Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Studio wrote in to share her latest fabric collection called Mod Quad. These bold geometric prints are a cotton/line blend making them ideal for home decor projects, totes, and more!
(images from cicada studio)
I’m so pleased to be sitting here with all of you today to discuss creativity and how to better tap into it. I love writing the Creativity Series, I feel like all of us are really connecting through the comments and because I read each one, I’m clicking on your links and learning about your blogs, what you do for a living, and many of the things that are important to you. Thank you so much for your participation in this series thus far!
For those just catching up, the first week we discussed the benefits of tapping into childhood and how mind mapping as a good way to do that. Our second week was all about exercise, and week three focused on the benefits of keeping a journal. So what will we talk about today? I’ve invited Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday to visit us and share her personal experiences, which she does after my thoughts below, so let’s get started. I also can’t wait to see what you have to say on this topic, Marisa and I will be reading your comments and answering any questions you may have.
Develop a positive support system.
I know, easier said than done since friendships grow and change on a daily basis, often by no conscious choice due to relocation, pregnancy, marriage, and changes in employment. With so many friends on the go, it’s often challenging to schedule a 10-minute coffee break so most of us get little quality face time with our friends. How does one form a support system?
Here are a few ideas that I’ve tapped into. You can reach out to your local community by joining a group with similar interests through a website like Meetup.com. You can also take advantage of the many social networking websites to stay in touch, try Twitter (my current obsession), Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Another idea, join a book reading club or form a knitting circle. (And if you think a knitting group may be boring read Unravelled by Robyn Harding!) I’ve done this in the past, host a clothes swap or decorating swap! I made up the decorating swap idea, it’s where I invite over friends and we trade stuff from our homes, trading a Jonathan Adler ceramic for a design book for instance,that kind of thing.
Another way to form connections with others is to seek those online that you feel a connection to through blog reading. That is how decor8 was born. Comment on the blogs that you love regularly so their authors can get to know you. Find out if they are using the same social networking sites that you do and request to become their friend and follow their work. I’ve had lots of decor8 readers send me cards through snail mail along with their business card, I keep every single one and refer to them often.
Looking for good blogs? For those of you new to the blogworld, you can locate thousands organized by genre at Delightfulblogs.com. There are blogs written on nearly every topic imaginable, the topics span from crafting to interior design, architecture, creative writing, DIY, IKEA hacks and beyond. There is even a magazine devoted to artsy blogs called Artful Blogging and it’s a beautiful, informative publication where I have been introduced to many lovely new faces online.
Once you start reading blogs, you may feel inspired to author your own as yet another way to build a supportive network. You can attract many like-minded individuals once you put yourself out there as either a blogger, a regular commenter on blogs, or both.
For those of you who already read blogs or author your own, how do you take it to the next level and form a friendship?
I’ve invited Marisa Haedike from Creative Thursday to share from her personal experience as an artist and blogger. Take it away, Marisa!
“Just the other day I had lunch with a new friend and the main topic of our conversation was the importance of human connection. And while this particular lunch was in person, my first introduction to her was via the internet.
It is now becoming the norm for me that many of my closest friends here in Los Angeles are actually friends I initially “met” by coming to know them through their blogs. This is when you realize just how powerful the internet is in opening our possibilities to connect in such meaningful ways, becoming a community of support to one another.
It seems obvious that human connection is vital, especially in person. But now we are all fortunate to be part of a time where you realize that human connection has the potential to extend across the continents on a daily basis.
And that is key in building your community online, recognizing that there really is no difference between connecting online and making friends in person.
Which brings me to my first and most important recommendation in building your community of support online. Choose to be yourself. Start connecting from who you truly are, and this way you will build that kind of community that will be the most genuine. The beauty of connecting online is that now more than ever you have the chance to meet so many wonderful people.
Just say hello. It all begins with willingness to say hello to the people you want to “meet”, reaching out to the people who inspire you. Also be willing to offer your support to those who inspire you and do so unconditionally. When you do reach out, or offer support, you may hear back from some and not from others. Remember, if for some reason you don’t hear back from someone, not take it personally, just trust that the community that will resonate the most with you will find you, and you will find them.
And when you do find them, be a friend. Friendships are an exchange between people and it’s the same online. You have to be willing to open up. Of course, I don’t mean revealing parts of yourself that you choose to keep private, but you have to be willing to share who you are.
This is where I can’t say enough about blogging. I don’t think the importance of having a blog or a web presence that you can update regularly, like facebook or flickr can be stressed enough in terms of building your community. A web presence where people can leave comments is especially good. Having a place that you call “home” online is the only way the friends that you are wanting to connect with will have a chance to “meet” you and over time come to “know” you just as you would with an in person relationship. Even if all you have is an about page attached to your blog ~ that’s something, it’s a start.
And you may be wondering why I’m focusing so much on friendships and less on the business connections, because going back to the conversation I had over lunch with my friend, we both realized how business connections are built from human connection, which starts with the willingness to be a genuine friend to someone.” – Marisa.
Building friendships, having a support system with others who ‘get’ you, this builds creativity. Exchanging ideas, a process, a fear, a success.
Now it’s your turn readers. Do you have a support system? Online, real time, or? How did you build it? What is missing that you wish existed? How does a support system help you to feel inspired, to be more creative?
(photo by holly becker for decor8)
Neighborhood, sharing, networking, hope, recycling, helping, taking a more proactive and less reactive approach, collaborating, showing kindness, cutting back materially but stocking up spiritually, a shift happening in the world… These are some pretty dominant ideas and feelings circulating out there right now. That is why We Are In This Together, a limited edition print by Lorena Siminovich at Petit Collage is such a beautiful thought for 2009 to remember and put into practice as we deal with others.
Beautiful thought, Lorena!
Would you like to comment on something that has shown you lately that we’re all in this together? Think hard, anything that comes to mind? Personal experiences in how we can apply We Are In This Together in our life? I’d love to get your thoughts on this topic. It’s important to think about.
(image from petit collage)
I came across Ink & Spindle last night via the beautiful blog Twig & Thistle authored by Kathleen Gibson and had a feeling I’d be writing about this gorgeous fabric company today (thanks Kathleen for contacting me). I am so happy to once again have stumbled upon another business founded by several creative types sharing a common vision. Collaboration is definitely a theme for ’09 and I’m loving it.
Ink & Spindle specializes in gorgeous hand printed textiles and is co-owned by Lara Cameron based out of Australia, you may know her blog Kirin Notebook. Lara’s business partners, Tegan and Bianca van Meeuwen, share a blog under the same name right here so please go visit them to learn more about these talented ladies and their very special business of making beautiful fabrics. They are blogging about their textiles, participating in shows, selling fabric online, hand printing it together in their studio, this is the stuff that dreams are made of and this dream team is doing it right because Ink & Spindle is taking off and we’re all taking notice.
Books made using Ink & Spindle fabrics, bound by Nicole at Freshly Blended.
(images from ink & spindle)