It is my belief that we need to refill our creative tanks once a week to reap the rewards in our artistic endeavors. Whether it is writing blogs, drawing with charcoal or sewing a patchwork skirt, reaching beyond our immediate environment to pull out new ideas, spark innovation and inspire us. (For more on this, read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way“)
“When you make a new connection between two ideas, it’s not just a metaphor. Your brain is literally restructuring itself to accommodate new processes…. [T]he more ‘plastic’ your brain is, the more you’re able to form creative or inspirational thoughts.””
By increasing your neuroplasticity, or the number of connections your mind makes, you can influence the number and the variety of new ideas. Think of it as building bridges between your left and right brain. The more you fill your creative tank, the more bridges you build and the more connections you will have regarding problem-solving, creative ideas or even innovation in the work place.
It doesn’t matter what you do for these few precious creative tank-filling hours a week, what matters is that it is something where you are free to wonder, explore and let curiosity get the better of you. For some, this could mean scanning Pinterest pages for your next needlework project. For others, it may mean a long walk along a beach or a hike up a mountain to be inspired by the beauty found in nature.
For me, my creative tank is overfilled anytime I hit the thrift shops. These stores are treasure troves for unique items one person no longer deemed useful in their environment or setting, but can be creatively integrated into another person’s living space. Since shop items are usually organized by room, it is easy to find something out of its element or juxtaposed near something that sparks a repurposing idea.
I enjoy wondering through the various departments, sifting through the bins and going hanger by hanger in the clothing area. Even if I walk out empty handed, I may have been inspired by an old coat hook, drink coaster or glass candy dish for a future project.
This last trip, I stumbled upon piles of old bedsheets that were screaming for a makeover. For three bucks, I got four pillowcases and a double sheet of remarkable vintage print. It was my intent to take the bed dressings and create a few skirts and a purse. In short, the three dollars was going to be my own personal summer collection.
Using the gorgeous mint green pillowcases with a random rose print, I created my own drawstring skirt. Really all it took was a couple of snips down the side, pinning together the sides and sewing up the side. I put a hem across the top with enough room to feed a drawstring through and another at the bottom. Easy peasy and ready to wear.
While I am a bit thrilled to be adding to my closet one handmade item at a time, it is mostly about the flood of ideas as a result from seeking inspiration. There are great ideas all around us. We just need to tap into them. Seek time and activities outside of our every day.