Creatively Thinking

I've been rolling the concept and definition of creativity around my head for a good while. Talking about it to friends, reading what scientists have to say about it, absorbing the work of my fellow makers. Holding definitions, assumptions and conclusions up to the light, seeing where it pushes through. The passionate response I experienced caught me off guard.  As a response to my surprise, it's time to dive deeper, to study, to report back on what I'm exploring.  

This is a first of many rough drafts, I hope it inspires you to look at your world with a new light. 


We are a creative species.  Everyone has potential to be creative, and before you tell me you're not an 'artist'- that is not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about a broader, truer definition of the word. One that encompasses new thoughts, being curious, problem solving.  Our current society has narrowed the vision of creativity down to such a precise point, we aren't allowed to give ourselves full credit to be and become the curious, expressive creatures we are born to be. 

Are you still thinking "but I don't make art, Cat, how can you say I'm creative?", let me say this:

I don't care if you can't paint a portrait, write a sonnet that makes your lover weep, or pluck melodies from a keyboard. Can you cook? Or garden, or program computers? Do you take photos that make you smile? Are you a scientist, an avid reader, a parent? Hell, do you doodle in the margins of your meeting notes?

Do you solve problems?

Did you say yes to any of the above? Did you say yes to something I missed?

Well, then-

You are creative.

We need to open the doors of creativity.

No- we need to bust it down, and flatten the walls. We are better individuals and a better community when we use that part of the brain. Like our muscles, creativity atrophies without use, and it can be reignited through practice. Find something that makes you think, something that makes you want to act. It can be anything, just go make something, write something new down, look at a problem from a different angle, take a class.

When you do new things (and my definition of New is just as broad as the one for Creativity), you use your brain in a different way than when you perform a known task. Our brains need to be challenged, creatively as well as logically.  What are you good at? Can you challenge yourself to become better, or to simplify your method? 

See what happened right there? I asked you to look at something old from a new angle. Did you? Then you just activated your creativity. Bam. 

Now, go do it again. Try to touch base with your creative self every day. Even if it's just for a few moments, blow off the dust and start making friends with it. It's there, you have to find what lights it up, and keep the flame burning.  You can do it. I know it. 


Whew! I'd love to hear what you think, in the comments below or in an email if you're feeling shy or have more to say than a comment section can handle.  We can make the world a better place, if we try new ways to solve problems and take time to play. 

Thank you for reading. Now, go do something new. 

A Year to Come

I start thinking about the end of the year just before Solstice, on my birthday, as we all do. It seemed especially labyrinthine (new word!) this year, with my new year, the Solstice, the Christmas holiday-travel and the New Year feeling like they all happened at once.

It's a time for reflection, self care, beginnings and endings.  Excitement, shedding of the old and well known, nurturing of the mysterious new... This year how I create changed in strong, spark-starting ways.  This year was perhaps, about finding myself within my art. This year, my goal is to take what I've learned and run with it, scattering it like seeds into the world.

I'm ready to trip over scary things, leap with joy with new skills and connections. I want to hone my craft, to tool, stitch, and weave with confidence and share what I create with you, the world.

It's going to be huge.

These are the things I hope to accomplish in this new calendar year, in addition to continuing to do what I've found this past year. I split them up between art and self, but we all know it's really the same list.

for my Work

  • Be in the Studio every day. Even if it's just sitting in the quiet in my grandmother's chair.
  • Write more about my real world of creating. The balance of creating what makes my soul sing vs. having a day job, paying bills, learning new methods of moving through my art, sleeping enough while trying to make enough art.
  • Explore different options of photographing my work
  • Make the clogs
  • Paint more, on leather and paper
  • Practice for practice's sake
  • Collaborate with patrons to make belts & bags
  • Weave more custom scarves (this is going to be exciting!)
  • Explore wet felting as a cocoon making option
  • Teach those who want to learn

for my Heart

  • Move my body more often. Be it at the gym, yoga class, or on the living room floor, I found myself missing the quiet of physical, blood-pumping movement this year.
  • Bake bread, eat it with cultured butter
  • Cook more dinners, and try new recipes
  • Keep my heart open
  • Remember to breathe
  • Drink hot tea (and whiskey) slowly, savor the moment
  • Putter about the yard
  • Take trips
  • Nap in the hammock
  • Visit with friends, near and far (dessert dates, letters, phone calls)

I'll continue to explore my mediums, work with intent. I'll snuggle the kitties and humans I adore, drink lots of water, and bake cookies.  I will continue to learn to listen to my true-self, and to ask for help when it's needed. 

This is just the base of the mountain.  I am ready.

What will you do this year?

Cotton in Blue

This scarf is 100% cotton, and was a 100% dye challenge I set myself. 

 

My comfort zone is my beloved wool & silk blend, and wool in general. I've been dyeing these fibers for years, I know what my dyes will do, and can dance with "mistakes" and make them sing.

Cotton is not something I know about. It takes extra chemicals and doesn't respond as vibrantly as wool tends to.  I wanted to experiment with cotton as a potential for making bags, and wearables, of course. I ordered yarn, dye and soda ash. 

Challenge accepted. 

 

  I had no true expectation, so I was pleasantly surprised by the pale mint and blues that I pulled from the dye pot, I think it went quite well. 

This scarf is in the shop right now. 

It is narrow and long enough to wrap a bit, a perfect scarf for the Southern 'winter'. 

The Opening

Hi!!

Guess what? Something really super happened a few weeks ago! This cocoon is the reason for all of my excitement!   To be fair, I'm always excited about cocoons, but this one, this one is going to a Show!

In Public!  

To be seen by people I don't know and have never, will never meet! 

This is my first foray into galleries, and I am thrilled and honored to be part of Fiber at Liberty Town!   If you're in the Fredericksburg, VA area, do go check it out!  The show runs from October 2nd through November 1st.  Let me know if you make it! 

Why Liberty Town?  I used to live in the area, and have been keeping an eye out in general for a show that felt like a good fit for me and my cocoons. A good chunk of my family still lives in there, and it feels good sending one of my pieces home, even if I can't make it up there myself. 

 

 

Fly away home

These three cocoons recently found their home, all together, I like that. 


The process of selling art online is a strange one.  


I had forgotten my phone at home that day. (A lovely surprise) When I checked my email that evening after returning, there it was- the email saying that someone had decided to bring my art into her home.  I was gob smacked for a minute, and then it hit me, the way it always does- that people want what I have made, what I have created with my two hands and heart.  


I’m used to selling at art shows, introducing my art to people that are right in front of the work, touching and hearing the stories behind each piece.  Setting up shop online removes that conversation, and it makes it harder to describe what I’m trying to do when I make art, especially the cocoons.  

Harder might not be the right word… It’s more that I have to dig a little deeper, to make up for the lack of body language and physical proximity.  Writing about my work has made me a better communicator of elusive feelings and forces me to construct words around the work of my hands.  I’d much rather chat with someone, to have help in exploring our vocabulary to explain what each piece brings forth!  

I love my online shop though, it connects me to people that I’ll probably never meet in person.  It allows dear strangers to see what I have to offer the world, and invites them to join in. 

All of this is to say, I suppose, thank you, and welcome!