Episode 2: Post-Thanksgiving Inspiration and Birthdays Galore

Advent calendar

EPISODE 2: Post-Thanksgiving Inspiration and Birthdays Galore

Post Thanksgiving long-weekend relaxation and Happy Birthday to Dan!

This week Dan jumps into exploring color in his birthday present, which is a brand new adult coloring book. He was really excited to set aside time to explore creativity for creativity's sake - not for work or related deadlines. He has been experimenting with different media, seeing how color effects narrative, visual quality and graphics. The upside of the coloring book is not having to do the initial drawing, but instead just focusing on color in different ways. He has been using water colors, water color pencils, acrylic inks, graphite pencils and india ink. Pretty much anything but markers.

Family Craft Night - Impromptu creativity with our 6-year old daughter in a Saturday night. Introducing her to color mixing and basic color theory. She was super excited and it was a ton of fun. Highly recommended. 

Susan is decompressing from working too many months without a break. She's busy at work on mystery knitting for Christmas, but it's really boring and it's kind of a drag. So instead she's focusing on the apartment and making it look comfortable for the holidays. As a family, we decided to dial back the over-the-top aspects of Christmas this year, while adding some new family rituals. Susan sewed a simple Advent Calendar and is excited to bring it out in future years. She used found objects around the apartment and bought some new fabric to add to it. She added paper and used her daughter's alphabet stamps to add select lyrics from "It Came upon a Midnight Clear" (a personal favorite). She also made an advent candle centerpiece and is looking to add some ritual and structure to the holiday season.

Susan is still obsessing about tapestry weaving, but still doesn't have a loom to work on. So instead, she's doing research. She signed up for Creativebug.com and watched a few weaving tutorials. She also watched lots of videos for inspiration on kid-friendly projects and to keep the creative fires burning more generally. Creativebug is a cool platform for crafting, with a wide variety of different content areas - like Craftsy, but shorter-form and smaller, easily digestible chapters. There is a lot of sewing content, both hand sewing and machine sewing, as well as fabric design and textile arts. At $5 per month, a membership seems worth it so far.

Susan's creative challenges this week are based in being tired from work, life and the rat race. Also, not having the right tools is frustrating. She a little worried that the spark will go away before she can jump into tapestry weaving.

Dan's challenges are getting over the hump of being exhausted from work, life and Artomatic. So he is making an effort to find creative time rejuvenating instead of feeling like a chore or "work". He's working on giving up the need to be end-result focused. Finding time to expire creativity for creativity's sake is important and new. He's working to give up the need to finish and produce. Rather, he's embracing learning, instead of dropping something when it isn't working right the first time - cultivating "happy accidents". 

Discussion of "process" vs. "product" creating, a concept that is regularly discussed in knitting circles.  Is motivation driven by the action or the final product? Discussion of how to find motivation when feeling uninspired or stuck. And how this changes over time as we progress in our practice. Susan and Dan are both embracing process. Dan discusses photography and the relationship between technical skill and play. Preparing for Artomatic vs. his time as a studio photographer with heightened focus on production deadlines. This week Dan entered into a juried show and is waiting to hear about the selection results - his first entry in 20 years.

Dan is inspired by technology and learning new media as a source of inspiration. Finding inspiration in technology and tools. Dan loves manuals. 

Susan is reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's Gilbert's take on being inspired and creative. Gilbert shares her philosophy that ideas exist outside of people and are searching for a host, a person to manifest the idea in real form. An interesting read and highly entertaining, very funny. Susan is enjoying that it highlights creativity for mere mortals. 

Susan's goals for the week are driven by getting ready for the kiddo's birthday party, which will suck up time, but should be fun in the end. She needs to move through Christmas knitting boredom. She's also going to keep looking at weaving videos and learning without actually making anything. She's also  working on the creating a comfy Christmas holiday environment in the apartment.

Dan is going to keep working with color and get the ball rolling on a new nonprofit project that focuses on community outreach. He's excited to lead a group creative process.