Friday, January 30, 2009

an artistic journey with kindred spirits...

student work from class at John C Campbell Folk School in January

What is Creativity?

an Ability...the ability to imagine or invent something new.

an Attitude...accept change and newness, be willing to play with ideas and possibilities, develop an outlook of flexibility and the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it.

a Process...continually strive to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to your works.

students during drumming part of class


Creativity is not the ability to create something out of nothing (only God can do that), but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas. Some creative ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple, good, practical ideas that no one seems to have thought of yet.

Everyone has substantial creative ability. Remember how you were as a child! If someone gave you paint and a brush, you painted. If they asked you to sing, you sang out loud. If they asked you to dance, you danced with joy. 

I recently read that if you walk into a first grade class and ask how many are artists, almost all children hold up their hands. If you walk into the same group of children in fifth grade and ask them how many are artists, only one or two will raise their hands. So somewhere between the first and fifth grade, creativity is suppressed or removed by the educational system. And it often takes decades to reconnect with your creativity, if at all.

So this is what I attempt to do in my "Artistic Journeys for Kindred Spirits" workshop. 

students at work

Workshop Mission and Goals

The mission of the workshop is to experience the communion with your higher self or your soul in a way that allows you to excel at your artform. We will play or relearn to play. We will write, draw, paint, tell stories, dance and drum. We will work with the reckless abandon of a child. We hope to set your creative soul free.

When students leave I hope that they know that their art is more about what happens as they work than the actual work of art itself. Robert Henri author of “The Art Spirit” says, “What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of the business of making a picture.”

I want them to know that you have something valuable to say with their art. I lead them through journeys that stretch them from their comfort zone. Some resist vocally, some quietly. I facilitate, they teach themselves so that the projects become internalized with the hope that they can and will continue to grow creatively when they are home.

We explore ways to expand our creativity through a series of exercises including a guided visualization technique, automatic drawing and writing, map making, memoir, and storytelling. Throughout the workshop, the exercises will focus on ways to:
  1. Become overly curious
  2. Be childish
  3. Find inspiration in the world around you
  4. Discover and use images from the unconscious
  5. Seek out problems
  6. Stimulate your perceptive abilities
  7. Suspend judgment
  8. Get over the fear of failure
  9. Celebrate failures
  10. Give yourself permission to fail
  11. Give yourself the time to create
  12. Engage your imagination with life journey memories
  13. Work collaboratively
  14. and much more...
There is strong social pressure to conform and to be ordinary and not creative. Don't cave to this pressure. 

class collaborative nature collage


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