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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rejuvenating Creativity

One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate my creativity is to head to a library or a bookstore, my preference being the bookstore, since normally, there is a coffee shop attached.  I arm myself with the following:

my laptop
my phone and cord to charge it on the laptop
some cash for coffee
an open mind

When I get to the bookstore, I usually first do one of the following:

A.  Select as many arts, crafts and interiors/architectural/gardening magazines as I can hold. 


B.  Randomly walk through the magazine and books and select items that are as off the wall as I can find or as different from my "normal" selections as I can get.

I take my findings to a table at the coffee shop and usually put a pad of paper and pen or some other item on top of them so people know that someone is sitting there (and so that, in the event that the staff happen to walk through during the next few minutes they won't re-shelve my hard won items).

I order my drink--even on a hot day, I can't help myself.  I love hot chai lattes.  Sometimes I get a little something sweet like a cranberry scone or a piece of lemon bar.  Sometimes I just focus on that venti latte.

Then I spend the next few hours pouring over the magazines and books.  I look at everything--the advertisements, the articles, the pictures. 

Why the laptop and phone?  If I find something that I want to remember or that jogs some other idea in my head, I snap a quick phone picture of it.  If that item really gets my creative energy flowing, I open my Windows One Notes "Creative Juice" Workbook and I type in notes and ideas related to whatever got me intrigued. 

I find that I especially get a "Kick in the Seat of the Pants" (referring to Roger Von Oech's book and creativity cards Creative Whack Pack) when I do option B--finding random items that are far from my normal interests. 

It is astounding what sorts of things can then come up for me.  For example, I was in a sort of "stuck" mode at one point.  I picked up a science magazine (don't recall which at this time) and was inspired by photographs of space and various anomalies.  I then found a magazine (another science one, perhaps the same as with the photos of space for all I know) and it had microscopic photos at a cellular level of various items.  I was supremely intrigued by the fact that...the photos were not all that dissimilar.  This then led me to design a five piece series of enamels on glass that were designed to emulate both types of design.  I plan to do some additional pieces of this type in the future.

It never fails to leave me feeling rejuvenated.  I often regret that the time allotted for this pastime is over. But I always begin that or the next day fully charged and ready with plenty of ideas and plans for creative works.