Last fall, I registered for and took The Marketing Seminar offered by Seth Godin. It was an intense and incredible experience, and I will share more about that experience in future blog posts. What made the seminar truly spectacular were the participants. Much like the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop, what you get out of The Marketing Seminar (TMS) depends on what you put into it, the time you set aside, and the interactions you create with the other participants.
Because TMS has professionals from a wide range of industries, what works best is critical reading of others posts (note: any blogger, blog reader, and frequent comment writer will find those skills readily translate) and careful consideration of clarifying questions. I found that I did not need to know the details of the other person’s business as much as I needed to ask them questions about the topic at hand. Having others do the same in return really helped me.
One of the fantastic people I met during TMS is David Wahl, the VP of Awesome for Archie McPhee and writer behind the blog Creative Creativity. On his Creative Creativity blog, David has embraced a blog every day challenge for the month of January, and he has shared a lot of great content. In particular, I want to highlight two of his recent posts with you today:
- Do your very worst work: Laurie Anderson on getting past a creative block
- Making useful mistakes: creativity tip
I have experienced quilting burnout and creativity blocks around quilting, and I know many others have as well. So, I’m going to break down some of the tips in David’s posts and I’d love to hear other tips or ideas you might have for how to jump start your quilting creativity or re-energize your quilting mojo in the comments!
The idea doing your worst work is intriguing. Throw caution to the wind and sew breaking some rules; ignore the sound of your inner quilting police and what might happen? Are the rules you create by really necessary or are they limiting you?
There are a few rules of sewing and quilting that I no doubt try to honor: a quarter inch or scant quarter inch seam allowance keeps things held together. But have you ever done some intricate and beautiful piecing work and almost felt it was a shame that the seams go INSIDE the quilt sandwich? What if that is a rule that doesn’t have to be followed. What if I created an art quilt and left my seams on the outside. I think that would be a fabulous avenue for exploration!
As David mentions in his post, the key to this exercise is to really listen to the voice of judgment in our own heads.
When doing your worst work, there is no judgment. (Or is it all judgment?) In fact, the criticism in your head fuels what you’re working on. That voice in your head that tells you what you’re doing is bad is suddenly empowered. Instead of shooting down your ideas, it’s coming up with ideas to make it worse!
Turning that inner voice or inner critic into the idea driver might be a very uncomfortable position to put ourselves in, but how freeing might it be on the other side?
Which brings the post very neatly around to another one of David’s creativity tips: making mistakes on purpose. David shares an exercise in improvisation in the post where you get up and move your body around the room, find 10 objects and purposefully give them the wrong name. Try this in your sewing space (it was hard for me, I went slowly!) and see what happens. Does it make connections where you hadn’t seen them before?
I especially like how David encourages us to follow up on the exercise:
Why did I call the lamp a slow cooker? Is there a connection? The light bulb does produce heat, could it cook? An Easy-Bake oven was just a light bulb in a plastic box and it cooked very slowly. Could you use the heat from the lighting in your house to cook? What if ovens were all boxes with giant light bulbs and you had to wear protective goggles to cook so you didn’t go blind?
I don’t know when or if I’ll create an inside out quilt, but it is definitely something I have had in the back of my mind that going through these exercises brought up and reminded me.
How do you spark your creativity when you are feeling burned out?