Show Me…Teach Me…Involve Me

Do you like going to art galleries and museums? Do you like going to poetry slams, concerts, or dance performances? Fortunately there are art forms that capture our attention. The arts are as individual as us. We can tailor our artistic ventures to what captures our attention and our soul.

How do we come to our artistic endeavors? I’m a textile artist. When asked how I became a textile artist I have to look at my history. My father worked in the garment center his entire career. I was always exposed to design, color, and pattern. I was able to witness how designers could interpret the seasons with color and pattern. My mother spent her career in the world of furniture and design. I was given a front row seat to how design wasn’t only about color, but perspective, space planning, and looking at the bigger picture.

It didn’t dawn on me until years later I was destined to become a textile artist. It’s in the family history and possibly our DNA. So what else can influence my artistic choices? I can use my art to interpret other art mediums. I’ve created work in response to a story, a song, or a poem. I’ve taken the ideas of famous artists like Clyfford Still and interpreted abstract expressionism. The joy of art is the possibilities are endless. Interpretation is an art!

Do you notice the first section you hit when you enter a bookstore? There are three places I spend my time: biography, self-improvement, and art. These genres have the potential to play off one another and that I find exciting. It allows me to explore how creativity impacts life, personal and professional.

I am drawn to storytelling. I find meaning in creativity. I find the ability and the gift of creativity to heal my soul. When I engage others on the creative plain we speak a common language and it’s soulful. It’s gives me a glimpse into the secret lives of others and how art gives us the keys to the kingdom.

How can you become involved in creative endeavors? Where you are right now and whatever you’re doing is the place to start. I was involved in music during my high school years and wanted to be a music therapist. My life took many twists and turns and I went a more traditional route as a psychotherapist. Years later when I found my creative voice in textile arts it gave my therapeutic life new vim and vigor. It allowed me to explore with my clients how their life is surrounded by art and it’s calling them to come play.

Give your body, mind, and spirit the gift of creation. Read a poem by Maya Angelou or Mary Oliver and see what speaks to you. Listen to your favorite song and sing along. Watch a movie and then create a plot, whether or not you ever pursue it, just create it. Living in a place of creativity frees your spirit. It makes room for healing energy to enter your consciousness. Use this energy to continue on your journey to wholeness.

Shepherding New Artists to Tell Their Story

Every life is a story. Our stories are ever evolving. Along with our ever-evolving lives, our creative endeavors evolve the more we learn and the more we do. As we engage in art you’ll probably run across those who are just beginning their creative quest. How can we as artists support people who are looking for a way to enter the realm of creative self-expression?

Dr. Maya Angelou said, “If you get…give, when you learn…teach”. Why should you, an artist, teach? You should teach because you know the joy of making art. You’ve personally experienced the freedom and release that accompanies making art. You’ve shown the world that your voice needs to be heard, and by teaching you can help us bring for their own stories.

I’m a textile artist and one of the challenges that quilters often have is with color. Unlike other mediums, those who use commercial fabrics, they buy their color instead of making their color. This leaves many novice textile enthusiasts fearful of choosing fabric inhibiting their creativity and limiting their enjoyment.

Last night I taught a color theory class at one of the local quilt shops. I love to teach because I thoroughly enjoy telling stories. I find it easier for people to hear your message when you tell amusing and personal stories. The other aspect of teaching is engaging the participants to join in with an activity. I know I learn best by doing, not just listening or watching.

The participants left with a new level of self-confidence with their ability to select colors. They were inspired enough to ask for a follow-up class to continue their own artistic journey. It feels like giving birth to the next generation of textile artists. As teachers we provide those entering the arena with hope and possibility that they can create works that are not only beautiful but also meaningful.

I hope you take the role of teacher, mentor, or catalyst seriously. We have an opportunity to shepherd those with the creative urge and talent to bring forth their worldview!

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