Friday, February 29, 2008

Creativity Workshop

Last Saturday, my quilt guild hosted a creativity workshop with Amy Climer, an art quilter from Madison. The point of the workshop was to let the creative juices flow, to try some exercises where we might get inspiration, and to work towards letting go of our inner critics. I was a bit hesitant: I know that I don't draw well and haven't attempted things like this since middle school at the latest. But I knew that it was time to try something new, to challenge myself to grow in new directions, and I'll admit that it was really nice to go to a workshop and not to have to pack up my machine and tons of other supplies. And I chose to borrow Ben's chalk pastels, a medium in which I have never worked before. What fun!

Amy is an advocate of The Artist's Way, a book by Julia Cameron and finds much inspiration for her own creativity in its pages. I thought I'd share some of the stuff that I did (or at least the ones that I feel comfortable sharing).

We started off by sharing the magazines we brought along and going through them and ripping out anything that caught our eye, then pasting the images into a collage. Here's mine. It's interesting to see that there is a group of colors that apparently is working for me lately (a rather muted group of colors) as well as to see that I really like elements like maps, plans, and type. Next time I'm struggling for color inspiration, I might give this a shot again and see what emerges.

Another exercised involved reacting to short pieces of music (3.5 to 5 minutes long) in a variety of styles. We listened to five or six different ones and each piece does really evoke a different feeling - and requires a different COLOR. Here are three of mine - the first in response to a "classical" piece, the second to a modern-rock-type piece, and the third to a more African drum piece.

Another exercise involved doing some quick drawings - 20- 40 small ones - of an object found around the house. In some sketches, you might choose to focus in on one small part of the object, in others, you might zoom out, or you might skew the proportions, etc. I had a spatula in one of the two exercises we did. Here are two of the quick sketches I made.

It was really interesting to see other people's drawings of the objects they had. Some sketches could easily be translated in quilt designs and/or quilting designs. I'll have to use this exercise sometime when I'm bored and see what happens. (I'm thinking this could be fun to do sitting through some long meeting.)

After the fact, I learned that Ben probably would have enjoyed attending; I didn't really even think to ask him and feel badly about that. AND I learned that somewhere in this house, he has a copy of The Artist's Way. I'll have to go root around for it and work through a few of the exercise on my own, as I do believe these exercises can be good sources of inspiration.

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