Creativity is Alive and Well at the Library

As part of our “Lifelong Learning” series at the library, we have been running a six-week course entitled, “Find Your Creative Self”. It rose out of the interest people have in creativity, and the lack of inspiration we sometimes feel when it comes to making things. After the flood of interest, we thought maybe you’d like to know how things are going.

Most of the course is based around the ideas from two creativity-inspiring books. The first is Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY, and the second is Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC.

waymagicBoth books cover many of the same topics, from identifying the fears that hold us back, to learning to respect and love the act of creating, to championing ourselves when we don’t often feel like we can. But each book takes a different approach–one quite rigid with meaningful exercises and soul-searching, and one more inspiration-based–and we decided to combine the ideas to appeal to a variety of people.

Each week, we do a creativity activity (or a “creactivity”, as I like to call it)–anything from drawing crazy pictures based on a single shape, to making art out of string cheese. Let me tell you, this past week was one of our best activities–where we performed a rousing rendition of “Swinging on a Star” using only found instruments, such as sponges, pool noodles, safety pins and thumbtacks. Bruce Springsteen—look out!

cheeseBut more importantly, the participants have really been making some progress in their creative lives. We’re discovering what’s been holding us back (lack of time!), ways in which we can open up our creative minds (try cleaning out a closet and getting rid of things you never use), and a greater sense of allowing ourselves to be creative. It’s been a struggle, and there have been some near-tears, but we’ve also done a lot of laughing and getting to know new friends and supporters.

Will everyone come out of this with a brand new hobby or career? Maybe not. But I know that most people are enjoying doing new things and trying the challenges they’re faced with each week as a means of exploring their abilities. After the end of the six weeks, we’ll do a little assessment, and see what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown, and hopefully, there will be progress made in the future as they go off and try to approach creativity in new ways. I think, if anything, we’ve all learned to be easier on ourselves. Being creative is supposed to be fun, not guilt-inducing, or self-esteem-crumbling.

Happy creating, everyone!

 

Uncomfortable

For our Frivolous Friday post, I bring you designer Katerina Kamprani’s “Uncomfortable Project”. It’s all about re-designing common household products into frustratingly unusable objects. One look at them, and you’ll see why….but I bet you’ll also be howling with laughter.

bad design ideasHow about a set of stairs that lead just far enough away from a door to be awkward? Or a pot with two handles….on the same side? Or a pair of rainboots with open toes? Right. Terrible designs, but brilliantly funny. Visit her website to see all of her current project ideas, or join her Facebook page for regular updates and design discussion.

These ideas will make you start looking at regular objects in a brand new way, I guarantee. Any ideas of your own? How about a pair of glasses that aren’t joined at the bridge of the nose? Or a round bar of soap? The possibilities are endless, really.

Adults are Colouring!

As a child, I loved colouring. Even now, I’m a constant crafter and I enjoy creating things. But once in a while, it’s nice to be able to “make” something that doesn’t require a lot of head-space, or effort. Colouring is just that.

More and more adults are getting back into the world of colouring. And one of the latest books to head up the best-seller list is SECRET GARDEN by Johanna Basford, followed up by her most recent, ENCHANTED FOREST. And surprise, they’re both colouring books for adults!

enchantedsecret gardenEach book is filled with page after page of elaborate outlines…so all you have to do is grab those markers or coloured pencils and get creating! Great to do in front of the TV, or during a relaxing afternoon in the park. Her books are so popular, they’ve been translated into over 14 languages. Wow!

You can read all about her story here. But if you’re looking for a great Mother’s Day gift, or a cheer-up present for someone in the hospital, this might be a great choice. Or just grab a copy for yourself and let your creativity shine!

If you write a book, don’t lie!

Turns out another author has been caught lying. While I’m sure authors take a lot of liberties when writing fiction, it’s a different thing entirely, when writing non-fiction. The facts must be true, sources must be checked and content must be authentic. In this case, author Jonah Lehrer had trouble on two different matters. 

Booksellers have pulled his book, IMAGINE : HOW CREATIVITY WORKS, from shelves and even the big sellers like Amazon have done recalls.  Turns out that Lehrer used fake Bob Dylan quotes in the book, and it was only because  a journalist and authority on Bob Dylan, Michael C. Moynihan, realized something was up after reading the book that Lehrer found himself in hot water. Moynihan tried checking the sources listed and couldn’t verify the quotes, only to be told that Lehrer had been given access to an unreleased interview with Dylan by his manager. When pressed, he admitted to lying and piecing together some of the quotes, which in turn led to his resignation from his position at The New Yorker magazine. Similarly, he admitted to recycling some of his own articles, written and published at previous posts (such as the Wall Street Journal), for The New Yorker. Guess he didn’t realize the work belonged to his previous employers?

It’s one thing to be creative, but it seems that Lehrer took the idea a little too far and has now damaged his credibility and future prospects. Sometimes, I guess it is all about the money.

Live

I feel like I read the same things over and over on the internet everyday. I follow a lot of blogs, read news online, catch up on entertainment happenings, find out about books and authors and research crafts, just to name a few.  I often follow links from one blog or page to the next and I find that I’ve already read many of the things being posted. It’s probably like that for everyone who uses the internet on a daily basis, but recently, I found a “fresh” site that has me clicking on link after link after undiscovered link. I feel like there’s this whole other internet world out there that someone’s been keeping a secret, but now that I’ve found it, I’m going to share a few links now and again.

Recently, this post popped up on Facebook. Everyone seemed to be sharing it for a while. The ideas are simple and yet profound, and hopefully some of us will take away a fresh outlook on life and live it better. It’s called the Holstee Manifesto, and was created by people who try to live by their manifesto each day, through creative endeavors. Interesting. It might be a little touchy-feely for some, but the idea behind it is to create the life you want, don’t just let it happen to you. I think more of the younger generation could use a bit of this in their everyday life.

And now there is a video.  Just a nice way to spend a few minutes and maybe it’ll inspire you to create something. Go ahead.  It’s good for you!

Make things

My niece is almost seven and she likes to make things.  Not just your regular seven-year-old items like mud pies or forts out of blankets.  No, she likes to make things like bouncing remote controls (a remote attached with duct tape to a bouncing ball) and ink for your pen in case it dries out. Now, none of these things will probably ever be patented, but it’s in her blood to make things regardless.

So I came across a site today called Make, which is based on a magazine of the same name.  They have all kinds of great things to make, most of which are technology based, but not all. And they even have a kids site, with fun things to make for the younger set, such as chalkboard paint! Maybe I’ll dig up a few ideas and try them out with her some weekend.

There are plenty of ideas here for people who just like to make things, and also some great gift ideas for people you might know who like to make things.

What do you like to make?

In a rut?

brainstormer-500x496

Writers often go through times of inactivity called “writer’s block”.  Just how they manage to get themselves past a time without being able to write is a very personal thing.  Sometimes, authors choose to move to a different location to write, or they change their writing schedule in order to spark creativity. Now, creativity booster Andrew Bosley has come up with a unique application to help artists (and writers, or whoever else might need a little inspiration) generate those creative sparks.  His Brainstormer application allows you to spin the wheel and land on a random combination of words, or spin only one section at a time.  Try it out and see if your creativity is sparked!