• creative life series/ creativity/ ideas generation/ inspiration

    The Creative Life Series: Overcoming Creator’s Block


    So here we are, we have arrived at the last in my Creative Life series. You can read the rest of the series right here.

    I want to address the problems of creative inspiration and ideas generation. It’s well documented that anyone who creates regularly will experience barren phases. The well of creative ideas runs dry, the bucket comes up empty. It happens to bloggers, crafters, artists… in fact everyone with a need to regularly produce fresh creative ideas.

  • clipping/ creative life series/ creativity/ inspiration/ moodboards

    Creative Life Series: Cutting and Pasting for Inspiration

    Creativity is a subject that has always fascinated me. Over the last few months I’ve been investing a lot of time in exercising my own creative muscles and learning more about how they work, and whether creativity really is something everyone has access to. So welcome to the first in a new series of posts where I share some of the techniques that work for me, and muse on some of the bigger questions around this subject.
    Between blogging and my many creative pursuits, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. Quite often it floats into my life through little effort on my part, simply through living life, but I’m also a great believer in actively seeking inspiration. One of my favourite ways to do this at the moment is cutting and pasting from magazines.
    It’s so much fun because I was an expert at this as a kid! A pair of scissors and Kay’s catalogue could keep me quiet for hours. 
    Lots and lots of very posh, often hardback, publishers’ catalgoues turn up at my workplace. No one else has use of them, so… in a snip, home they come with me!
    Once I have quite a collection of these and used magazines I make a cup of tea and have a session of leafing through all this paper goodness and cutting out any images that interest me in some way.

    And what do I do with them all? 
    Sometimes I stick an interesting image to a plain page in my sketchbook and mind map it – anything at all that comes to mind is scribbled down. It’s amazing how many ideas emerge that way. A picture really does paint a thousand words.
    Other images go on to inspire creative projects such as stationery making – I can scan in an image and print it to make writing paper – or use them to make envelopes, gift tags, etc.
    Others go to play in my smash book, or I create moodboards. I love moodboards because they can act like goal-setting to keep me motivated, or simply act as a board of inspiration next time the creative ideas are being sluggish.

    All this is made easier by a discerning expert in image selection…
    It’s great to know I have a go-to pack of images and real-life clipart stashed away. These clippings both inspire creative projects and provide materials for them. I absolutely love Pinterest, but there’s also something wonderful about the smell and texture of paper, and the therapeutic snip snip snipping of an afternoon spent sitting on the floor surrounded by beautiful pictures.
    Of course, the magazines and catalogues then go on to be recycled!
    Do you collect images from magazines, etc.? And if not, what do you do with the magazines you won’t read again?

  • commonplacing/ crafts/ inspiration/ quotations/ samplers

    Crafting Inspiration from a Commonplace Book

    “Commonplacing is the practice of entering literary excepts and personal comments into a private journal, that is, into a commonplace book, or to use a 17th century synonym, a silva rerum (“a forest of things”). Typically the exceprts were regarded as exceptionally insightful or beautiful or as applicable to a variety of situations, and so as such they are often quoatable. The practice of commonplacing can be traced back in the European to the 5th century.”

    I have kept a commonplace book for many years now, jotting down proverbs and quotations that resonate with me, short poems and insights. I had never heard of commonplacing until I read an article in a magazine once about Jilly Cooper’s fondness for filling hers with inspiring words, and I wanted to find out more about this historic practice.
    Here is my commonplace book…
    I return to mine time and time again when I need inspiration, or a lift on a bad day. It’s like an advice manual tailored exactly to me. 
    The really fun side of commonplacing is the number of craft projects it inspires! Sometimes I love a particular quotation so much, I feel the need to bring it out of my book and use it to make something uplifting, thought-provoking and beautiful to live on a wall in my home, or to make a gift.
    I love the concept of ideas growing from books, like this book sculpture by Su Blackwell.
    The digital way to commonplace, of course, is Pinterest, where I see wonderful quotations every day, and many of them are added to my book. Here are a few I would love to turn into a sampler soon…



    I’m getting excited just thinking about making all of these words into beautiful crafty makes!

     Do you have a commonplace book, or like to note down inspiring words? And do you ever make them into samplers or other objects?