Sometimes big things happen in little moments: smelling a fragrant rose, seeing the last rays of a vibrant sunset, drinking a perfect cup of coffee. Creative moments can be like that, too. Carrie Bloomston writes about these ordinary yet special moments in her column “The Spark” in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. “The poetry,” she writes, “lies in the little details of life—and in noticing and acting on them.”
It’s the noticing and acting parts that we often miss as we fly through the day. I’m so glad Carrie chose to write about this, and include some great everyday art prompts, to get us thinking about how to make the most of those exceptional creative moments. She got me reflecting on how I could be more mindful of connecting with, as she puts it, “the elemental simplicity of making.”
I immediately thought about the cup of tea I have around 11 a.m. My current favorite is some kind of passionfruit/berry/hibiscus tea, and I love seeing the rosy color that appears when the hot water hits the tea bag. I usually toss the bag, but after reading Carrie’s words, I decided to rescue it instead, and use it to make dye. In fact, I saved a few in the refrigerator and reconstituted them in a plastic container, adding some fabric scraps and a couple of sheets of book text. I also dipped the end of a wet paintbrush in the tea water and created doodles on some notecards and envelopes. And I saved the emptied tea bags themselves, of course! No muss, no fuss, and I knew I’d be able to use these pretty pink pieces in something soon. I felt a great sense of accomplishment, and was happy that I had fostered my creativity in a small way.
A couple of days later I needed to send a thank you card, and I remembered the tea-dyed items. I glued some of the fabric onto the edge of one of the cards, stamped “thank you,” and I was done!
As much as I love using recycled materials in my artwork, I don’t do it enough. I know this because I have an overflowing bin of papers and other bits that I’ve amassed over months, with the idea that I’d incorporate them into handmade books, collages, etc. Yes, some of these things do get used, but not enough. So I grabbed a catalog I had set aside, a few stencils, and some acrylic paint, and went to town. It took all of a minute to sponge paint on this page, using a large stencil from The Crafter’s Workshop.
I did three pages quickly, and in a short time had some great patterned papers to play with.
The following week I decided to complete an unfinished sketchbook page and remembered the painted papers I had made. From one sheet I created a pocket, and then used a small strip of another for a page border.
Celebrating these small creative moments made me feel in touch with my artistic side, and it was nice not to have to haul out every single supply to make that happen. After you read Carrie’s column I hope you find beauty in the ordinary, and use your unique talents to make the ordinary extraordinary.
Read Carrie’s advice for becoming a more confident artist in this post!