Creativity is a concept that I have had to re-define.  Initially, I thought you were born creative; and there is a lot of propoganda out there  to support this mispreception.  At this point in life, I realize that being creative is a form of problem solving that combines using limited resources, acquiring skills, and working around deficiencies.  Often, a creative solution is the result of preparation and tenacious work.

As a potter, I understand that there are a lot of things I need to DO in order to be creative. Primarily, I need to work.  Working means my hands are in clay.  I get lots of ideas when I am engaging with the clay and am able to try lots of things when I am working.

If I am to cultivate creativity, I know I need time to think and consider.  One way I do this is to journal.  But it is hard to carve out quiet time to listen to the ideas floating around in my mind because something always seems to get in my way.  However, when I do, I gain clarity about what I want to do in the studio.

I also need to be inspired if I am to be creative.   When I want to be inspired, I read, search for new glazes, reading, look at fabrics, attend workshops, or take a trip.   But this is a dangerous zone because I can spend a lot of time shopping for tools and reading inspirational material rather than acutally working – the result is a pile of tools and ‘pins’ that I don’t do anything with.

Sometimes I need more motivation to be creative so I give myself a problem to solve or a challenge to overcome (make 10 different mug forms, the largest bowl I can make from 5 lbs, texturize a series of tumblers, etc.).  And sometimes, I am forced to cultivate creative resolutions to problems that I didn’t mean to have like how to use a glaze that I love but runs, how to save a kiln load of bisqueware that was fired to glaze temperatures, how to the make pots lighter because I am running out of clay, etc.

Being creative takes work and it doesn’t happen for me unless I do the work.  It is like my fortune cookie said, “It is tough to be fascinating”.

What is it you do to cultivate your creativity?