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How many of you do more than one art or craft form?  I do--sometimes I have to rein myself in, because I could easily get seduced by every need-to-buy-new-supplies craft that comes along.

This week, I'd like to examine the ways our various creative activities inform each other.  I'm interested in finding out if perhaps we can purposefully choose activities that give a boost to each other--not just the expected creative pairs like painting and drawing or writing fiction and writing memoir.  I'm interested in more obscure, less expected pairings.

Make a list of your creative pursuits. Make sure you include things like dancing, cooking, gardening--anything you do that may fall outside the typical things we think of when we think about creativity.  Then examine ways these activities might influence each other.  Look for the subtle, maybe even subconscious ways this happens, and also consider ways you might purposefully help these connections to occur.

Have fun with this.  Consider it a chance to play with all your creative loves.  Let me know what you discover about how your creative activities play together.

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This back-to-school time of year with its hints of new beginnings and nearly infinite possibilities just gets me so excited to do things and accomplish things and start things!  It also makes me want to buy notebooks and pens, but we won't talk about that little addiction just now.

I decided to take that new beginning vibe in the air and use it to look at the intentions I set for this year--Create, Explore, Thrive--see how I'm doing with them and make some changes or additions as needed.

Our homework this week: take stock of our intentions for the year, figure out where we are, what we've already done, what we'd like to do for the rest of the year.  And maybe buy a new notebook and pen to make notes about it all!

Leave a comment and let me know if you're up for a reevaluation of things and a late-year motivation boost, and we can do this together.

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14

Finally it's time!  The Mad Tea Party 2010 has arrived!  I'm so excited to tell you all about it.

Of course, I've been preparing for ages. Ages!  I packed the basket to carry the tea party into the woods--I've heard that's where all the best tea parties take place.

Hmm...what's that?  It seems someone has added a bottle of something to my basket.

No matter.  I'm sure it will look quite nice on the table.  I do wonder who it's talking to, though.

Maybe to the Hatter.  I see he's arrived while I wasn't looking.

Might need to give him a table of his own...

The Cheshire Cat must be here, too!  Who else could have snuck in and rearranged the tea pots so?

And indeed it was the Cheshire Cat.  Here he is now.

And I've just heard that the Caterpillar will be here as well.  This should do quite nicely for him--I hear he's very fond of mushrooms.

I believe that's everyone now except Alice and the White Rabbit--they're never on time, you know.  I think we'll put on some music and dance while we wait.

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing in the whimsy and nonsense!  I hope you'll stay for the dancing and join us again next time.  Until then...

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I found a few more thoughts after posting about my Alice project.  I mentioned in that post that I felt I wasn't getting enough whimsy lately.  And I need my whimsy--I love the fanciful, the fairy touched, the dreamy.  I need them in my life.

Whimsy and joy are two big reasons why I do what I do.  I do this for the joy of playing with colors and papers and inks and paints.  I do what I do for the joy of stringing words together to say something that is mine.  I do it for the joy of sharing this with other people who are seeking their own creative paths.

If you are reading this blog, you know the joy of your own creativity, or you at least believe that there can be joy in it.  I am doing this Alice project for my own joy.  And I'm here to remind you that we must seek our joy.  It is what will keep us alive and vibrant. And joyful.  So just remember (and I say this to myself as well as to you): as you seek out projects, activities, things to spend your time and heart on,  remember to always do it for joy.

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2

Some of us more so than others...

Edit: For Tea Party visitors, the actual tea party post is here.  Enjoy!

I have a confession to make.  I love Alice in Wonderland.  Really love it.  Unabashedly, unreservedly adore anything and everything Alice.  I was nearly beside myself when the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie was announced.  I'm currently working on an Alice themed art project for a swap. Which is why, when I saw this project, I sensibly decided not to get involved.

The problem is, I didn't really have anything planned for this week's experiment.  And I kept running across references to that Alice project that I was not going to do, no way, no how, I don't have time, I'm not doing it.

But it's Alice!  And there's magic there.  And whimsy.  And I think maybe I've been a bit short on whimsy lately.  And it's Alice!  So I'm doing it.

If I had just given in to this a few weeks ago, I could do something really fantastic and fun. Now, with only a few days to go (oh, and a newsletter to wrap up), I'll have to keep a tight rein on myself and disregard most of the wonderful, whimsical ideas floating through my head.  But there will be a tea party, oh yes there will!

See you for tea on Saturday!

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4

Note: this is an older post I wrote, but it's still relevant so I'm putting it back on the site. And writers? Don't skip it because it looks like it's meant for other types of artists. It applies to you, too! I'll add a little note at the end of the post specifically for writers, but all of this is for all of us.

Original post: 

This week, I'm feeling sluggish and stressed and not very creative at all.  I am definitely in the doldrums.

I know we're not always at the top of our game, energetic and inspired and ready to be geniuses, but this is still a hard place to be.  I think somewhere in my mind is a voice telling me that this isn't supposed to happen to me.  I'm the teacher, the coach, the one who helps others out of these tight spots. I'm not supposed to get into them myself, right? Ha!

Of course, we can optimize things so that we have more regular bouts of uber creativity (I'm working on how to make that happen) with fewer slumps, but sometimes you're tired.   You're a little under the weather, you're frazzled and harried and don't quite have what you need to take on a full blown creative project.  But you still want to keep your hand in the game and do *something* creative, make something, do something.  If you're like me, that process of just taking a bit of time to make something small or simple really helps me feel better.  Sometimes I really need to make something to get back in the flow, but at the same time I just don't have the energy and oomph I need to figure out what project to start on.

So what can we do when we don't have the energy for a major project but we still want to do something creative?  Prep work.  Wait!  Don't turn off the screen just yet.  Prep work isn't a bad thing at all.  We need to do it.  The Prep Work Fairy is *not* coming over to do it for us (she called and told me she isn't).  And prep work doesn't require us to be at the top of our game, so it's perfect for the doldrum days.  Plus, if the prep work is done when you *are* fired up and ready to go, you don't have to use your precious, high octane creative energy on the tasks that don't need it.

What are some of the things you can do for prep work?  Of course that depends on your art form or forms, but here are some ideas:

  • Paint and/or stamp backgrounds for art journal pages or collages
  • Wind and sort threads for a needlework project
  • Cut out fabric squares for a quilting project
  • Sketch design ideas
  • Cut or tear pictures and words from magazines for collages

This week, I am going to do a bunch of art journal page backgrounds.  (I won't say I'll do one a day--I know I have a busy weekend coming up, so I know I won't do it.)  I've been wanting to get to my journal more regularly, so maybe having some prepared backgrounds will help with that.

What can you do this week to pave the way for your creative work?

Note for writers: you might do things like setting up files (pages for characters, settings, etc.), finding images that look like your characters and places, things like that. Or you might read some writing articles or blogs. Or you might try some of the above-mentioned non-writing ideas, because sometimes doing something outside your usual creative field is just the thing you need.

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