What Does it Mean to "Be Creative?"
When he said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them," Albert Einstein calls on us to create our problems rationally, and solve them creatively. To do so requires changing established thinking patterns, and switching into a creative state of mind. This means leaving the office, taking a walk, listening to music, embracing your inner child and seeing in terms of what could be, not what is.*
I took the above photo with my iphone camera...which I love....when I was on a walk around the neighborhood to clear my brain. A creative life might just mean that you notice beauty in the world, and how that makes you feel, or what idea it may spark.
When I talk to my friends who don't consider themselves "artists" I often point out that they live a highly creative life. My neighbor loves the beach, and so he lines the railing of his deck with shells he has found over the years and planted beach grass in sand near his fire pit. He is a voracious reader, knows the perfect condition for rainbows, and knows exactly the point on the tree filled horizon where the sun will rise on the summer solstice. He's also recently begun to grow grapes in his backyard and make wine. While he may not call himself an artist, and does not have an art-related day job, he is living a creatively rewarding life.
For myself, I get to be creative every day for my clients when I create print or website work. I also enjoy an entire studio on my third floor, where I make fiber, clay and fabric works of art. My desk is L-shaped with one part of the L home to my computer, and the other, everything other creative endeavor. My husband also has a desk in the studio, but as he works out of the house, he has been relegated to a small corner...which I also have invaded with new shelving.
My house is a reflection of my creative aesthetic. When our kids still lived with us, I would constantly nag them to pick up there stuff. My daughter, an artist herself, asked why I was so obsessed I explained that my house is also my artwork that I live inside of, and I want it like I want it!
Sometimes a phrase will spark an idea. In the piece pictured above was Emotional Labor.
Everyone tells us that even as adults we should reserve time for play and creativity. I often have friends over to experiment with new techniques that I've learned or taught myself, using pieces of one technique in new ways. One of the most wildly creative and productive artists that I know, Martha Simons, makes are every single day after her day job. She taught me how to make small works on paper that anyone can do, and I've done this with several friends who consider themselves "non-artists" and they are all delighted with the results.
Recently my husband and I went to an Eco-printing workshop in Virginia, and became hooked, because it combines two things we love – art and nature. We are slowly collecting all the supplies to experiment with that ourselves, and then hope to share that technique with others. I encourage everyone to find classes in something they've never tried and see where it leads.
"The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." - Albert Einstein