Category Archives: Fire Up Your Creative Spark!

Reducing art and craft supplies for greater creativity and output

I love this post about Creativity on Zero Waste Home
This year, I too made a commitment to use up all a lot of my crafty supplies before I bought any new ones, and it is a creative challenge to think in this way.
But, I also have filled a big box with ‘unfinished projects’- a needlefelted toadstool treasure box, rolling gnomes, sewing cards, 3 half-done nature landscapes (yes 3!), a MamaMoontime embroidery, three more embroidery works and more!
Each of these things weighs upon me like a great big elephant.
And sometimes, I just can’t even enter my craft room in case I see this box of stuff!
Sometimes, the old projects don’t even serve a purpose anymore, but rather than give or recycle them away, they languish….
I’ve been feeling braver and braver by the minute.
A few weeks ago, I was brave enough to pass these (along with a whole other pile of stuff) on to a friend who was more than happy with a new creative challenge.
A creative win win all around!

Elizabeth Gilbert: a new way to think about creativity

Of course, like half the female population, I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.

While I loved the adventure it entailed, as someone who has been a parent since I was 20 years old (and therefore in the world of free cash resources, somewhat poor), the opportunity and logistics to just take off for a year’s exploration to find my inner self has never really been an available reality.

That said, I definitely had moments of envy (ahhh, the freedom to adventure and explore with no strings once again) but also experienced a little bit of antipathy towards her too.  I mean, seriously, the quickest way to find yourself and have all your buttons pressed and really learn to ‘chop wood, carry water’ is to throw yourself into the deep end by becoming a parent.  Who needs an ashram when you can learn compassion, tolerance and patience by cleaning up the toilet bowl and floor after your child spends the night vomiting?

BUT I now have a new found respect and awe for this magnificent lady. ( My esteem for this author had already risen somewhat with the publication of her follow up book Committed, a wonderfully written and researched book into marriage and love)

This TED talk by Elizabeth about creativity is just magnificent.  And she herself endears herself warmly to the audience with a mixture of laughter, wonder and insight.  I truly recommend you give it a watch.  It’s worth the investment of your time.

Creativity and the Art of Digestion


antacids, originally uploaded by Elliot-B.

The creative process is all about digestion. The taking in of images, the swirling around of the bits and pieces, until we take what we need through our life filter and make it into something else.
What is left is rubbish.

I have been striving hard to digest a whole lot of stuff lately that just hasnt wanted to go down. It has been all about burps and belches.

I take notice of my body when it speaks (in whatever language- burps included!!) because it is always right, so I have had to help the digestion process by filtering stuff- to see what I really need and want and what is truthful – from all the garbage.

Right now, I have to find the goodness, and I’m doing this by reading a whole lot of craft, art and design books and magazines. Food for the soul, easily digested. Thank goodness for good nourishment!

10 things you can do RIGHT NOW to set your creative flame free!

Sometimes, our brains are so filled with ‘stuff’ that it is just not possible for new ideas or story concepts to agitate or be released into the ethers for us to grab hold of.   Sometimes, we just have to quieten down somewhat and create some new space for fruits to grow.
It’s not that hard to do.  Really, it’s not.  And if we do these things on a regular basis, we can almost guarantee that our wellspring of article and story ideas will be overflowing!  I am NEVER without ideas. The biggest difficulty is finding time to bring all the ideas to fruition but it is really affirming that by taking care of my biggest asset, my thinking, my mind comes to the party and gives me gifts of insight and inspiration every single day.   Take care of your mind and you’ll be brimming with enthusiasm and gold drops too!
Here are my top 10 things to do to fire up your creative flame and set it free!
  1. Sit outside quietly. No book, no tv, no friend to chat to.  Just be with yourself.  Notice your thoughts.
  2. Tip out the rubbish. Yes, that stuff in your brain that no longer needs to be there.  Old worries, things you can’t do anything about, money concerns, what you did (or didnt do) last year, regrets…   Make room for new thoughts!
  3. Have a nap in the middle of the day.  Up to one hour. Set the alarm.  Write down your dreams.
  4. Go wandering!   Walking frees the breath and the mind.  Hear the new ideas come.
  5. Potter in the garden.  Digging in the dirt unlocks creative energy.  See new growth.
  6. Make a new friend.  Join a class.
  7. Go somewhere new, by yourself.   Open your eyes to seeing what is really around you.
  8. Visit the art gallery.  Take in lots of new images, designs, paintings and let them swirl in your creative well.
  9. Do something you wouldn’t normally do.  Catch a bus if you normally drive.  Sing in the shower.  Sing in the street.  (in fact, sing anywhere!)  Smile.   You are open to creative energy.  Wait and see what comes your way!
  10. Turn off the TV.   TURN OFF THE TV.  One whole day, then one whole week.  Can you do it?  What will you do instead?    Hours and hours and hours of free time is up your sleeve.  Use it wisely!
And here is an extra one, the most important of all.  Carry a sticky note pad and a pencil with you EVERYWHERE.  I keep these things in my pocket or handbag. I also have a set in my bathroom (you never know where inspiration will strike), in my kitchen, and in my car.  I’m often found writing down notes at traffic lights.  This is a regular occurrence for me and I’m not kidding!   Once you begin to look after your creative flame, it will grow and grow and grow and you’ll soon be cursing me for the influx  of ideas that you can’t possibly get to in this lifetime!!    Grab the gold ones and take action.  Your ideas are waiting for you to begin!

Stirring up your own pot of creative soup!

Creative output requires creative input.
It is that old principle- what goes in, must come out.
So, it makes sense that we must refill our jugs, our mugs and our soup pots, don’t you think?
One of my favourite ways to ‘fill up’ is to immerse myself in festival worlds.
But not just any old festival.
Whilst the music festivals I have been to in Australia and overseas have been, at times, life-changing and inspirational, what they sometimes lack is ‘interaction’.
And I do think interaction is the key to getting the most out of a festival.
Interaction involves all the senses, and feeds all learning styles.
And one can’t help but be nourished and fed by such a thing!
My favourite festival of ALL is the Woodford Folk Festival , held every year from Dec 27 to New Year’s Day in a little hill enclave christened ‘Woodfordia’, about a 90 min drive north of Brisbane.
To call it a ‘folk’ festival is a bit limiting actually, and might actually put some people off, but if you can get past the name, this festival is truly one in a million!!
This past Tuesday, my friend Simone and I took a ‘child-free’ pass from our husbands and joined the throngs for the big event.  What a thrill!!!
Even in pouring rain and a mud bath, it was so worth the cold, the flat tire and the 3am tow out of the mud before we could even leave to get home!
(For those who are wondering, 6am was the time I finally made it to bed!  Thank Goodness for a loving husband on holiday who kept a certain little boy entertained for a second day!!)
Here is some of what we got up to!
  • Appalachian Flat foot dancing with the Whitetop Mountaineers-  a big highlight!!
  • Dancing to “MamaKin” and listening to the groovy tunes of Danielle and her band.  Check out this band.  Do yourself a favour!!  The songs “Colour” and “My friend” have induced tears for me at least 3 times today!
  • Eating organic dark chocolate filled doughnuts
  • Imbibing delicious mango lassies
  • Dancing to “Colourfide”, a band of young guys from the Gold Coast, truly worth a look!
  • Getting funky with Baalo Baajo and their African dance tips
  • Immersing ourselves in street theatre
  • Devouring delectable Govinda’s food and learning more about sacred cows
  • Drinking up hot chai to the sounds of Music for the Spirit
  • Spending time with the stories of Rob Longstaff, Stringmansassy and Lior
  • Getting drenched under a showery sky for Arrested Development
And there was so much we didn’t even get near!
  • Zumba workouts
  • Kecak chanting
  • PsychoBABEL; the talk fest
  • Burleque life drawing
  • Sketch the rhyme game show
  • UV wonderland
  • A vintage hair and makeup workshop
  • Stand up comedy workshops
  • Magic of the mind
  • Birdmania
  • Puppet shows
  • The children’s festival
  • Team poetry slams
  • Yalks on treating illnesses naturally, healing through diet
  • Shamanic drumming
  • Film reviews
  • Scottish fiddle workshops
  • yoga
  • fire play
  • aerials for beginners
  • crystal bowl meditation
  • clowning
  • balloon blowing
  • acro balance
  • hit song writing
  • body percussion workshops
  • and talks on: ‘being the change’, the population growth myth, renewable energy and cooking with your own home-grown food.
Are you tired yet??
I’m a big believer in filling up with all kinds of variety, and particularly stuff that I wouldn’t encounter in every day life.  A fabulous festival like this one, gives each and every one of us, big and new opportunities for personal growth and change.
Who knows where something might take you??
Why not make a pact to immerse yourself in a local groovy festival sometime in 2011?
It might be pushing past your comfort zone, it might mean getting big-time muddy, it might involve time and a little money but the payoff is so worth it!!
Have you got a festival favourite??
Or one you’d like to visit??
Share your stories here!!
I’d love to add them to my ever-expanding bucket list.
Perhaps you would too!