One of the difficulties with creative activities, whether it’s printmaking or painting, knitting or sewing, calligraphy or writing blogs, is coming up with great ideas and completing a project. The initial ideas need to be exciting enough to spark the project and compelling enough to see it through to a finished piece.
Sometimes we can’t come up with an idea that’s inspirational enough or we give up because we start to question the worth of our project. Katherine explained her lack of recent blog posts: ” … It’s not that I haven’t thought about it – or been without topics to write about. It’s more that I have questioned the whole raison d’être of personal blogs …. the internet seems so crowded … who am I to add to the general digital busyness ….”
I’ve had the same thought many times and my computer is littered with blog posts that aren’t finished because uncertainty has crept in. It’s not a riveting story or filled with useful information. Does the world need another recipe for elderflower cordial or another walk around the farm? Many years ago, I read an online guide about improving your blog but stalled at the first question, which was Why do you blog? I’m not sure I could answer that one even now.
But just recently, I’ve found a new creative buzz for generating ideas. Ruth has devised some new printmaking courses that Beth (with assorted offspring) and I trialled for her. One of the first things we had to do was fill our concertina sketchbooks with washes, spatters, doodles and dribbles of ink. Quite honestly, I could happily have spent all day just doing that.
Next, we were sent to four places on the farm where we had to to make quick sketches. Guess what? Places are far more interesting than you might first think when you look properly!
Or look differently. Usually, I miss things because I’m walking at a brisk pace and even when I’m looking through the camera lens, I don’t see the obvious. Thankfully, the task was as much about looking as sketching. Try it for yourself.
For another course, we had to think about lines and use our sketchbooks for mind maps, sketches and thoughts. Have you ever stopped to work out how many sorts of lines there are? Railway lines, roads, threads, music scores, ley lines, skylines, family lineage, poetry, storylines … so many lines. Everywhere.
Our sketchbooks filled with colour and energy as we spent time developing various themes, sometimes going off at a complete tangent in our enthusiasm and we explored different ways of recording what we’d seen and the objects that we’d picked up. By the end, our books were bursting with collages, prints, sketches and notes that have a multitude of possibilities for all sorts of creative projects and my head is still positively buzzing with creativity.
So much buzz, that I managed to complete this post!
- Find full details of the Printing in Progress series of creative printmaking courses on the Slamseys website.
- If you can’t make it to Slamseys, you might be interested in this free e-book How to Find Creative Inspiration .