The Desire to Create: 5 Ways to Cultivate Creativity

You might say Jake and I are two very "artistic" people.  I savor language; my heart is found in soft pages of books and I delight in lines of poetry, pottery, and music. Jake’s pleasures are found in beautiful lettering, carving, painting, drawing and marrying each of these with a rich, velvety latte whenever the opportunity arises. Sure, we may be artistic, but the truth of the matter?

We desire to create.

Build. Discover. Imagine. Establish. 

Don’t we all? In some capacity or another, each of us desires to create.  Such a familiar yearning. Jake and I fan the glowing embers of our creative ambition; attempt to steward each precious spark of inspiration to then feed our blaze. In our intentionality, we have come up with our list of creativity cultivation essentials, which helps us do just that. This list is by no means complete but will be subject to change as we do. No matter what it is you put your hands to, perhaps our list will stir you on; to help you understand what it is you want to create; what it is you can create.

 Essential No. 1: Create an Atmosphere of Inspiration.

“It is important to establish an environment which invites inspiration and creativity- hosting them as honored guests.” -J.W.

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Jake and I have built an atmosphere that invites inspiration and one that also contains the ingredients for inspiration and stirs it right in our midst.  We surround ourselves with relics of inspiration- reminders of our own creativity as well as other people, places, and things we aspire.  Jake’s art adorns our walls, making a gallery of our home. Stacks of classic literature and my latest reads are strewn about, each and every one dog-eared and riddled with my notes. In this place, we have created a world all our own; the air thick with sweet musings; a quiet temple of long, penetrating thought and careful execution; a place where patience is cultivated; where discovery is encouraged and our skill, intellect, and endurance are challenged.

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We have built a space where inspiration is fluidly transferred into creative tangibles.  Our tools to create stand ready as faithful servants- pens, paint, brushes, paper, easels- put in places only we could navigate as we have created organization from our chaos. Our priorities lie more with dedication to completing a task than keeping a clean studio space; to following a spark, stoking it to a flame until it's alive, bursting with fiery licks of passion.  We are determined, focused, with the end-result the only thing in mind. We have surrendered one another and ourselves from the obligation of organization in the midst of a creative endeavor. You might call it messy, we call it “creative aftermath.”

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Essential No. 2: Consume and Be Consumed.

Immersion: the freedom to delve. How many times do we allow ourselves to get lost? To explore, to imagine? To be captivated? To behold and to be held? To forget time? A presence of mind is encouraged between us- an intentional, intense focus on our work. We allow one another to slip away into our imaginations and our own realm of creating. We give ourselves up to the task at hand and give way to torrents of inspiration that wash over us. We let ourselves be consumed. We are teaching one another about our creative processes, giving time, grace, and space, releasing the other to be consumed by whatever project, knowing we will reconvene when the creative storms rests.

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Often times, the freedom to delve can be found in a flexible routine. This works for us in this season of life.  It may not always, but for now, we have “okayed” creative time slots in our day; time to delve into a project (projects that are not money-makers or commissions) and simply create without a care in the world. We guard our time to create. Protective hedges have been placed around our work and we stand as one another’s keeper. This freedom is stimulating! One day, as we both well know, this won’t always be so easy (we laugh now, because even presently, this doesn’t seem easy).  Still, no matter how busy we get now and in the future, we will fight for that time, that freedom to immerse.  If we cannot find time, we make time.

Essential No. 3: Study As Much As You Practice.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." -Aristotle

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Tried and true advice from the masters. As much as we do, we study even more.  Jake and I have surrounded ourselves with the greatest works of art, of literature and we pour over them, thirsty for what they can give. Then we apply our studies to our practice. Whether it’s studying a calligraphic exemplar and then executing endless ovals until memorized perfection or reading a new genre or author to refine my own voice. There is always something to learn, always something to observe, to consider, to inspect, to compare.  We take from these artists, these authors, and we recognize them for what they have done and allow that to feed into our own creativity and to inspire more of what we do and do it to the best of our ability.  Creativity and inspiration is a result of aspiration.

Essential No. 4: Expand Your “Palette”—Succeeding in Diversity

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To keep creativity flowing, we expose ourselves to new ideas (forever learners, right?), whether it’s doing what we have always done but trying it in a new way or doing something completely different.  Some people believe that doing one thing and doing it well is wise. Perhaps. But we are inspired by those who do many things and do them all well. We admire those who succeed in diversity and strive to be among them. There is untapped potential in challenges outside our ‘realm of expertise.’

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Essential No. 5: Join Forces

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Our first four creative essentials are a process of Know Thyself. Learning about your own creative process and how you work best can then lend you to the art of collaboration. In knowing where your skills lie, invite others into the fold.  This creativity booster fuses the rest of our creativity essentials into one in that we are blending atmospheres of creativity across two (or multiple) artists’ of different disciplines and consequently cultivating a new wave of inspiration.

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In these pieces, artist Jake Weidmann and poet (and dear friend) Eleanor Perry-Smith collaborate on their ideas and skill to create works of beauty and wonder. 

In collaboration, we are also allowing ourselves to expand our tastes and interest while stretching our creative time slots and allowing ourselves to be immersed.  And of course, collaboration inspires you to dig deeper into your art, your craft and understand it better than you would alone.  Collaboration enhances creativity. It  is the expansion of understanding of your art and that of another’s - challenging both artists- and combining the two to create something even more extraordinary.

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So, here's to you and your creative endeavors!

How do you cultivate your creativity? What are your creativity cultivation essentials?

 


9 Comments

Jon
Jon

October 02, 2016

What a gift and calling you have received as well as accepted to enter into. Thank you for sharing those gifts in order to accomplish such a wonderful calling. As I am introduced to your work today for the first time, I am deeply inspired to begin a journey of creation and creativity. On your resources tab, you say you have links to some recommended books and study material for learning the art of calligraphy yet I don’t see them. Maybe my computer didn’t load them, I do not know. However, I would like to begin somewhere…suggestions? I love the inspiring quotes you have included in your blog articles as well, thank you. You have lit a fire in me to know myself deeper, but more importantly to know my God deeper as well! That, I cannot begin to thank you enough! This coming from a Bible College and Seminary Graduate means a lot for me to say, and even humbling in many terms. Your work has inspired to dig far deeper than I thought was possible, or maybe even was willing to think about. All the Blessing possible for you and yours!

Paul Gilbert Baswell
Paul Gilbert Baswell

October 26, 2015

you asked how do i Cultivate my Creativity? by engaging my fascinations. i’m never in a hurry to get started i take a thought and let it unfold over time the ones that stick with me are the ones i explore more fully. i let pictures scenes and landscapes inspire me i take course from colors and revel in the excitement they evoce. my essentials are detail, structure, multiple planes with in a given subject, color and evocative lighting as well as uniqueness of concept.. i work fully to be original novel and or bring a subject to a new level of reality. i am a representational painter using classical Renaissance techniques in a contemporary context focusing on technology as well as organic forms.the novelty of my work is its reality while still encapsulating the essence of a painting. as for you im very Inspired by your work and commitment to tradition as i fallow the same path keep up your wonderful and unique talent in all you chose to endeavour
Paul

Ellen  f
Ellen f

October 03, 2015

Who drew the original picture of Jesus in your one stroke exercise ?

Ellen
Ellen

October 03, 2015

Who drew the original picture of Jesus in your one stroke exercise ?

Ellen
Ellen

October 03, 2015

Who drew the actual picture of Jesus used in your one stroke exercise ?

Kris
Kris

August 30, 2015

Jake,

I recently watched one of your videos on Youtube and instantly became interested in learning calligraphy. Where do I start? I remember learning cursive in elementary school, but aside from that, I have no other references.

Thanks

Kris

Isabel
Isabel

August 21, 2015

I never thought myself to be creative until my children drew it out of me in order for me to teach them to express themselves in all ways with all means, not letting themselves be held by the thought that it could not be done. Finding a way, like they say where there’s a need there is a way. As a woman I was told I could not do things that interested me. I married a man who taught me to do things and he also taught our children to dream and create. It’s o.k. to make mistakes for we learn from them and help us grow.

Keith Oelschlager
Keith Oelschlager

August 20, 2015

Thank you so much for this post! I am a high school art teacher and also (of course) part time fine artist. I saw your HUMAN video and I was glad to see you have a great website. I will share this post with my students and have some discussions with them around these ideas. It also makes me want to have a go at calligraphy since I haven’t done it in years. Easier said than done of course ha ha!

Candace
Candace

August 16, 2015

So nicely done. Thank you for taking the time to construct a narrative that allows another into your home and heart.

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