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Oh look!  Another three day holiday weekend, and another time for me to forget that yesterday was Sunday, not today.  I just can't seem to help it.  In my mind, the last day of the weekend is Sunday!  So, if you were looking for a post yesterday, I'm really sorry!  I thought it was Saturday.  I hope you were off doing something more fun than waiting around at the keyboard, though. 😉

I had a lot of fun this week looking at what creative things I do.  How about you guys?  Did you run into any old artsy friends you haven't done in a while?

Here's my list of creative pursuits:

  • Writing
  • Art journaling
  • Photography
  • Embroidery
  • Beaded embroidery
  • Mixed media painting
  • Mixed media arts (collage, ATCs, altered books)
  • Cooking
  • Knitting
  • Oil painting
  • Bookbinding
  • Art quilting
  • Jewelry and prayer bead making

I think that's the list--there might be a few things I've tried out but haven't pursued beyond learning the basic techniques.

When I looked at the list with an eye to how these activities relate to each other, I found that there's actually a lot of cross pollination.

For example, when I learned to knit, I taught myself.  I just knit a few inches, pulled it out and did it again until I got the hang of it and stopped dropping and adding stitches.  And now I've noticed that whenever I want to learn something new, I find a way to do a small version, often multiple small versions, to practice on before I make a full project.  I'm actually, finally learning to sew this way!  I know this doesn't seem like a big thing, but it's not how I tended to work before I taught myself to knit, and now since it worked so well for that I do this all the time.

Another major shift in how I do things came when I learned the beaded embroidery style that I'm very in love with now.  I used to do cross stitch, then I expanded to other embroidery styles, and then I found this magnificent beaded embroidery style which is pretty much all I ever want to do now.  It's a free style, because you can't actually plan ahead where all the beads are going to go; you just go along one bead at a time, looking at the piece after every few beads to see what else is needed where.

And you know what happened to my rather precise, tidy, attractive but sedate mixed media pieces like my ATCs and altered book pages?  They started getting wild, which is something I had always wanted.  I learned from my embroidery to have a look at the piece and just add a little bit at a time, not worrying about the finished piece, just looking for what bit it needs next.

I haven't really figured out how I might make these connections happen purposefully.  I think what we'll all need to do for that is look at our processes in our creative activities.  Once we can see how we do things, it will be easier to see how the processes we use can be used for other types of projects.

I'll keep an eye on this, and if I get any insights on how to purposefully use these cross connections, I'll keep you posted.

I'm going to be on a bit of a break this week, so I'll return next week Tuesday (September 14) with our next installment.  Meanwhile, have some fun and make some things!

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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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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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