Tag Archives: Creative Links

Power Builders 04.17.15

This is Week #11 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

When you are stuck in your art, do you ask “can I do this hard thing?” Or do you ask, “HOW can I do this hard thing? Here are a couple of items on the HOW of art.

1) I can’t help but put this first. John Bramblitt is a painter. As a younger man he lost his sight to epilepsy. As he puts it, his eyes work fine, but his vision processing center does not. After adjusting to his new world, he asked “how?” That simple question led to amazing art. Please watch this video, and check his site linked with his name. There are more videos under the site link for them.

2) Here’s a wonderful story through Huffington Post on an exhibition in San Francisco. The artists collaborated in pairs at Creativity Explored, a “nonprofit art center and gallery where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit and sell art.” The art, processes, and friendships developed are worth your attention.

3) A term used in the item linked above is “outsider art.” This refers to art created by those who are self-taught and working outside of the “artistic establishment.” Another who fits this description is quilter Diane Rose. She has made more than 900 quilts, all while totally blind. Enjoy this interview with her.

4) Think you’re having trouble with “how?” I stumbled on this post on breaking creative blocks with a beginner’s mind. With some description of how we learn and problem-solve, the essay continues with some suggestions for rethinking the problem, including “approaching tasks with an attitude of openness, eagerness, and a lack of preconceptions, even if you’re already an ‘expert’ at it. It’s the ultimate way to give yourself a fresh perspective.” I especially like the tip on practicing at being a beginner: “Action: Think like a beginner and act deliberately: try, fail/succeed, and then try again. Ultimately you’ll discover things you might have missed originally.” For me, using this approach purposefully has allowed me a greater range of solutions for any given problem.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 04.10.15

This is Week #10 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Few things are more inspiring than seeing the creativity of others. Today’s post will highlight a few museums to inspire you. 

1) From Craftsy, a list of quilt museums across the U.S. I’ve had the privilege of visiting a few, including the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, NE. “The center houses the world’s largest publicly held quilt collection. The more than 4,500 quilts and related ephemera date from the early 1700s to the present and represent more than 25 countries.” Kalona, IA’s Quilt & Textile Museum is a stone’s throw away from me. And I recently enjoyed a visit to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY. From the site, “The Museum’s vibrant and breathtaking exhibits are rotated 8-10 times per year. The primary gallery, with over 7,000 square feet of exhibit space, features quilts from the Museum’s collection which includes over 320 works of art. The Museum’s additional galleries feature touring and thematic exhibits of unique and diverse works of art.”

The Craftsy post includes links for museum and exhibits in other parts of the country, as well.

2) We’re all familiar with names of huge museums in big cities. Have you ever wondered about smaller gems? Your local university may have one. collegerank.net lists the “50 most amazing college museums.” The University of Iowa is on that list, partly for the world-class African art collection. (Unfortunately, we still don’t have our art housed in town, because the 2008 flood destroyed the museum. All the art escaped safely.) Other worthy museums include those highlighting arts of various periods and origins, geology and natural history, design, archealogy and anthropology, among other subjects. Check the list, check your local colleges and universities. You may be surprised at the wonders you’ll find!

200px-Giant_ground_sloth_Iowa

Rusty, the giant sloth in the University of Iowa’s Natural History Museum.

3) From Icarus to Space X, we continue to be fascinated by flight. The age of air and space travel has spawned an enormous amount of art of all kinds. See what some of the fuss is about at museums devoted to the history of flight. The big one, of course, is the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. But don’t limit yourself to it. Across the country you can find other venues, including the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon, the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, NE, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Dover, OH.

4) Quilting is often considered a folk art, but there are other arts in that category. Woodworking, ceramics, metals, textiles, all display the ingenuity of humans to design and create the useful arts. Wikipedia provides a list of 31 folk art museums, including some near you. All entries on the wiki page link to other wiki pages. Dig a little deeper (google them yourself) to find out more.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 04.03.15

This is Week #9 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak, from Wikipedia’s entry on “Writer.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer

Do you need to be published to be a writer? No. You just need to write. Writers write. Here are a few links about writing, storytelling, and persuasion. I’m not sure if they are inspiring, but perhaps they’ll lead you to think about how we communicate with others.

1) Three truths about writing, from Parker J. Palmer, via On Being With Krista Tippett.

2) From vox.com, “Want to know the secret to all good storytelling — and even all good writing?” We’re treated to three more essentials, this time words, which lead to more effective writing. We’re also warned off from the toxic connector, “and then.”

3) I’ve started following Seth Godin’s blog. He “is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.” His blog includes mostly short notes on how we convey information, tell stories, and sell ourselves and our products. Here is a very short post from last year.

4) Writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell.” Our brains are visually-oriented. This post from IFL Science (via ArtsJournal) describes research into how we process words on the page, as pictures. Perhaps we need to rethink the old advice and figure out how to make our words even more visual.

5) The picture superiority effect is the impact of pictures on memory retention. Words PLUS pictures leads to better retention.

6) But as for persuasion, the written word and pictures aren’t very useful in changing someone’s mind. You can confirm for them what they already believe, and provide examples and supports for that view. But if they have the opposite view from what is written, it will not convince them they are wrong. Facts just don’t matter. Instead, try a spoken conversation. Ask them to explain, in detail, why they believe what they do. What are the mechanisms by which their theory works? This video explains how to change someone’s mind.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 03.27.15

This is Week #8 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

Today’s focus is on inspiration and also on how we share that. 

1) Do you remember Bobby McFerrin? Most people will associate him with the ubiquitous song of 1988, Don’t Worry, Be Happy. What they may not realize is that breakthrough song was only part of a long career, both before and since. With ten Grammy awards, he’s as well known now for his improvisational chops, shifting effortlessly in wordless song. He carries his audience along with joy. The reason I’m including him as a power builder is that his goal in performing is to provide listeners with unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.” We can all use more of that!

Here are two links to let you explore more. First is an interview with the site On Being with Krista Triplett.  To listen, hit the PLAY EPISODE link on the upper right of the page. While the site has a spiritual focus, and indeed the interview includes discussion of his spirituality, the real emphasis of the interview is McFerrin’s artistic inspiration. The second link is a wildly popular demonstration of the musical pentatonic scale. He leads his audience in singing with his movements. While leading the audience, he sings as well, a different set of notes. You must see and hear it to believe it.

2)  Bill Watterson, the creator of the much-beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, is a completely different kind of artist from Bobby McFerrin, but he also led us in rejecting the predictable, and in a new view of creativity. In this Washington Post interview, he discusses his inspirations, as well as the development of his art over many years.

3) While on the topic of inspirations, here is a short overview called “Inspiration: Where Do Artists Get Their Ideas?  Not surprisingly, one of the prime sources through time is religion and ritual. But we also use art to record history, tell stories, teach lessons, preserve images, and experiment with media.

4) Inspiration is a key to making art, but art is limited in value if not shared. Here is an interesting article on the value of art museum field trips, especially for children whose world may be narrower due to economic or other family circumstances. The lesson for those of us with the privilege of art may be simply to share it more generously.

So what good does a field trip to an art museum do? Researchers catalogued a range of benefits for those who went, ranging from critical thinking skills to measures of tolerance and “historical empathy,” but perhaps the most striking finding is how magnified those benefits were across the board for children from schools in rural areas and serving low-income populations, with effect sizes double or triple those of other students. In fact, most of the positive impact from these field trips accrued to students who had never been to Crystal Bridges before, whereas “much smaller or null effects” were observed in relatively more privileged students who presumably have easier access to enriching experiences like this one.

5) From openculture.com, a post on street art. Google is providing location information for more than 10,000 items of street art, freely shared for all to see.

6) Finally, a fabulous source of vintage artwork from books at reusableart.com. This is all in the public domain due to age. Take a look at the categories on the left margin. They range from animals and alphabets to transportation and trees.

Artist unknown, from the book The Old Oak Tree by Miss Moncrieff, 1881.

 

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.

Power Builders 03.20.15

This is Week #7 of my Power Builders creative links. If you’d like to see last week’s, you can find it here.

I call this series “Power Builders” because that’s what these little items do for me. They make me more powerful in my art and in my life. I hope they do the same for you. Some of the links will be about how other creative people use their time, structure their work, find inspiration. Some may be videos, music, or podcasts to inspire you. Some of it will be directly quilt-related but much of it will not. What you see in Power Builders will depend on what I find. Feel free to link great things in comments, too.

1) Do you still write personal letters? Take a look at some fascinating letters from artists and designers to friends, colleagues, and loved ones. This article in the Huffington Post reviews a new book by Liza Kirwin called More Than Words. Kirwin’s book contains more than 90 works of art, sent by mail as correspondence. The article highlights just a few, and they’re spectacular.

2) Kirwin’s source for these items is the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. “With over 20 million items in its continually growing collections, the Archives is the world’s largest and most widely used resource dedicated to collecting and preserving the papers and primary records of the visual arts in America.” The Archives are searchable for your use.

But the use is not necessarily for free. I was of the understanding that images owned by the federal government (including Smithsonian images) were in the public domain. However, I looked at the page on Rights and Reproductions. I was wrong:

NOTE: Documents, photographs, art work, microfilm, recordings, and transcripts owned by the Archives of American Art may be protected by copyright, trademark, or a related interest not owned by the Archives: it is the responsibility of the applicant to determine whether any such rights exist, and to obtain necessary permission for use.

3) Last week in a comment, my husband Jim reminded me of Project Gutenberg. This site “offers over 46,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.” Adult fiction includes mysteries and detective stories, science fiction, and historical fiction, among others. Perhaps you love children’s myths and fairy tales, as I do. There is a whole bookshelf of them, with tales from all over the world. In fact, besides books, there are a number of periodicals available, including two issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

4) Have you ever used cyanotype to print fabrics? It’s a chemical process to create impressions and was first used in the early 1800s. Anna Atkins took note of the new technology and ran with it. She authored and illustrated the first book with photographs, actually cyanotype photograms. This article from Vox tells you a little about the development of the book, and includes some fascinating pictures from her volume.

5) So much to see in the world! I hope these all make you feel powerful. And to end today, here’s a very powerful figure Jim and I met two weeks ago.

What has inspired you this week? Let us know in comments.