One of the definitions of creativity that I shared with you at the beginning of this series is:
The ability to imagine something that does not yet exist and then bring it into existence.
This suggests a two-part process of imagining and then manifesting that which is imagined. Today I want to explore the first of these.
To start, you envision a project—whether you have a picture of what you want to end up with, or just a vague sense of something wanting to be expressed, you have to engage your imagination. We have all kinds of ways that we can interfere with our ability to visualize possibilities—not just in our papercrafting, but in life in general.
Once again, attitude and emotions play a big role here. I have often encouraged you to see your creative endeavors as play and experimentation. This is an attitude that helps quell all those emotions involved in lack of confidence. Self-criticism, perfectionism, judgment, and doubt all obstruct imagination.
Think about all the negative messages we have gotten about imagination over the years:
- That’s just your imagination, it”s not real.
- “Vivid imagination” is sometimes used to mean someone is lying, exaggerating, or crazy.
- Don’t get carried away. (Why not, I ask?!)
- Don’t color outside of the lines, don’t be different, what would the neighbors think, etc. etc.—You get the idea!
We need to develop and nurture attitudes that counter these negative messages. Albert Einstein may have said it best:
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
Imagination is the foundation for creativity. Don’t get stuck in doing things only one way. Keep pushing against the edges of your comfort zone. Allow yourself to dream of new and different possibilities. As Duane Michals said: "Trust that little voice in your head that says 'Wouldn't it be interesting if…'; And then do it."
- How could I use this stamp in a new way?
- What if I used colors in unexpected combinations? What if I make this leaf purple, or the bear blue?
- I’ve never tried this technique, but how would it look with this stamp, or used in this way?
- How can I use this embellishment in a new or unusual manner?
Mistakes are great catalysts for the imagination, for we have to look for what isn't working, and imagine what we want instead. So are problems–for example, when I started making "lollies," or accordion-fold medallions, I couldn't figure out how to flatten this circle of pleated paper and glue it into place by myself–I needed one more hand. And since Sammy Jane, my sweet little princess dog, refused to hold it, I started exploring ideas in my head. What I came up with is an elegantly simple solution: a jar lid! (You can view the video tutorial HERE.)
How well do you nurture your imagination? How often do you imagine a possibility, then talk yourself out of doing it? Do you see a mistake on a project and say, "oh, well," and end up not liking it? Or do you start imagining how to fix it? Or do you think, "that isn't what I had in mind, but I kind of like it?"
In my way of looking at things, imagination is one of the greatest gifts we have been given. When we use it in our creative process, we open up to endless possibilities. When we are stuck and uninspired, our imagination has gone to sleep. We need to exercise it often, and cardmaking and papercrafting are excellent workouts for the imagination!
In other words, Stamp Madly!
Nurturing Creativity, One Stamp at a Time!
aka The Mad Stamper
Socialize With Me!