time for exploration

This past weekend I finished a book called The World Needs Your Art by Danielle E. Fournier. I found it easy to read and full of important observations about the creative life. Fournier writes, “you must give yourself permission to take the pressure off by allowing yourself to create in any and all manner, and that includes an artist recess if need be.” No matter how we express our creativity, we really do need to give ourselves room to explore and try new things without the goal of becoming masters of every new idea we pursue. I remember recess when I was a child as a place to run and play and, yes, occasionally fall down and get hurt. It wasn’t the place to become the best kickball player. It was the place to play kickball for the pure fun of running and laughing with friends. An adult recess might be a paint night with friends or papermaking without any of the “required” tools (something I tried over the weekend, and it worked!).

The creative life is about both self-discovery and connecting with others. You don’t have to be a professional artist to live a creative life. You could simply enjoy cooking or gardening.  The goal is to bring joy into the world. Think about the most joyful moments in your life. What were you doing? Who were you with? One of the moments that immediately comes to my mind is sitting with my mom on the deck of our hotel room at the beach after we had gotten pedicures. It was a particularly difficult time due to my dad’s declining health. However, that moment was rich with joy and creativity. Yes, pedicures and peaceful moments with a loved one can be acts of creative living.

Nature Photography Day is June 15!

A good way to explore your creativity is to spend time in nature, whether that’s at your own home, a nearby park, or a botanical garden. Check out how the colors of the sky, trees, and other plant life contrast or complement one another. Plan your outdoor creative recess at sunrise or sunset to catch the colors of the rising or setting sun.  

What camera should you use on nature photography day? It doesn’t matter! Use your smartphone camera, a point and shoot camera, or a fancy DSLR. A photography instructor once told our class that the best camera is the one you have with you. A great nature photo is one that speaks to you. It doesn’t need to have perfect composition. If your goal is to become a professional photographer, leave that for another day. On this day, take the photos as a way spark some joy in your life.

In the Studio

Next week my paid subscribers will get special access to my Popping Poppies mini quilted wall hanging. This design is jellyroll and fat quarter friendly, and it’s suitable for beginners. This project has been a good way to teach myself how to use Electric Quilt 8 quilt design software. Although I like to sketch the design on graph paper first, using the software helps estimate yardages and audition fabric choices.

I ordered a Dritz Quilter’s Floor frame, so I could do some big stitch hand quilting on larger quilts. Because I have the laptop size which works well, I decided to give this one a try. The frame is made of PVC which makes it portable and easy to store. The first project I’ll try on this frame will be the National Quilter’s Circle quilt I’ve been working on.

I would love to see any nature photos you take this week. Share them with me, @amyjogarner, on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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