Discovering your Creative Values can help you move forward in your creative endeavors. To recap Part 1 from last week’s article, here is the question...
What are your values? How does this question relate to creativity?
Here is a definition of values...
a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.
synonyms: principles, ethics, moral code, morals, standards, code of behavior
So is creative expression important to you? Is it a value that you hold as important to satisfaction in your life?
If no, then no need to read the rest of this article. If yes, it is worth the time to figure out how to add creativity into your life in a seamless and joyful way. This is not another "to do" item but instead a “I am lucky I get to do this" item.
I am offering a helpful tool to think about where you are in your creative journey and where you might want to go. This may sound hokey, but it really is a meandering trip from finding what lights you up creatively, to dabbling in it, to practicing every day to figuring out how to incorporate your self expression into your life on a regular basis.
Are you somewhere on this continuum?
To get to the next level, it may help if you think about your creative values.
There is no judgment about any of these values. One way is not better than another way. The point here is to discover which approach works for you. Then you can use this knowledge to continue on your creative journey in a way that feels like a pair of broken in shoes or a comfy pair of jeans. Knowing where you are and where you want to go are prerequisites for any journey.
To refresh your memory about Value 1 How do you approach your art? Traditional vs. Non-traditional Design and Value 2 How do you get your ideas?
Traditional vs Non-traditional Inspiration Sources, click here to reread last week's article.
Value 3 How do you make your art?
Project-to-Project vs Creative Practice
Another question to help you determine your creative values is, "Do I want to just work on one project and then another project when I feel like it? Or do I want to set up a schedule where I have a creative practice working at regular times on a regular basis like a creative habit?" Everything changed when I decided to create every day as part of the 100 day project in 2015. I decided I liked the rhythm of this style of creating art and just kept going. The real question is... which way brings us the most joy? Which way feels like a settling-in? Taking the time to answer this at your particular stage right now helps you set up some creative boundaries with your mental space and time. When I first started quilting, I would get fabric with a project in mind and make a specific quilt. About 12 years ago I made a coin quilt with an Amish theme using Amish color choices and a black background. When I completed this, I waited for the "right " time til I worked on another project. The problem is the right time was maybe a year later. I never got to create as much as I wanted to. But I didn't know what was holding me back. I guess it was ideas of what to do next and a strategy of how to fit the time in to our busy lives.
Other people may want to just do a project every once in a while. Creating is something they like to do but not necessarily something they need to do. Again where do you fit in to this continuum?
Value 4 How do you give your art meaning?
Stand Alone Projects vs an Entire Body of Your Life's Creative Work
This is similar to the project-to-project value but on a bigger scale. Many people make art as gifts to give away and to step into that creative flow to relax and spend a relaxing time with a project. But when you consider your life's creative work as a body of work, how does that change what you are creating? The 100 Day Project again forced me to look at my creative output differently. I wanted more than a one off piece of art. I wanted to develop themes in my work. I started doing this by coming up with a series idea for every 25 days worth of daily squares. But now I have almost 2 years of creating under my belt and I am thinking... What is next? I have created 250 daily squares in 2015 and as of yesterday I have created 295 daily squares in 2016. By the end of 2016, I will have worked on 24 series which results in 24 pieces of art measuring 30 inches squares that includes all 25 days of daily squares sewed in consecutive order.
But now what? There is always another layer to think about. What are my next steps? For this upcoming year, do I keep making daily squares? How do I find my next step? We all have next steps to consider.
I hope you find these creative values questions helpful in considering your next steps. Feel free to share your thoughts on how these questions resonated with you and what actions you are taking because of those answers you found.
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