Tag Archives: Creativity

July 29 – Embracing the Gift of Imperfection

by Karen Price

Three hens live at our house — Cinnamon, Clove, and Pepper. The first two are friendly Buff Orpingtons and for the latter is a Black Maran. The buff lay the lighter brown eggs and the Maran lays what is known as chocolate eggs. Who wouldn’t want a chicken that lays chocolate eggs? Now if I just had a goose that laid golden eggs, I’d be all set. Disclaimer: the shell is chocolate-colored, no actual chocolate was used in the making of this egg.

That sad little smaller than a ping pong ball egg was Pepper’s best effort. She hasn’t given me another egg since then. I’m hopeful that she’ll lay many more and perhaps more in line of the size that the other girls offer.

When my husband handed me that wee egg, I immediately felt for Pepper. I’ve had plenty of days when I’ve given everything I had, but all I’d had to show for my work was something tiny and feeble. I walked over to where Pepper was nesting and patted her back. “Thank you,” I told her with sincere empathy. “I appreciate your egg today.” I was very careful not to make fun of her or tell her there was anything wrong with her egg.

I was tender with her as I would want someone to be tender with my efforts at creativity. Often, I will refrain from creating anything, because I am afraid that my results will be less than stellar, that my efforts will be puny and even comical.

Well, sometimes my creations are puny and comical. I’ve made, cooked, and written things that went right into the trash. I once spent days weaving and crocheting a blanket that turned out to be extremely out of shape and just squeehawed. But I kept it. I have it neatly folded and stored away because I learned so much in making it. “It could have been beautiful,” I thought; if I’d known more. But now I see the potential behind the puny effort.

It’s taken me a long time to boldly go and make terrible things. It’s part of making excellent creations. Of course, I’ve had to come to terms with the concept that when I’m learning, I have to plan on making something twice. Make, tear out, repeat. Or sometimes — make, laugh, toss and recreate.

I’m going to go off and making some things today. I will remind myself that I embrace the gift of imperfection. Perhaps I’ll make something really grand, maybe not. And as I allow myself that adventure, I want to pass it on to those I encounter as well.

Karen blogs regularly at thebestoftimesfarm blog and this post originally appeared there and is published here with permission of the author.
Karen says, “I am at a point in my life where I have everything I wanted and am doing just about everything I’ve ever dreamed of. We have our own little hobby farm with a little herd of goats. Life is to be celebrated and I’m celebrating!”

 

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February 6 – Take Back Your Crayons


by Monica Devine

Remember when you were a little kid, and the actions of drawing and coloring flowed freely, without thought, angst or reservations? One of my fondest memories is getting a brand new box of 64 Crayola Crayons, usually at the beginning of a new school year, opening them up and smelling them! Yes, I smelled them, and have discovered that I’m not alone. Lots of “kids” my age would get a head rush from the smell of fresh crayons (I heard Crayola puts vanilla in their mix). Pair that with a brand new coloring book (I loved coloring within the lines) and voila…pure happiness! A few years ago, on a long…very long…ferry boat trip from Alaska to Washington state, I brought along crayons and a set of mandalas to color (mandala means center, circumference, or magic circle in Sanskrit).
I discovered again, the joy of coloring.

What I have known all along, but have most recently begun to REMEMBER is that there is supreme value in the exploration of color and design on a page, whether it be with crayons, markers, or paint. All of us have creative instincts or urges buried within, and are capable of discovering our voices through the creation of art and craft. (Sometimes it’s hard to choose; I love painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, & jewelry making…another lifetime, please). Did you know that doodling is actually good for your brain and creates a space for active listening (how many of you doodle while on the phone?)

I once took a Watercolor 101 class and had a strange experience driving home that afternoon. The colors on the trees exploded; I saw color within color, a radiance and brilliance missed on a normal, everyday basis. Somehow I was seeing differently, like my right brain had woken up from a very deep sleep. It was a short-lived experience, one that couldn’t be reproduced through my own will, but memorable enough to recognize the existence of another way of “seeing” through the creation and study of art.

“Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose.” (James Taylor). At a garage sale I bought a set of hinged panels, painted a dull gray. They were to be used as a room divider up in the loft at our cabin; a way to provide a little privacy for guests; but once I got them home and painted them (deep greens and blues), I decided to leave them right here in the studio because the colors make me happy and I want to see them everyday. Amazing what a few stencils and poster paint can do to a room.

It’s time to take back our crayons and doodle again. Color within and without the lines. Have a paint “throwdown”. And discover the many creations lying dormant within our hearts.

Monica Devine is the author of four children’s books, among them Iditarod: The Greatest Win Ever, a former nominee for the celebrated Golden Kite Award. Her adult nonfiction piece, On The Edge of Ice, won First Place in Creative Nonfiction with the New Letters literary journal. She currently writes fiction, memoir, poetry, and a weekly blog.