Creativity is an interesting thing. A lot of people think you either have it or you don’t, but I don’t really think it works that way. In Living the Creative Life, Rice Freeman-Zachery states “creativity is less about having the ideas and more about working with ideas” (pg. 21). In essence, its having the ability to actually make something of your day dreams.
A lot of people are creative in non “arty” ways. The beautifully stylish, and well put together friend, who clearly has a very finely tuned visual aesthetic. That friend who is a visionary cook, crafting beautiful flavours. The one who comes up with amazing spaces for their children to play in. There are so many ways to be creative in everyday life.
As an artist, theres a perception that I am a never ending source of creativity and ideas. In truth, thats often not the case! Sometimes creativity needs a little push, and some effort to see things differently.
So where do I find my creative spark? Well, there’s the obvious one, the internet. I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest and other blogs. There are so many people, doing such lovely things in the world. So many beautiful ideas to draw upon.
Pinterest is a particular favourite of mine. So many visual resources at your fingertips! I used to collect images in visual diaries. I have at least 10 books floating around in my studio, full of little clippings from various things. Now, more often, I use pinterest. Pictures of birds, flowers, vintage prints, artists I love, beautiful spaces… Its almost endless. I find it can also be a bit of a vortex though. You can easily lose yourself in all of the gorgeousness, and find yourself overwhelmed by the perfection. Too much instagram and pinterest can actually be a bit demotivating. So much pretty! How can I possibly compete? Sometimes its good to step away, seek your inspiration elsewhere.
So where else can you find inspiration?
Children. There’s something so lovely about the way young children like to stop and spot the tiniest things when you go for a walk. A tiny flower hidden somewhere, little bugs, a beautiful plant in someone’s garden. If you stop and listen, children can help you see the world from a different perspective. So much of my colouring book, Hidden Places, was inspired by walks with my daughter around the local neighbourhood.
Memories. I will often draw upon my memories of a place, a person, a smell, when I’m looking for ideas. There are particular flowers that remind me of people, that I find myself drawing over and over (Camelias pop up all the time, whether I want them to or not!)
Book shops. A wander around a beautiful book store will always get my imagination flowing. Kinokuniya is my all time favourite, but I also love Modern Times and Better Read then Dead in Newtown.
Art shops. I could spend ages in an art shop. Just wandering around, looking at all of the materials, imagining the possibilities. Sometimes I have to stop myself from buying random pieces of beautiful paper. There is only so much space in my studio! Ditto for fabric shops.
Playing with my vintage silk collection. The colours are always inspiring. One of the things I love most about Japanese silk, is the unexpected colour combinations.
Reading. So much of what I make is “pretty”. Which is nice, I love pretty things! But often, I feel like I need something deeper then my work just being beautiful. At the moment I am reading Hugh MacKay’s “The Good Life”. It’s got me thinking about things not being too “nice” and about the beauty that can be found in imperfection.
Cookbooks. Obviously, cooking is a big part of my creative life. I spend a lot of time poring over cook books, looking for ideas. I love Jamie Oliver and refer to his books a lot, but more often, I find myself reading my mum’s old books. The Women’s Weekly cookbook from the 1970’s, and mum’s old copy of The Common Sense Cookery Book get a big work out. I find getting an understanding of good basic recipes, helps me to then break them down into allergy friendly versions.
Creative People. My sister is one of the most creative people I know. She can make pretty much anything she sets her mind to! She has a gift for creating beautiful spaces, with a distinct mood, and I often think of her when I’m searching for ideas. Its great to surround yourself with other creative folk (even if its only online!).
There are so many ways to get the ideas flowing. The trick is bringing them to fruition!
So where do you find your creative spark?