Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Root Chakra

I starting taking an 8-month Creativity and the Chakras workshop with my friend, Jill Kelly.  We take on a project during the 8 months - mine is build a sustainable creative practice.  As part of the workshop (sort of an assignment for myself), I'm doing a collage or piece of artwork for each chakra.  That's the root chakra collage I did last month - full of food and nourishment, roots and bones, earth and family, heritage and home.

(If you're wondering what the heck a "chakra" is, it's essentially an energy center in the body which is associated with various emotional, physical, and spiritual attributes.  The wikipedia article is a bit overwhelming, but gives you a bit of an idea of what we're talking about here.)

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine or perineum, and is your connection to the material world and the physical body you inhabit. It is associated with the color red, survival, security, courage, family, heritage, fight or flight instincts, roots, bones, self-preservation and earth.  You get the idea.  

Here's the first root chakra collage I did, back in 2009, as part of preparing for a chakra collage class I taught.  It's a lot more food and nourishment and grounding energy (see the shoes??) than the other one.  

You might think that after doing one collage for each chakra I'd be done.  But I'm not.  You can see the similarities, the differences . . . each time I explore the theme, I get something different out of it.  The 2013 collage has more roots, more bones, and more of my own painting and drawing. 

Though apparently, no matter where I go, there's a bird.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Collage and other "Not Really Creative" Creative Practices

I'm slowly trying to find my way back into a creative practice.  There's been some drawing, there's been some encaustic work, but most consistently, there's been morning journaling and there's been collage.  

I've been adding drawing, adding paint, but collage - cutting and gluing bits of found imagery - is an easy place for me to start.  I can do it in front of the TV in a total no-pressure way.  I can move pieces of cut up paper around first thing in the morning before I'm really awake.  I can take two minutes and glue something down as I walk by. 

I realize, too, that for the last twenty years or more, collage has been my default. When in doubt, I piece things together.  I find connections between disparate things.  I cut and glue

And I haven't given collage a lot of credit.*  I've tended to dismiss it as "not really creative." After all, I'm just taking someone else's images and rearranging them. But seeing those connections is actually an essential creative act for me.   

Just like journaling, which is something I've done since I was a teen but never really considered valuable.  Or even cooking.  After all, the final products are rarely impressive or - wait for it - saleable. 

So I'm curious: Are there any essential creative acts - things that sustain you, that have the potential to form the basis of a creative practice - that you tend to dismiss as "not really creative" simply because the product isn't "impressive"?  

I'm reminding you - just like I'm reminding myself -  a satisfying creative practice is built on a foundation of consistent creative action, not on a foundation of impressive final products. 

*(For those of you who are wondering about this, yes, I have written a whole book about how creative and valuable things like collage and journaling are - but that doesn't mean I don't need reminding, that I don't still struggle with seeing them as valuable.  I do. I still fight those inner voices.)