m not creative.” But, that’s exactly what I became.
Not making time for creating in college and not making time most of my adult life convinced me that I was no artist and didn’t have a creativity gene in my body. Yet, it did come out at certain times – when I was designing my flower gardens or making a Christmas wreath. And, when people would say how nice they looked, I would sort of brush it off thinking that anybody could do it and I just got lucky that it turned out alright.
The last several years I lived in Baltimore, I was fortunate enough to do lots of work with Susan Bishop of Unlocked Box. Susan became the creativity expert for my radio show because whether it’s in business or for fun or in artistic endeavors, Susan believes that the creativity spark is what makes a project shine and give us so much satisfaction.
It wasn’t until I moved to Vermont, however, when the busyness of my life was gone that I thought about trying to find that creative spark within myself. I started out by getting some adult coloring books and colored pencils. I left them out in a place I would see them, and encouraged myself to sit down and color – even if I only had five minutes.
What did I discover? Well… I found out I still loved to color just as I did when I was a child. And, even if the only really creative part was picking out my colors, the process of coloring became like a meditation for me. I can totally get lost in the coloring – not thinking about having to finish the picture or worried about what anyone would think. I just color.
That exercise led me to think about taking some classes. So, in the spring of 2015, I took my first pottery class – building with clay. That led to an eight-week class offered by Dartmouth where we traveled to a new place each week in the Upper Valley of Vermont to see art and meet the artists themselves. That led to some private trips to Mass MoCA, The Clark Museum, and Storm King. And finally, all of that led to a small clay class – building pottery with three other women – that started in October 2015 and continues presently. I spend about three to four hours each week in the studio of the most amazing, full of life woman I’ve met in a long time and she guides us in our creations – encouraging us to let what’s in us come to the surface. We all create differently and that’s what she wants to see us manifest.
I’ve gone from being a self-conscious, color within the lines type of creator to trusting what’s coming from me and going with it. It’s not dainty and pretty. It’s earthy and organic and abstract. I think I’ve found my style.
Besides all of the self-discovery that’s come about, having three of my hand created glazed clay bowls (see photos below) shown in a local gallery has been a thrill for me. Surrounded by “real” artists, I actually feel like I belong there, too, and am honored to be featured in the MUD show at Artistree Gallery for the month of April, celebrating the famous Vermont Mud Season – the time between winter and spring when there’s, well… mud!
I wonder what might have loosened up for me if I had allowed myself to do some creativity exploring earlier in my adult life? Would I have been more trusting of ideas that came up when I worked in corporate – more willing to try new things? Would I have been bolder? I think yes but refuse to mourn about what might have been.
What’s possible now? To keep on creating and letting new ideas bubble to the surface as I get inspired and learn new techniques. I have a vision for a larger outdoor piece that can become a permanent part of my garden. I’m excited.
And you? Are you one of those folks who can tap into your creativity at will – and, do so often? Or, are you like me – have you put it on a shelf or never allowed it out at all?
Why not give that spark a chance to ignite? You might be surprised at what comes up and out.
What I’ve Learned About Creativity from Watching Project Runway
Susan Bishop, Unlocked Box
The Most Reliable Way to Spark Creativity
Tanner Christensen, Product Designer at Facebook on Inc.com
“If you want to be more creative, do something that involves an outcome you cannot safely predict; get uncomfortable.” – Tanner Christensen
“Creativity is as important as literacy.” – Sir Ken Robinson
“It’s not just about creativity, it is about the person you’re becoming while you’re creating.” – Charlie Peacock
“To be creative is to let little pieces of your heart go and place them into each project you make.” – Pat Bravo
“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul and you answer.” – Terri Guillemets
“Stay loyal to your creativity because it’s a gift.” – Pharrell Williams
“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” – Dieter Uchtdorf
“I was created to create.” – Unknown
“Creativity is not a competition.” – Autumn Sky Hall
“Creativity is a habit. It’s not something that happens in the shower.” – Nick Law
“Creativity is not an option. It’s essential.” – Unknown
“Being creative is not a hobby – it is a way of life.” – Unknown
“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” – Brene Brown
“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein
If you already incorporate creativity into your life, keep on doing it. If you haven’t, give yourself a fabulous gift. You may be amazed!