Friday, February 27, 2009

Consulting With Guides

Getting back into the swing of reading along in "12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" with the book blogging group, Next Chapter. I'm a week behind, so there will be two posts in a row to catch me back up.

This seventh chapter is all about how to overcome the challenge of isolation and loneliness as an artist/creative, with all kinds of great questions to consider about the guidance you got as a child from your family, later in life from people outside your family and what works best for you and what you need in the future going forward.
I was lucky as a child to be so encouraged in my creativity by both of my parents. They were great examples of how to be creative in your own individual way that works for you. My grandparents and other relatives too were very inspirational by the many examples of throwing yourself into hobbies or creative pursuits to get through life and make it better as you go along.

As I went through life I think that I had some pretty good teachers and guides up and through the college years.
One of the most influential was a summer school teacher that I had where we did patchwork, between fourth and fifth grade. I don't remember much about her, but I do remember the freedom and "what happens if you did this or that" kind of spontaneity of approach to the subject she brought. That really stuck with me and informs my method of working to this day.

The first formal class I took in the quilting world was from Therese May, (a long time ago in 2000), another free-spirited creative teacher, with a similar "what-if" approach to learning to quilt spontaneously.

And more recently I took advantage of Gabrielle Swain's offer to pass on what she'd been learning about life/art coaching from Eric Maisel when she offered her Creative Sparks month to month mentoring last year. That was a really valuable experience for me, and I refer back to my notes and re-read her critiques and advice very frequently.

I find one of the most inspirational things for me is reading books written about or by creative women where they detail how they've figured this out for themselves. Some of these books would include
Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
Twyla Tharps' great book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
and although not all the essays are written by women the anthology edited by Rick Benzel,Inspiring Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating
Those are just three that I can think of right off the top of my head out of the many books I've read over the last few years. Advisors or guides in book form are convenient for me, as I don't always feel up to having face-to-face interaction with people. This is just reality for me, so I'm really lucky that the internet exists with all those interesting and inspiring groups out there, just waiting for people to jump in and participate from whatever point they happen to be at.
In person groups are good too, in moderation I've found, otherwise they can turn into too much politic-y and time-sucky situations. The one I've stuck with and done the most with is CQFA. We only meet once every other month, so the time committment isn't too much, and I almost always come away inspired and renewed by interacting with these creative fiber-obsessed women.

In the book, there is a list of guidance options to consider and I found myself checking off all of them, as ones that I had pursued, already have, or want to continue with. So it seems that I've got this particular subject somewhat in hand (though not in control of course!).

My favorite quote from the chapter which I'll leave you with was from Helen Keller: "When indeed shall we learn that we are all related one to the other, that we are all members of one body?"


Caroline said...

It sounds like you've been blessed with people guides one way or another.

I know lots of women get a lot our of Women Who Run with the Wolves - but I tried to read it a couple of times and now I've given the book away...

Laume said...

I'm probably the last woman in the US who hasn't read Women/Wolves. I love Eric Maisel's work for the most part and so I'll go check out the Gabriel Swain link.
I find I don't feel a strong need for collaborative work at this point in my life. Not that I haven't enjoyed it when I have done it, but I have plenty of ideas, just not time to do it in, or more to the point, focus in which to find the time. It is in my larger goals for this year though to find and attend an art workshop or class or some such thing. Because of the CA salary slashing though, I'm gonna have to look long and hard to find one nearby that I can afford. Much more difficult here than in your neck of the woods.