Friday, June 26, 2015

WHY This is NOT a Creative Slump...

Hello My Fellow Creative Beasts!
You might be wondering why I so adamant about not being in a creative slump in my last blog post. Today I will endeavor to explain myself...

One of the beastly aspects of art and creativity is that many people fall into what they consider a 'slump' or a 'creative block' and they generally view this in the negative, imagining all sorts of horrible things, such as the idea that their creativity is finished, they have no ideas to work on and will never have any creative ideas ever again...

Simple beaded necklace made to practice with beading wire before attempting a paid necklace repair job for an acquaintance...

But I also notice that this seems to happen most frequently among people who stopped being creative in their childhood/teens and are now reconnecting to that natural creative impulse; it might also happen among people who have limited their creative channels to just one outlet such as painting or drawing or sculpture...

I am here to tell you that this is all wrong headed thinking...

Gallery of washi tape covered match boxes, recently made after discovering the book "Washi Tape"

As someone who has always been creative, who has never stopped herself from any creative activity that popped into her highly active mind, this idea of 'creative blocks' or creative slumps' is not really any of those things, but I have learned that it IS a natural part of the creative cycle.

I've never really considered myself to have fallen into a 'creative slump' but this could be due to the fact that I engage in several creative activities, possibly more than the average crafter. Here is a list of activities I have engaged in, in one way or another, since childhood and I will attempt to list them in chronological order to the best of my ability:

drawing - doodling - coloring - sewing - knitting - jewelry making - dancing - costume design - creative writing - photography - pattern drafting - fashion design - fine art drawing - life drawing - collage art - book binding - clay sculpture - 3-dimensional design - wood work - performance art - altered books and art journals - needle felting - fabric dyeing

My list of creative pursuits is a long one indeed!

Now, I admit this is a long list of creative activities, and there are many that I practiced for a short time, such as the clay sculpture, and the wood work. But some have been with me since childhood, such as the sewing, knitting and the jewelry making...

And I believe that dabbling in so many creative activities has not only fed my creative curiosity, I feel that it adds to my confidence in my skills.

And this is the crucial issue with many creatives who make a return to embracing their creative impulses, after burying them for many years.

Returning to creative actions such as drawing or painting or sewing means rebuilding old unused muscles and it can take some time to feel secure in your skills, but until you feel secure in your own skills, you will doubt and deride your abilities, which will lead to quitting, which can then make you feel as though you are in a 'creative slump', which is really just 'fear of not being good enough'.

And ALL ARTISTS fall into this mode of thinking, including me, from time to time...

I just don't allow myself the feeling of 'not being good enough' for very long, since I have all kinds of evidence of how good much of my work is, due to practicing many of my skills for many years, some of them for decades. And I continue to practice many of my creative skills weekly if not daily, so this always adds to my "Identity Capital*" of being an Artist.

Evidence of my book making skills laid out on display - I take pride in what I create!

I don't think any of us ever really drop the feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, but with much practice, over time, we can learn to tame that little voice into a whisper as we add and grow in our skill sets.

And I would also say that if one has several creative channels to dip into, there can never really be a 'creative slump', though there can be a time of creative quiet, which is sometimes needed to let big ideas percolate as we prepare ourselves to bring them to fruition, but that is still not a 'slump', just a 'fallow time', which is a natural part of the cycle, just as it is for planting and harvesting.

I'm currently in a 'jewelry phase' of creativity right now - pink and sliver bead necklace made last week - these beads have been waiting to be used for over 5 years!

And so, I will leave you with these words of Julia Cameron, author of "The Artists Way Every Day",  a book of daily musings on creating art which I've been recently been reading and enjoying for daily art-full inspiration:
"Our creativity never leaves us. Sometimes, however, its surface appearance fades away. We become parched with longing for our work, but our sources of strength are now not our easy tricks. We are being humbled and opened for greater work to come through us, and that humility feels to us like humiliation, that opening-up feels like a gaping wound. We are deathly afraid that art has left us alone forever, that we will never see the beloveds face or feel its simple touch. 'I was such a fool,' we think. ; I took so much for granted.' And we did. But faced with out drought, we don't any longer, and this is the beginning of humility and honesty. It is the beginning of emptying ourselves so art can again pour through us."
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How you will take time to build your creative identity capital this weekend?
 Feel free to share!

* - I have linked to the concept of "Identity Capital" discussed in this amazing TED Talk by Dr. Meg Jay, but I don't think that building 'identity capital' ends in one's twenties; I believe that building a solid structure of identity capital is a life-long journey and well worth it!

1 comment:

Deborah Weber said...

What an interesting concept "identity capital" is. And I'd have to say your Artist account is brimming! Love seeing your collection of washi taped boxes and your journals, and what a lovely necklace.

Like you, I think having a bunch of creative channels is not only fun and useful when one thing just isn't sparking us at the moment. But I also find having many things that delight me really helps with the cross-pollinating of ideas and inspiration.