Pinterest screen shot

I joined Pinterest back before it was a thing. It seemed like fun, but I didn’t really have much time to play around there. Then I got concerned about reports I was hearing of Pinterest’s deceptive affiliate links, so I consciously avoided the site for a while. There was also the issue of Pinterest’s user agreement, in which the user assumes all liability for any copyright infringement of anything they post. (See a discussion of this issue in photographer Trey Ratcliffe's Variety Hour video podcast series, at the end of this post.)

But honestly? I don’t pin retail stuff. I’m more interested in craft how-to’s and creative inspiration. Plus a bunch of my Facebook contacts have recently been joining Pinterest, which makes it more fun. So I’ve been hanging out there a bit lately.

I’m not playing Pinterest to win, though. It’s truly just a place to put some of my favorite inspiration. Like these rooms. I could live in them.

Update: Saturday, May 26. I spent a whackload of time on Pinterest last night, just browsing through random people’s boards. SO MUCH FUN. I’m trying to figure out what it is I like about it, and I think it’s that it reminds me of flipping through a really interesting magazine. Whenever something catches my eye, I stop and take a closer look, or click through to the original post (usually for craft or beauty tutorials). Plus I edited my boards a bit. When I look through the photos of rooms I could live in, I see my dream home. Eerie.

what i believe about creativity

light behind ajar door

Yesterday I talked a bit about creativity. Here’s some other stuff that I believe about creativity, from my blog of daily creative prompts, Mirificationis.

My creativity creed

I believe that I’m merely the instrument for the creative impulse. I don’t know where the ideas come from, but they definitely don’t come from me.

I believe that the best thing I can do is get out of the way of the creative work, and let it unfold the way it wants to.

I believe that creativity – being the vessel for the creation of new things – is the reason we exist.

I believe that I’m my best self when I’m taken over by the creative genius.

I believe that creativity is not a rare talent. Everyone can do it (or remember how).

After all, every five year old believes they’re an artist.

I believe your life will be better if you can find that five year old.

creativity is overrated. discuss.

green Crayola crayons

I’m still thinking about this conversation about creativity that I had with Meg Wolfe on Google+. The gist: Why are people so self-conscious and blocked about their creativity? Possible answer: Maybe the commodification and commercialization of creative products has something to do with it.

What do you think?

front door collage

collage on my front door

Tonight I took down this collage of magazine tear sheets and photographs that had been up on my front door since last fall. Once summer comes, my apartment is going to get really warm, and I like to cool things off by getting rid of visual clutter and sticking to a white palette wherever I can.

I’m going to miss this collage, though. I created it as part of Karen Walrond’s Chookooloonks Pathfinder course. It was like a vision board, only less permanent. All the images are going to go into one of my art journals, now.

front door collage Hipstamatic

The next two shots are of my front door as seen from my hallway. I took them one recent morning at dawn, when the sun was just starting to peek over the treetops, and was shining golden pools of light on my walls.

moody lighting Hipstamatic

moody lighting in my hallway

crayon rubbings

red crayon rubbing

I was standing in my kitchen last night brushing my teeth when I noticed that the bottom of a discarded baby spinach container – you know, those huge ones full of pre-washed salad greens – had a textured bottom. Hmm, I thought. I could rub that. With crayons, and a piece of paper.

Out of the recycling bin it came, along with a plastic mushroom tray that also had some neat textures on it. I cut the bottom of the spinach container away from the sides, and tried to peel off a label adhered to the bottom. When it wouldn’t totally come, I covered it with packing tape, so at least the paper I was trying to rub wouldn’t stick to it.

Above and below are the first rubbings I made, on scraps of paper I keep for collage projects. The red one is a positive rubbing, while the blue-green one is a negative rubbing (i.e. I flipped over the piece of plastic). So much fun…

blue crayon rubbing

slow down. sense. deeply connect. dance.

Subway dancer

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m taking Karen Walrond’s Path Finder e-course this fall. The course started this past week, and one of the exercises was to rediscover the things that individually light us up inside. The things that give us joy – that make us feel excited and alive.

We were supposed to pick three or four things from our list as touchstones for the coming weeks (and beyond), but I love doing so many things that I couldn’t decide. Cooking, eating, drawing, singing, walking, taking photographs, writing, reading, listening to music, doing yoga – they all bring me joy.

So I thought more deeply about what it is about those activities that makes me so happy. And I noticed that many of the things I love doing involve using my senses – immersing myself in a pleasure moment. Other activities – especially when I’m creating – make me feel deeply connected to something larger than myself. And finally, there are many things that I do – walking, Alexander work, exercising, yoga – that involve moving, and the pleasure that I get from being alive in this physical body.

Sometimes, though, I’ve noticed that even when I’m doing things that I typically love, I’m not enjoying them. I’m not there. I’m feeling scattered, anxious, or I’m stuck in the past or the future. So I decided to add two more words to my list: Slow down. When I slow down, I soothe the anxiety and come back home to the present.

Slow down. Sense. Deeply connect. Dance.

These are my words. They feel good.

This photo was originally taken to illustrate a dream I had earlier this year. I was in an underground subway station, dancing in my bare feet on the subway platform. It felt like flying. I called the dream “Subway Dancer.”


My desk

I’m not sure how it happened, but I signed up for three e-courses this fall. I blame the changing seasons.

Actually, that’s not true. I know exactly how it happened, and it’s not the seasons’ fault. I’ve recently untethered myself from a lot of extra-curricular work, desperately wanting to focus on being well, and spending more time on my creative pursuits. Only now that I have abundant free time dedicated to whatever activity I choose, I feel paralyzed. I’m hoping to move past that.

The e-courses are being offered by Karen Walrond (The Chookooloonks Path Finder), Gwen Bell (Align Your Website) and Ev Bogue (Taking Your Book to the Web). So far (a week or two into the courses), I’m finding that there’s a great, synchronistic intertwining of content.

Karen’s course is the most intensive – there are journalling exercises and introspective questions in my email inbox every weekday. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy free-flow, stream-of-consciousness journal writing. I’ve also reconnected with some of the activities that I love the most – what Karen calls the things that “light” you up.

Gwen and Ev’s courses have made me think really deeply about my online presence, and how I present my work to the world. Ev especially asks the hardest questions in all of his work, and I find myself peeling back layer after layer of assumptions, like stripping an antique piece of furniture of dozens of layers of paint, in order to reveal the grain of the wood hidden underneath.

I feel tender and naked and vulnerable as I do this work. None of those are bad things. I’m just hoping I can get a little more comfortable with the uneasiness of too many unanswered questions…

on waiting for inspiration

Spots, an art journal spread

I posted two quotes about creativity here and here on my Tumblr blog yesterday. They came from an old issue of Organic Style magazine that I was reading in a relaxed moment.

I love waiting for inspiration to visit me.

I often keep some of my artwork or sketches out in plain view so that the colours and images can percolate in my unconscious and lead me to the next thing. Recently I’ve had this art journal spread on display in my front room. I’ve been obsessed with trying to come up with a quilt design that uses these colours and this layout.

My wall-o'-shelves, 20110801
Art journal displayed on my wall-o'-shelves
Detail of art journal spread
Detail of art journal spread
Detail of art journal spread
Detail of art journal spread
Detail of art journal spread
Detail of art journal spread

This was the first design that came to me one day.

Quilt design sketched in my Moleskine

But it wasn’t quite right. A few days later, it all came together.

Quilt design sketched in my Moleskine
Quilt design sketched in my Moleskine
Quilt design sketched in my Moleskine

What I love about this design is that the quilt blocks are oriented on the diagonal, and I’ve managed to translate the thin red lines around some of spots in the original drawing into the blocks. Now to find time to actually make the quilt…

Quilt design sketched in Moleskine
Quilt design and art journal inspiration