Module Seven : What is your greatest creative passion 

Developing your voice & style

As a creative person I'm sure you have quite a few different outlets, different things you love doing. Well - I know I do at least. And I feel like part of investing in ourselves as an Artist is knowing our voice as a creative. And respecting that voice. This takes time, patience, but most importantly it takes practice. 

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if they think it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. And while they’re deciding, make more art
— Andy Warhol

Don't think.....

......just do. And when I say don't think, what I mean is don't over-think. Because it's in the over-thinking that we limit ourselves, stop ourselves, and stifle our best creative work. By trying to work out if what we're creating & making is good enough, important, valid we self-edit on what we actually can create. 

When you're wondering what other people will think about your work, before you've even made it, then you're not tapping into your own internal creative voice, and you're not connecting with the best version of yourself. 

But when you immerse deeply into the just do it thought process, you make a lot of mistakes, you hone your skills, you develop your own sense of style. And most importantly you feel deeply in love with what you're creating, because you're creating from a place of truth and self-connectivity, and not from a place of trying to please others or appeal to any online fashions / whimsical passing trends. 

Your project this week is to:

Choose one of your creative outlets and spend the week deeply immersed in this. Every spare moment you have available pick up your work; your paintbrush, your needle, your camera, your thread, your weaving loom. Make your mark, do your work, not based on the outcome or on thinking about how or what or if you'll share it with an online audience, simply do it for the love and joy of it. 

I'd suggest at least half an hour each day, if at all possible. Test yourself in different environments. If you're a photographer you might have to work with early mornings or dark evenings. If you work with dyeing fabric you might find new ways of working to make sure you fit in your half an hour every day (as opposed to your usual full day's sessions), if you work with thread or stitching or wire or fabric.... or whatever different outlet you currently have.... I'd like you to spend this week pushing yourself and your work to furthering your creative practice. 


A word on 'practice':

When I say 'practice' I mean both the real physical-ness of doing the doing...just getting on with the job and learning, trying, testing, keeping on going. Of the repeated doing of it for the purpose of acquiring skills. 

I also mean the more (perhaps) spiritual method of coming to something with dedication, commitment, habit. Of not thinking about the 'getting better at it' so much as the coming to it everyday with a personal honouring to ourself and the commitment we're making to our creative self.

Truth is not to be found outside. No teacher, no scripture can give it to you. It is inside you, and if you wish to attain it, seek your own company.
Be with yourself.
— Osho

Practice the craft of your art!

some things you might like to ponder this week, perhaps in your journal, perhaps in the quiet of your mind while making & creating & enjoying & noticing & not over-thinking!

  • What is your greatest creative passion
  • What is your journey - personal, creative, whatever form your thoughts take you
  • How does this journey influence your work
  • Or show itself in your work
  • What are you learning about yourself this week, or about your creative practice - what parts are you loving? What would you change?
  • What is your own truth?
  • Talk to yourself - talk out loud so you can have a conversation with yourself
  • What are you living now?
  • What makes you feel vulnerable in your work? 
  • What makes you feel strong?

Stretch your creative boundaries:

Part of being an artist, I feel, is that we must stretch ourselves. We don't have to be political or spiritual in what our work says, but for me, making art is an emotional thing, and part of my art-making helps me to either over-come certain things I'm working through or to show them to the world, or simply to allow me to delve deeper on an understanding of my own thoughts, emotions, journey. Perhaps it's the same for you?

I'm hoping by this stage of fears and passions and understanding why you bloom (why you feel the need to share yourself with the world), you'll be calling yourself an artist. Even if artist isn't the word you use, you'll believe that what you create is art. Remember that illustrators and photographers, while being artists, often call themselves by what they do - photographer or illustrator rather than artist. I call myself a textile artist, because I do personally feel that many people (outside of a creative practice) think of the word 'artist' as relating primarily to a painter. But, whatever you call yourself know that you are making art, or that you have the potential to make art if that's what you want. 

It doesn't truly matter what word you use. But do you agree, or feel, that as creative humans we need to stretch our boundaries, to grow ourselves and challenge ourselves to move beyond where we are now to where we can be, might be. Who we might be. Not in terms of "better at the making", but hopefully in terms of "better at expressing, understanding, feeling connected with sharing our real raw self". 

So, during this week of investing time, patience, commitment, dedication to practicing the craft of your art - I want you to try new things. Challenge yourself. Each day come at your work with a different mindset, a different viewpoint. Look at yesterday's practice, and see where you can push further. This is your week for doing those things you've always wanted to try and never quite did. 

The larger weaving loom, the colours you'd never normally use, photographing people when you only ever shoot landscape (or vis-versa), or perhaps self-portraits will work their way into your work, looking deeply at who you are now, and who dream you is, and who future you is. Working with a new material, making big things when you usually work small.......

Ways to fit in the creativity:

If you work full time at another job, or even full time at your creative job, or have children at home... or any other number of reasons - this week's project might be hard. I know, I totally get that. So here's a few ideas on how to fit it in, and make it work around the fullness of life:

  • Spend just 5 minutes at your practice, something is better than nothing. Every day 5 minutes
  • Get up a bit earlier, or go to bed a teeny bit later
  • Don't turn the tv on, or facebook or instagram - any one those things can eat up our time without us even realising it
  • Give your kids their own creative tools, so they sit beside you while you work
  • Take it with you on the train, in the car, to work, to uni...
  • Do something at the school assembly (I often have stitchwork or crochet in my bag so I can create while listening to school events, or waiting at the dr rooms or for kids while doing their after school activities)
  • Un-plan your weekend so you have more time for yourself. 
  • Put it in your diary - we must schedule time for ourselves as importantly as for others
  • Make easy meals this week, ask for help in the kitchen or doing the washing-up / laundry. 
  • Let your house become a little bit messier
  • Be prepared and planned for whenever you do have 5 minutes here or there. While a full half an hour is much more ideal (especially for getting into the flow), I know that by picking up & putting down when we can we are still honing our skills, and investing in our creative practice
  • Let go of where you want to be, and be content with where you are - this means, if it's not going to happen this week, that's ok... settle into the fullness of what you're doing, and don't stress or guilt yourself. (But if this is an ongoing problem, then I'd suggest you take a long look at your calendar of events). 

Share your work:

This week I am choosing my loom weaving that I'm going to dedicate to practicing on - I have an exhibition coming up in less than two months, and a lot of work to prepare for it. I'll be sharing on the Facebook page during the week - hopefully every evening I'll check in (but please understand if some nights I don't get there). I'd love you to share as well. This is about learning to share what we do without fear of judgement, or worry about what people will say; it's in a safe supportive environment. 

The private facebook group is here. If you haven't yet joined, make sure you introduce yourself once you jump in. You don't have to share every day, but it would be lovely to see you once during the week - if possible - even if you share what you're working on, and don't feel obliged to share what you created. You can share words and pictures, or only pictures, or only words.

While I want you, this week, to be doing your creative practice without the underlying thought process of 'sharing with the world', those of you who want to move towards part or full time creative practice (I'm talking to about 85% of you here), do need to work towards sharing your work in some way or other. This private group is a beautiful place. Next week we'll be talking more about sharing with a broader audience. 

For now I want you to just immerse yourself in the joy of your creative practice. And then you'll learn to share that joy with others.