Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wasting Time on Facebook

The other day someone posted on Facebook something to the effect that they would be able to get more accomplished if they could just manage to stay off the computer for 90 consecutive minutes. "Oh yeah," I thought, "that's so true!" But the fact is that every so often you can find real gems out there and that's what happened to me today. I was just going to check Facebook quickly and I ended up watching to a 35 minute lecture on creativity by John Cleese. I posted the link on my Glynt Pottery page but when I just went to copy the link to post it here there's a message that says that the video "John Cleese - A Lecture on Creativity" was deleted at 7:04:41 Tue Apr 10, 2012. That's a shame because it was quite interesting and funny to boot! So, I'll try to post here what I remember of it.

John Cleese points out that creative people have the ability to play and engage in less purposeful actions. Creativity does not arise when working under pressure. Cleese says that for creativity to flow, five things are needed: 1. Space; 2. Time; 3. Time; 4. Confidence; and 5. Humor.

Numbers 1 and 2 refer to creating set boundaries of space and time that become an undisturbed, secluded oasis to engage in creative endeavors. The space can be, of course, your studio, and you should set a specific period of time during which you will be in your "oasis." Number 3, time again, is not a typo. It refers to how to use the oasis (say, 3 hours of undisturbed time in the studio) that has been created. Once you are in your oasis, it becomes easy to start doing trivial things rather than deep creative work. Thus, it's important to sit with it and not go for the first thing that comes to mind. Number 4 is confidence. "Fear of making mistakes stops creativity." So, it's important to experiment and be playful, knowing that whatever the outcome, it's okay... nothing is wrong. And finally, Cleese says that humor is essential to spontaneity and playfulness. Laughter leads to relaxation, which leads to humor, which results in creativity.

Another important point made in the lecture refers to the importance of having other people to play with. We should not become isolated in our creative efforts, but rather have a group of kindred souls to bounce ideas off. However, these must be people who are positive and do not make you feel defensive.

I don't think that any of these ideas are especially novel, but there's something to hearing them expressed in a humorous, coherent and accessible way that serves as a reminder to go to the studio, sit at the wheel, and play!

So, this is what I played with today: taking the berry bowls up a notch into large fruit bowls. And I also made a couple mugs with lids and tea infusers.

April 11:

There's a new link for the video. It's on YouTube now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VShmtsLhkQg&feature=share . I hope they don't take this one down. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Check out Sewtype on Etsy!

It all started when I got a new phone last September and needed a case for it. Of course, the first thing I did was search on Etsy and I ended up at Christine Russell's shop, Sewtype. I got the perfect phone case in a fabric I picked out. It has a long strap and a small pocket just the right size for a credit card, driver's license and a couple of dollars. Now, when I pick up the grandkids after school I don't need to carry my bag, all I need is the small case strapped over my shoulder!

I was so pleased with the phone case that I decided I needed a quilted bag in the same fabric. But I wanted it to have pockets all around the inside. "No problem!" said Christine. She quickly understood what I was looking for and just as quickly I had my custom order bag in my hands. Now I am perfectly organized and no longer lose my keys, pens, glasses in the bottom of my bag. The final item I got, also in the same fabric, was a card case for my business cards.

Christine has been sewing since she was 4-years old, learning from her mother to make doll clothes. For most of her life, she made her own clothes as well as wedding dresses for 3 nieces. She started her business when her husband suffered a stroke and she needed to stay close to home to help him. Sewing and typing were her best skills but she didn't need any more clothes for herself, and typing jobs didn’t provide the calming diversion she was looking for. So Christine started experimenting with quilted bags and then moved on to diaper bags when a niece had a baby. This was followed by baby blankets. And the rest is history: Sewtype on Etsy was born!

Please visit her wonderful shop, and tell her Grace sent you!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Showing Up

 I've been in a bit of slump so far this year and gotten a very slow start. Steven Pressfield notes that "The more you love your art/ calling/ enterprise, the more important its accomplishment to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it." Maybe that's what's going on ... or maybe I just need to take a break for a while. But I feel thoroughly uninspired. I know that what I need to do is show up to work every day, even if only for a couple of hours. I need to keep doing my clay work every day.

So this is what I did this weekend: yarn bowls with matching mugs. I made a couple of them last year and although they did not sell together, I think that it's a good idea so I'm going to make more of them and start marketing them better.