Thursday, April 12, 2012

the Creative Habit

Late last week I picked up this book from the library on Shannon at LuvintheMommyhood's recommendation.

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

The Creative Habitby Twyla Tharp.

I feel like I'm a pretty organized, habitually creative person, so I wasn't sure what I would find to use in this book.  The answer?  A Lot.

Twyla is a dancer and choreographer who writes a gloriously artful and introspective book drawing out concepts and illustrations from all sorts of artistic genres.  It's absolutely fascinating reading, for me.  But, I'm a thinker.

Creative Autobiography

Even more so, it's successful in engaging the reader in self-reflection, with questions or thought points at the end of each chapter.  I'm only on page 47, since I'm digesting this book one bite at a time, and I've already pondered my creative "rituals", my creative fears, goals, how I can carry my creative "pencil" with me so I'm gathering and capturing ideas any old time and is my natural creative perspective deep into details or standing at arms length?

cool layouts

And, as an aside, I love, LOVE the way the book is designed.  Simple typeface filling the page, occasional use of large text to make a point, minimalist chapter announcements.  It all reads so well, so modern, such a convergence of beauty and simplicity.

making me think...

Chapter 2 of The Creative Habitis about knowing yourself as an artist, as in understanding what works for you and why.  I love this kind of introspection!  I've been journaling a bit, as it helps me process.  I'll share these musings, titled "Alone", which emerged from Twyla's discussion on the importance of solitude to the artist so that her art is free to remain truly her own. 
"Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity.  Self-reliance is a happy by-product (pg 31)."
I love being alone. This is a part of the creative process that exhilarates me.  Alone for my thoughts to wonder.  Alone with my works in progress.  Alone to write.  In a big room to dance.  When I'm alone there aren't interruptions.  I find space which gives away to energy for doing more.  Alone I am my own judge.  And I can be me and as happy as I like with what I create.

On Mondays, read no blogs.  Be alone w/my creative thoughts.  When I'm alone the way is clear - no book, color green, new handstitched class.

on my table

If you're a thinker-type, I know you'll relish this book.  I hope you can find time to enjoy a copy!  And now I'm off to be alone this Thursday, since the children are staying over at grandma's house.  I'll be working on projects for my new class.  First details to come tomorrow!

edited to add:  The pincushion here is Anna Maria Horner's design included in her book Seams to Me.  I love it!

29 comments:

  1. lovely post. yes i too love being alone...with my thoughts uninterrupted!

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  2. I think I'm going to head to the library today. I've been meaning to but never found a good enough reason.

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  3. I loved this book too but it has not got me to the gym at 6am and have not had the nerve to go tech free yet... All joking aside, this book is thought provoking. Great post!

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  4. Sounds like a great book Rachel! I think I'll have to get a copy!

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  5. Oooh, this one has been on my wish list for a while now. I'm moving it up to the top position (unless i can borrow from the library).

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  6. I bought this book used online after her post too. I'm loving it.

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  7. Love the giant pincushion/ tool holder! Is that a pattern of yours?

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  8. The book sounds interesting; I'm glad you're finding inspiration with it! That's a lovely set of squares, too!

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  9. Interesting!
    I cannot wait to learn more about your new class :) I already now know that I want to join!!

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  10. Thinker type for sure! I have to put this one on my wish list. Enjoy your day alone!

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  11. This looks like a wonderful book full of ideas I could definitely use. Your new project looks so fun, bright, and cheery.

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  12. This book has been on my list for ages but I still haven't gotten to it. Being alone to think and create is the best thing ever!

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  13. i will see if they have it at my library! fingers crossed... it is a small library.

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  14. Looks like a great book! Love those little squares! =D

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  15. Thank you for writing about this book, Rachel! I can see how I need to have this in my life right now and luckily, my library has a copy so I can dive right in. I definately find that I get stronger ideas when I am able to be alone with them, so good for you for taking advantage of it. Can't wait to see what your next class is!

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  16. I am INTRIGUED!! I love what the solitude invoked for you. Definitely a great way to think about self.

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  17. It sounds very interesting, but alas, with my dyslexia, I'd have forgotten the point of chapter 1 by the time I reached chapter 3, and that's only if I could bring myself to keep ploughing on reading it :o/

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  18. i loved Shannon's post too... i think i def need to get my hands on this book!

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  19. My daughter is a young dancer and I took her to hear/see Twyla Tharp at a reading she did for this book tour - we actually got to meet her, talk to her and even go onstage (I have the pictures to prove it!) It is indeed a wonderful book.

    On a separate note, do you have a tutorial or pattern for your wonderful quilted pincushion/holder in your last photo? I've been searching everywhere to find one as I want to create one of these!

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    1. Yes, I should have mentioned! That is Anna Maria Horner's design for a pincushion included in her book Seams to Me. I love it!

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  20. This book sounds wonderful I'll have to go check it out at Powells. Thank you for passing it along!

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  21. I have tried something similar in the past where I limited all media for a day. A media fast so to speak. Interesting to note how often we turn to media for inspiration, entertainment, etc, how it can fill your day, distract you if you allow it. I felt the fast would give me a break from other people's "stories" and make room for my own story to come forward and evolve.

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  22. I found the comment about being 'alone' very interesting. As someone who has found her creative side late in life, I very much relish the times I can sit and create, think, let my mind wander - very, very relaxing and rejuvenating!

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  23. That pincushion is great! Is there a pattern?

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  24. I spend a great deal of time alone and, while I get lonesome sometimes, I really do enjoy it.
    Great review of the book ~ I'll have to give it a go.
    Looking forward to hearing about the new class!

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  25. Over the years I have heard such good things about this book... I really need to buy myself a copy! As for being alone... I need it and enjoy it soooo much. It fills me up. Over the years it has been a struggle, as my husband goes to work only a half hour before the girls would come home from school. With never enough alone time, I often found/find myself feeling a bit drained, and my thoughts often scattered, as I need that quiet time to just be with myself in order to energize and mentally organize. I love my family, but am getting a bit giddy at the thought that youngest will be headed off to college come fall!

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  26. I'm going to put it on hold at the library. The part about solitude really spoke to me. I've been struggling lately with this because I crave the solitude but so many friends don't understand it. I'm not super social, and never really have been. I don't mind the solitude at all. I get drained having to chit chat and socialize all the time. The solitude rejuvenates me.

    Thank you for sharing this book and your thoughts.

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  27. thanks for this info - I've just reserved a copy at the library that's currently on loan but is due back this week :)

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  28. My library has the book too and I am going to check it out. Sounds right up my alley
    phishstephenson(at)yahoo(dot)com

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