When you look around, does it seem that everyone else is more creative than you? More productive? Perhaps you feel held back by a lack of confidence, inspiration or simply time.
I’ve got good news for you.
Over twenty years as a designer and artist, I’ve developed habits and ways of thinking that have genuinely released my creativity and allowed me to progress. These ideas now feel so obvious, and so deceptively simple, that I forget I had to learn them.
But sharing them with members of Flourish Textile Art Hub has reminded me how game-changing they can be.
Today I want to share them with you.
Whether you’ve been making art all your life, or simply feel you’d like to try, I hope these ideas expand your sense of possibility. Here we go.
1) ‘Done’ is better than ‘perfect’
Do you have a project languishing unfinished because you’re not happy with how it’s going? Do you hesitate to even start a project because you’re not sure it will work?
My number one tip is this: just get it done. And if you hate the end result, good! You’ve learned something. Make notes about what you do and don’t like, then move on.
2) Keep a sketchbook
Unlike the expectation woven into a pristine white canvas, working in a sketchbook takes all the pressure off. Kept tucked away, no one ever needs to see what’s inside, and this privacy can be liberating.
It’s where you can try things out, record your ideas and make all your mistakes… until you see the beginnings of something exciting.
(If you don’t own a sketchbook and would like to treat yourself, here’s my new ‘Wild collection’, beautifully handmade by the Eloise Bindery.)
3) Set aside regular creative time
Has anyone ever asked you to stop what you’re doing, to sit down and be creative? Thought not! If you wait until everything else is done, it simply never happens.
But developing your artistic skills takes practice. So, if you don’t already, I really recommend carving out a regular slot each week. When I did this, and let my family know it was non-negotiable, it changed everything.
4) Check in before you begin
Once you’ve laid out your materials, it’s really interesting to pause and notice how you’re feeling. Confident and energised? Quiet and thoughtful? Perhaps distracted and uncertain?
Your state of mind will affect the way you work, as well as your response to what you create. Being mindful of this can help you choose the right project to tackle, and to remember that you may feel differently about the results tomorrow.
5) Beware social media!
You know all those spontaneous ‘work in progress’ shots you see on Instagram? They’re not spontaneous. What you see is what they want you to see, and not the things that didn’t work out. Try not to compare your work to this carefully curated content.
And if you want to share your work online, it helps to find a supportive community of likeminded people. I have loved seeing the positivity flowing between members of Flourish Textile Art Hub and on my facebook group.
6) Creative play isn’t just for kids
My absolute favourite strategy is to put aside any preconceived ideas about ‘good art’ and allow yourself to simply enjoy experimenting with colour, shape and form. Taking this playful approach, and following my instincts, is how I’ve created new work for my Artists’ Open House this summer, and I love the results.
Are you ready to experiment?
Even if just one of these ideas has resonated with you, I hope it helps you explore your creativity with a greater sense of freedom.
More than anything, I hope you feel emboldened to enjoy the act of being creative. After all, what is art if not to be enjoyed?