Today we are honored to have Andrea Folsom from Crafting Connections sharing her thoughts with us. ~Zina
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. -e.e. cummings
Creativity is a funny thing. It can at times rise, swell, encompass all that I do and think, feel and craft. Other moments in my life find me staring blankly – at a white page, through my cabinets, out at my day, wondering what on earth I can make. I’d say I’ve been lucky to feel, up to this point, that I’ve lived a mostly creative life. But I don’t think it has anything to do with luck. Not really.
You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself. – Frederick Terral
I have found, in my life, I’ve had to redefine creativity for myself time and again. The biggest, and thus most memorable redefinitions have generally happened around major life events. As I transitioned from child to teen and young adult creativity shifted from being something everyone did, to becoming a way I defined myself as an artist. I had art journals and giant drawing pads and a short-lived major in fine arts to support my new-found identity. But as with anything young-adult, I grew – keeping some aspects of my budding personality, while eschewing the rest (*cough cough* 90’s grunge anyone?!)
Upon beginning my career as a clinical social worker I again found myself redefining creativity – this time away from making and instead towards creative thinking and problem solving. My life felt full – too full – and after an emotional day I often didn’t have the mental space to create. But by redefining creativity as a thought process, I was able to continue to nurture my creative soul.
My most recent redefinition has come with motherhood. Again I’m finding my days busy and full, but now it’s different – a mixture of constant touching, make believe play, growing minds and bodies, worry, joy. My children are very young – just 2 and 4 – and I now often find my life being lived in 5 minute increments as I bounce between caring for my children, work, relationships and home. In a way I’ve combined my past two personal definitions of creativity – I am now both making and thinking creatively – for myself, for my work, and for my children.
By allowing my personal definition of creativity to be fluid,
I have held onto an important aspect of my sense of self
– that of a creative woman.
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. – Neil Gaiman
In regards to creative making – and thinking for that matter – I’ve noticed the more I do, the more I want to do and the more creative ideas I come up with. The sense of accomplishment felt when you’ve made something – even if it has turned out completely different from what you initially envisioned – is inspiring. Small, initial successes fuel future creative risks (which will lead to more successes).
But I’m not talking about becoming a famous painter – though if that is what you are shooting for, by all means, go for it. I’m talking about the success of a dinner well made. I’m talking about canning your first jam. About a doodle you’re proud of. About a game or story or plaything you’ve created that your children love. I’m talking about a creative solution to a problem.
This is the practice and success that can help shape an authentic, creative life.
To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. – Osho
Inspiration is everywhere, but that doesn’t mean we always see it. Sometimes the daily grind of children or work or life at large creeps in, blinding us to the beauty and inspiration in the world around us. Sometimes finding inspiration means looking up while walking – up to the trees, the clouds – out of my head, my to-dos, my worries, and really seeing the world around me. That bird’s nest. Those new flower buds. The scent and feel of the swirling breeze. The sounds of cicadas or falling snow or rain.
Other times inspiration means looking to those closest to me – my children, my close friends. There is something so refreshing about the fashion styling of a 3 year old or the creative use of craft mediums my littlest likes to explore (well, all except eating paint, that is!)
Finally, inspiration can come from within. From those parts of your soul you try not to look at too often. From the experiences that have shaped us over the years. From holding tight to a creative frame of mind – thinking of new ways to do things, new projects or experiences for my little ones, new directions for my own art and making.
So how do you define creativity within your life? Have you found it’s remained constant, or waxed and waned as mine has? I’d love to hear your insights and inspirations for leading the creative lives you live. Let’s chat in the comments.
Andrea Folsom is a writer, editor, creative maker, and eternal optimist. Along with Danielle Reiner, Andrea is the co-founder of Crafting Connections, a creative magazine, and website dedicated to providing you with the tips, tools and inspiration for raising creative children (we focus on ages 2-7+), while learning a bit about yourself along the way! Through Crafting Connections, they share their belief in crafting an authentic, connected, and creative life through the act of making.