Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jump Starting Creativity

 One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. - Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

It's always interesting how questions come to me in groups. The last couple of days I've been asked by several people how to get going. My advice:

1. Keep it simple.
2.  Get in a habit of making art. Make creativity a part of your daily routine.
3. It doesn't need to be a huge chunk of time. 10-15 minutes can make a huge impact.

I remember when Jette Clover decided to make simple collages with things she had on hand. She limited herself to a 3" x 5" index card. She made a commitment to set aside at least 10 minutes a day. She did this every day for a year.  This strategy helped her to be successful.

In 1990, Nancy Halpern decided to create a visual record of her daily events which resulted in a 138" h x 72" w quilt. Her rules were simple: "Wait until the day has begun to take share before starting the block. Finish the block by the end of the day (even if it's during the wee hours of the morning). And never work ahead." She joined her blocks vertically and each month has a row which makes the bottom of the quilt have an interesting shape. Some of the blocks were intricate and others simple. She did create an airplane template depicting westbound flights that could be flipped over to head east. A different template depicted north- and southbound flights This quilt went on to inspire lots of quiltmakers to create their own journal quilts. Actually, it still does. (The only place I have ever seen an image of the quilt was in Threads magazine's April May 1997 issue.)

I like to create and send handmade greeting cards. When I began, I tried to create masterpieces and definitely over thought the process, but with practice, I now just go with the flow, keep it simple and have fun. There is something about creating something and sending it out into the world that definitely jump starts my creative juices. How do you jump start your creativity? Are you doing something every day?


  1. Karen, I have a 3" single binder ring and on it I gather shipping tags with quotations I've found along the way (some are hand written, others are typed and printed on labels). An ongoing project to be sure. I've recently added a cluster of colorful ribbons to the ring, and think I shall begin adding random images from magazines, etc. on the reverse sides of the tags.

    I, too, make greeting cards and have found it becoming easier as I go (less worried about being perfect).

    Good post!

  2. Sounds very cool. Someday I will get all the quotes I've collected over the years organized! And yes, less than perfect works! Hugs, Karen


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