My Creative Story

As I peel back the layers and expose my creativity in Kim Klassen’s Beyond Layers class one of the challenges or prompts is to tell my creative story. This was our first prompt last week, but it has taken me almost a week to conceptualize this story and sit here to share it with you.

I hope you’ll grab a nice cup of your favorite beverage and take this journey with me.

As a youngster I did my fair share of coloring, but I was not one prone to start an art project – give me a book and I would be lost for hours. One of my favorite photos of me as a child is of me lying on the floor with my legs bent at the knee with a book in front of me. At first glance you see a child reading, but if you inspect that photo closely you will find I have fallen asleep!

Now my Mom was one to have you involved in several activities and having studied Early Childhood Education she also had many projects for us that included painting and creating. I eagerly joined in, but I can’t say I was pleased with the outcome so I concluded art was not for me.

Early on I did have fascination with cameras and even had a Kodak Instamatic that I used to capture early memories. This would be the closest I came to being creative – or so that’s what I thought at the time. I’m not sure if it was my efforts to emulate my Dad or an early notion of recording history, but photography planted itself in my life and has since become a fixture. By the time I was about 13 or 14 my parents gave me my first and only 35mm Nikon FG that I still own and use from time to time today.

As a voracious reader it would naturally follow that I would love the written word and follow some sort of literary path. My path was not literary, but journalistic. I’m not sure when, but I was fascinated with the news and newspapers specifically. So I took all the English classes offered in school including AP and studied journalism in college. While seeking out English classes I avoided Art classes if at all possible. Unfortunately, I came up during a time when Art and Music were still a part of the curriculum so I really didn’t have a choice. I toiled through the assignments and my Mom even displayed my art.

Creative – not me. As a journalist with a weekly newspaper I used my camera to help tell my stories, and to document family events and my travels. I never looked at this as being creative. Over the years I learned how to do page layout and design at the newspaper, which I used later to create computer generated cards and invitations – creative, not me.

I didn’t take to crafts either. My Mom and sister loved crafts from needle point to sewing and finally knitting – not me. When my Mom took up knitting she and my sister tried to get me to join but my response was “I have two left thumbs.” I did give it a half-heart try, but to no avail. Then a few years later my sister announced she was pregnant with her first child and I decided I would try knitting again. I knit a cute, but imperfect blanket for my niece and I was hooked. Creative – not me.

About a year later when I was planning my wedding I created the invitations and a friend of my Dad’s – a tenured Art Professor and Artist received the invitation and was so impressed he framed my “artwork” and gave it to me. Creative – maybe I am.

My framed “Art” Wedding Invitation

Since that time I have taken up card making, I knit regularly and I have created wedding invitations for a few people. I have also taken up photography again. Today I still struggle with the designation of “Creative” but I’m working on accepting the “Creative” in me with Beyond Layers and renewed confidence.

Wrist Warmers I knit for a friend.
As I close I want to give a shout out to my “Cyber” friends! Over the past year I have met many women who have offered a wealth of advice for free, but more importantly have given me and many others the confidence needed to continue honing our skills. Also, the many participants in e-classes who have offered their kind words when viewing my work – it gives me hope and inspiration! The ladies I speak of include but are not limited to Shutter Sisters, Karen “Chookooloonks” Walrond, Kim Klassen, Kat Sloma, and Big Picture Classes.

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Photography Links

Today I’ve spent much of the day just perusing the internet checking out some of the wonderful photography sites. One of my passions that has been pushed to the rear over the last several years is photography, and in 2011 I plan to change that.

Here are some of the links those of you interested in photography might also find interesting:
  • Shutter Sisters – A photoblog championing the beauty found with women behind the lense. It is a place for women to showcase their art as well as receive regular inspiration.
  • Northeast Kingdom Photography – This specific link is to the ABC’s of Photography, but the entire site is worth a viewing.
  • 365 Words Through Photos – Looking for inspiration or a unique perspective to jump start your creative juices, then join Jen Hannux on this daily journey.
  • One Word Project – Shutter Sisters offers this great tool, similar to the one above to help spark creativity and to urge you to express yourself through photos. This challenge is monthly as opposed to daily.
  • Mastering Manual Mode – If you’re looking to get more out of that DSLR you received for Christmas, this is the place to do that. The class starts in February, but promises to help you learn all about the new camera and how to use it in other than the “Auto” mode.
  • Big Picture Classes Online – Don’t let the name fool you, the crew over at Big Picture offer online classes in more than just photography. It is also a great place for scrapbookers too.
There are many more that I’m sure I missed, but these should get the juices flowing. If you know of a cool photography site, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment with a link.

Getting Back My Creative Mojo

I am once again attempting to get my creative mojo back. I started the week off with a bang, but each passing day has found me lacking. I have however found some really interesting sites that may help to re-ignite the muse. I think that part of my problem is the fact that I have so many interests, and only a few hours in a day to enjoy them. I consistently say that work gets in the way of life, and that is so very true when it comes to moving the creative juices.
I think the juices started to flow thanks to my all day Saturday session at Creative Creations Papercrafts, where i spent nearly eight hours creating a slew of Christmas cards. There were a number of really interesting techniques and stamps and the icing on the cake was the fact that I picked up my Big Shot Express that is supposed to help me do all of the embossing that I am dying to do. Well instead of coming home and playing around with my new toy I went out with the hubby and spent the evening and early morning dancing and having a good time. What’s so bad about that you ask, well in actuality nothing except for the fact that the next day I was wiped out! I’m not as young as I used to be and I have been trying to recuperate all week.
On the writing front I did at least post a new list of freebies in my efforts to purge a large portion of my personal library, but that didn’t take a lot of energy or creative juices to get it started. So what creative projects should I be working on? Well there are two book reviews and I’m not sure why I am procrastinating with these because I truly enjoyed both books. At the root of this problem I think is a feeling that the reviews won’t be good, but I’ve got to start somewhere – right? The second project was NaNoWriMo which I started, but I think that I gave up that idea almost as soon as I wrote the first 700 or so words.
The problem there was starting with a totally new project that I had not really thought through clearly. I still think I want to write the story, but I’m not sure if it is a novel and I won’t know that until I do some more research. So I’m at a standstill in the writing area although I do have a couple of projects that I could and should pull out and begin to work on.
Next there is knitting and boy do I have a number of projects that I could and should be working on! I started some foot warmers that I hope will be a Christmas present, but if I don’t begin knitting soon I won’t get those done. This is usually a pretty productive knitting time for me and could be this year as well because I do have a few people that have requested hats etc.. and I would like to get the sticks going, but here again is that procrastination.
This procrastination doesn’t surprise me. I think it may have something to do with the loss of my Mom this past February. She introduced me to knitting and we regularly attending a number of knitting workshops at this time of year in preparation for the holiday season. So to say that it is hard to get into some of our shared activities is definitely an understatement.
Then there is the whole holiday thing. From Thanksgiving until after the first of the new year I am usually in such an upbeat and happy mood and I just don’t know how I’m going to muster it this year. Part of me is saying that it would be almost sacriligious to enjoy this time of year, but the other says Enjoyment, Family and Festivities are all the things that my mother would want me to engage in this year – even more so than in the past.
With that positive thought I am thinking about participating in an online photography workshop – Picture the Holidays, which is designed in part to help the participants find and keep the joy of the season. It’s reasonably priced and may be just what the doctor ordered to get me into the spirit.
I found out about Picture the Holidays through some random surfing yesterday, and I really enjoyed the site Shutter Sisters! I think I’ll become a frequent visitor and hopefully participant. They have some great projects and ideas over there, so if you have any interest in photography I’d stop on over there.