creativity

Creativity and Spirituality

Erwin McManus wrote the book “The Artisan Soul” – when asked to sign it, he often writes “Dream. Risk.  Create.”

Today, I’ve been energised by his short inspirational video here.

“Creativity takes incredible courage – to live out your most creative self, to live out the core essence of who you are as a human being, the dreams that truly consume you and must be expressed and lived by you – that takes tremendous courage because it’ll push against what other people want for you

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still from the Artisan Soul video

“What I love about the word ‘artisan’ is that artisan bread is really very primal – you get rid of all the artificial ingredients… and you just get down to simple things like flour.  when you go back to the simplicity and the beauty of it, something extraordinary begins to happen – it becomes authentic, it becomes real and healthy and whole”

It probably helps that I love the visual work done by the videomaker Travis Reed and his Work of the People studio.  There’s thought-provoking and eye-inspiring words and visuals.

Enough speaking, energise is the word – I’m off to make and create.

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Starting points: Creative Prompts…..

If you’re anything like me, then a warmup exercise helps encourage making.  If you’re stuck looking at a blank mind/screen/easel/page, if you look online, you will find  websites offering free daily prompts (many of them designed for writers).  A prompt is a word or phrase which you use as a starting point – what does it make you think of?  Then go and make something with that thought.  It may, of course, lead to further ideas and end up totally unrecognisable from the beginning prompt.

Sketchbook Skool deliver online course and provide very good, free prompts.  They are given for inspiring a daily drawing. But of course you can use the same word to generate a beginning idea for a poem, a short story, an animation, a new font, a sketch, a print, a song, an album cover, a film script, a doodle, a dress, a stage set, a collage, an embroidery…. whatever floats your boat.  In fact, if you like doodling boat designs – use the word for that!

What can I do with just one word?

Let’s work through an example.  Today’s sketchbook skool example is “turn”…..

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Creativity healing

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detail: photo by Marvin Lynchard, of soldier using art therapy

Just read an excellent article on the website theconversation.com about how creativity is a natural way for the brain to help process trauma.  Trauma by its nature is overwhelming – so the brain cannot deal with and store what is happening in the usual way.  With normal events, memories are stored using words:

 

“This makes it easy to recall and describe memories from the past. However, because traumatic events are processed when under extreme distress they cannot be properly assembled together and remembered as a coherent narrative, and so are stored in non-declarative memory, which operates unconsciously and is not processed in words.”

Creative arts have been observed to be helpful in particular situations: creative writing with refugees, drama with soldiers and photography with mental health of HIV/Aids affected women.

What do the creative arts offer?

  • help to people to remember and process the events
  • help the recaller distance himself/herself a little from the trauma to creatively share the experience with others
  • may help reconnect cultures divided by violence (e.g. drama)
  • it is often nonverbal, so aids those who struggle to find words for their emotional reactions
  • help without drugs and medicinal side-effects
  • an accompaniment to word-based listening, where appropriate

The article I read was mostly about the works/writings of Professor Bessel Van der Volk and his book “The Body keeps the Score”.  Catch the article, written by Senior Lecturer in Abnormal/Clinical Psychology, Bath Spa University at:

http://bit.ly/2qUAnXH

 

 

“Invisible College” – writing advice

The Invisible College” is a BBC series of programme, available free on i-tunes as podcasts, or listenable to on half-hour programmes.  They encourage creative writing and are now on series 2 (broadcasting Mondays, 4 pm, Radio4 FM).  Catch all previous episodes on BBC i-player, titled “Invisible College”.

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Dr Cathy FitzGerald – keeping it all lively and easy to understand

Brilliantly, the BBC are pulling on their recordings of all sorts of writers in many different styles, over decades, so it’s a mixed bag of voices and advice, ringmastered by Dr Cathy FitzGerald – we hear Maya Angelou, Eudora Welty, Ted Hughes, Susan Sontag, P G Wodehouse….. such a variety of writing genres and styles are covered.

The radio recordings are around 30 minutes each – but as podcasts (on i-Tunes) they are broken up into lessons averaging 10 minutes.  So you can learn a lot in pocket-sized parts of time!

This is the BBC doing what it does best: educating, informing and being entertaining while it does so.

Here’s a wee sample 2 minute extract – Ted Hughes advising on word choice:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rfqlb

 

The radio Series 1 episode 1 starts here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05sst65

Topics covered include: inspiration, routine, time off, concentration, character, plot and style, the importance of reading lots, choosing right words… and the joy, the joy, of writing and the written word.

Get past the fear block to freedom (20 mins)

“Fear and envy will keep you on the sidelines”

 

This is an extraordinary video: 20 minutes of a woman talking about her paralysing fear of public speaking – while doing it.  Honest.  Encouraging.  She’s speaking to a roomful of creative people, at the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) conference, 2015.  Then there’s 10 minutes of questions with the conference moderator, Roman Mars, who is also very engaging.

“If we don’t risk, we don’t get anywhere.  Fear of risk is terrible.”

“Vulnerability is where creativity lives – and I think it’s where we practice our best bravery.”

Her fear of public speaking was such that, given a leadership development course which involved a 2 minute speaking presentation to 46 senior executives, she seriously considered giving up the job which she loved and had practiced for 16 years.  (She works at Capitol Radio, on visuals and direct print campaigns for new singers and has collaborated with Gwen Stefani, 50 cent, Annie Lennox, Beck, Katy Perry.)
However, she realized that her paralysing fear was truly holding her back, and that she (more…)

What is Pentagram?

Pentagram is the world’s largest independent design consultancy.  It is owned and run by 21 people who are friends as well as market leaders in their design speciality.

Telling their own story, they predictably chose to be unpredictable and tell it in a humorous, personal way, incorporating their brands. (Cue: 3 and a half minute engaging video)

(based on the idea of the life of a boy born on their first day of business, and bringing in famous logo and brand identities they have worked on)

Here’s how they worked with CASS ART (featured yesterday) to rebrand: