I'm a creature of habit who thrives on routine and clear expectations. I revel in organized outlines and clear margins and tried-and-true methods because they keep my focus on point and help me to move in a trajectory of improved skill or desired result. The more limited the playing field, the more control I seem to have over it. And the more control I have, the more confident I feel in my ability to deliver. Structure makes me feel that much safer, residing within the confines of what I know best, have practiced most frequently, for which I have received positive feedback, and found the most "success."
Expanding imagination outside familiarity
Yet I believe that there is something outside speciality and a narrowed niche that is quite imperative to our overall creative growth; something of which my former boss Tim Hussey reminded me during our last few days working together as I transitioned into growing Lacelit full-time: Never stop exploring new mediums, materials, and techniques. It can be so tempting to hone in on your specific medium or that which comes most easily, and forget to exercise our creativity in new ways. Stepping outside familiarity provides the grounds for experimentation and a broadening of our knowledge, skills, and ideation.
And as with everything in this world, opening our ears and minds; exposing ourselves to alternative ways of thinking, perceiving, communicating, and creating; celebrating our diverse narratives, traditions, and self-expressions- all help to increase our appreciation of others and expand our understanding of what is possible, how much we have left to learn, and how meaningful it all is.
When I carve out time to roll up my sleeves at a creative workshop or experiment with new tools or mediums, I have no choice but to learn and explore because it's new and untried. When I pull out my knitting to stitch a new row, I am reminded of tactile tangibility, rhythm of motion, the intersection of art and math, and the way that color and texture blend. When I tackle a new recipe or experiment with new ingredients, I learn something about the way flavors complement and have a chance to observe the science in cooking.
These experiences can in turn form connections between various aspects of creativity and art-making, building bridges into other possibilities, hybrids, and complementary ideas I might not have considered otherwise. The more variety to which we are exposed in experience, method, and materials, the more our imagination can expand.
Giving it a go
In my last blogpost, I shared my friend Sarah Shotts' Kindle Challenge that's going on throughout the month of March (there's still time to sign up). Sarah's prompt for this week is to try something new. Serendipitously, I learned of her prompt the very same week I was illustrating a playful Creativity Bingo game sheet for my Paper Trails newsletter readers as well as composing my thoughts on the practice of stepping outside our creative comfort zones to explore new mediums. What a happy occasion to participate in both challenges all in one go and celebrate creative exploration two-fold.
To play along, sign up for Paper Trials and snag your Creativity Bingo game sheet from the Enjoyments Library. Complete 5 creative explorations in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally). Let it be known that you are not limited to 5 and are more than welcome to tackle as many prompts as you so desire.
For added fun, post your explorations to Instagram using the #lacelitpapertrails hashtag (either altogether in one slideshow post or one at a time as you go) + a photo of your completed bingo sheet for a chance to win a digital copy of my illustrated Creative Flow-jo Workbook* launching in the shop later this spring. If you're not on Instagram, email me your bingo sheet and photos by March 31. The winner will be announced in the April edition of Paper Trails.
Wishing you lovely new discoveries all the month long!
*A printable interactive workbook to spur on creativity through visual brainstorming exercises to help you plan and carry out creative projects.
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