Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Creative Wellspring

A frequent comment I hear at shows goes something like this, "So many creative people..." or "Where do people come up with all these ideas..." What strikes me the most about these comments is that I used to be someone who thought that way. I would walk around shows and be stunned at the cleverness or creativity of some artists. How could they ever think of that? I was humbled, and in awe. I knew that I was not someone who could be that creative or clever.

But I have come to learn more about that whole process, and to understand that yes, I can be creative, and more importantly, we all can be. And even though my work as an artist/craftsperson depends upon my creativity in part, creativity is not the sole realm of artists. I came to understand better that there are many other outlets for creativity.

Creativity is something like the proverbial muscle. You need to use it to develop it. But you do not necessarily need to apply your creativity to the arts. You can use it as a parent, or at work, or virtually anywhere you have a problem to solve. Creativity is often just problem solving.

When you start to think about it, you may see that you have been using that creative muscle. You just didn't label it as creative, because you were not using art materials, or doing creative writing, or playing a musical instrument. When I began to understand this better, I saw how much creative energy was going into my kid's birthday parties or Halloween costumes. Or how one of my favorite jobs in the corporate world gave me the most creative freedom. I could define the problem to some degree, and how I was going to answer the question. If you have ever asked the question, "what if?", then you have used your creative muscle.

Don't forget to use your judgement along with that. The Darwin Awards books are full of people who were often quite creative, but completely lacking in judgement!

Start looking at your life and seeing where you have been creative in the past. Begin by giving yourself credit where credit is due. I will revisit the topic of creativity on an on-going basis. It is one that fascinates me, and something that can enrich all our lives.

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