6.16.2010

The Summer of Self Improvement...(Or "Class of The Month")

quote from the insanely lovely blog, hearblack, (found via kate)


I’ve been pretty excited to share more details about the flower arranging workshop I took at Bows and Arrows last week with you guys… And not just because it was incredibly fun and the people in the class were witty and warm and lovely and that the shop was fantastic and inspiring and Alicia and Adam (the owners and teachers) were insanely awesome and (you know I have to mention this) the champagne and cheese was yummy. It was all those things, yes, but that’s not why I’m so jazzed to post about it.

No, the most exciting thing about the whole experience (even more exciting than everything listed above) was driving home after the class, on a total creative high (which lasted for several days I have to say), reminded of how important regular hands-on creativity (ideally where you’re stretched a bit) is.

I tend to fall into odd sort of “inspiration overload” creative ruts… I’ve talked about it before, but I think it merits mentioning again, as (at least for me) these ruts tend to surface more frequently than I’d like. All the beautiful blogs documenting perfectly executed projects and meals and parties and the gorgeously styled spreads in magazines and books, while addictively lovely to ogle, send me into a sort of creative paralysis. It’s all looking and no doing, which usually leaves me staring aimlessly into my pantry dreaming of making of a gorgeous meal but instead just ordering Thai or staring at a blank piece of paper and a heap of craft supplies with the girlies with no idea what to actually make.

It’s disheartening really.


Some shots of my classmates in action at Bows and Arrows...

The group's finished products...


My arrangement...I was going for a dark sort of Flemish vibe.

And that flower class…that one with the awesome people at the fantastic shop with the yummy champagne, that class reminded me that sometimes you need some help… See taking a class is different. You’re not going it alone, frustrated that you can’t seem to get the exact outcome you want in your project despite the fact that all the projects you see in print and blog-land are in fact perfect (because "after pictures" are so much prettier, no?)

No, in a class you’re surrounded by other people all hoping for the same outcome but struggling along the way…(and ideally laughing and supporting and making the entire experience infinitely more rewarding and enjoyable.)

So fortified by Alicia’s botanical prowess, I decided to declare this “The Summer of Self Improvement” and fill it with a bunch of other classes to kick-start my creative mojo. On the docket for July -- a batik class and a Polish paper chandelier class, which I’m super excited about, and then in August I’m planning on taking a couple of cooking classes, as my culinary skills are seriously waning these days.

I’ll let you guys know how it goes down + I’d love to hear about any classes your taking or what you do to kick-start your creativity…





Some shots above of the utterly fantastic Bows and Arrows...I want that gold pig. Bad.

32 comments:

Estelle said...

Well, it's as if you wrote this post just for me. I totally get everything you are saying here and have started a similar track for myself this summer. I'm committed to doing something creative every single day, with Thursdays (my day off with childcare) completely devoted to making art. And I can't believe I just said that, but yes. There it is. I think your classes sound so interesting and I'm sure they will take in in unimagined directions these next few months. Hope you share more.

Estelle said...

And your arrangement is gorgeous!

Little Bean Shop said...

Ditto! Always room for self-improvement and there's nothing like being surrounded by fellow creative people to inspire you!

Looking forward to our upcoming classes!

Kelly and Kelly said...

I love your flowers & your movement on doing this. I'm busy making a baby so probably no classes but hopefully later! ;)

Pretty Mommy said...

Oh! You hit the nail on the head! Blogland is totally creatively intimidating...I have that same paralysis when it comes to decorating...kudos to you for taking so many fun classes! Sounds like a blast...

Kate @ {wit + delight} said...

oh lordy. i needed to hear that. i find myself completely drained, exhausted, and uninspired at least once a week.

i'm already signed up for some letterpress classes, i bought a digital photography book, and i plan on taking more yoga classes. all things that i've been meaning to do for ages.

i can't wait to see all of that creative energy pouring out of you, jos! if those flowers are any indication, you're going to have a summer full of wonderful adventures.

xx,

k

Sam and Livi said...

you have NO idea how much i love that quote!!!! I have even blogged about it many a time. lovely, isn't it? i believe it too!! women love to create!

Flora said...

Your flowers arrangement looks great. And those classes sound brilliant, I'd love to take classes like these...

burntphotograph said...

i can so, so identify with being overwhelmed by outside sources of inspiration. i sometimes feel like i have nothing to contribute or i feel bad that i'm merely "inspired by" and not "inspired." now i miss the freedom of the classroom, even though at the time if often felt constricting. sadly in order to make money i've been forced to use my BFA to make commercial art, which almost removes me entirely. it uses my literal skills of actually manipulating design and colors but certainly not from my viewpoint.

enjoy those classes and the indulgence they bring! your flower arrangement is really pretty!

Katie said...

Joslyn, whoa. Your flower arrangement is stinkin' gorgeous. I totally get what you mean by "dark, Flemish vibe." Super sumptuous.

And I can completely relate to what you're saying about inspiration overload. I've found immense benefits from "scheduling" time for indulging in inspiration. It seems counter-intuitive, but as a full-time PR gal, full-time grad student and wannabe artist, I know my life just won't be in that zen balance unless I *make* myself create, even when the inspiration isn't there to start. Art, special meals, flower arrangements...

Speaking of which, thanks for your comment yesterday on my humble little flower bowls. My camera broke a few weeks ago, so at least a few floral oeuvres have gone un-captured.

Katie said...

Oh, and I SWEAR I saw that gilded piggie at the Dallas Flea this weekend (?) and coveted it. Didn't realize its home was the heralded Bows and Arrows.

My mother-in-law has a giant golden boar's head terrine that she serves soup out of. I much prefer this whimsical golden piglet.

Michelle Salz-Smith said...

Thanks so much for this post! I have been feeling "stagnant" lately and not at all creative. It's challenging reading about and viewing all the pretty in blog land and not feeling like I can contribute as such.
I am now following your blog and have to think the lovely Alexis from Fern and Feather for the tip. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hello - So enjoyed your bog. Am a stay at home Mom looking for inspiration and so appreciate -- and admire -- what you get done. Am so curious what is your day job. Don't mean to pry but... Anyway thanks for the blog.

Fern and Feather said...

so inspiring and ever so poignant... as always ;)...oxo

PS. I love that you drink Lillet... a little ice and a slice of orange is... well, perfect.

dulci said...

your arrangement turned out great!!

love the pig.

http://ladulcivida.blogspot.com/

casey said...

love that you are taking a class. i'm thinking of taking one myself!
the flowers look gorgeous!

Jane said...

I think your flower arrangement is fantastic it must have been a great class.

I think we get stuck in the rut of staring at pretty pictures on the computer partly because it is easy. When you have children and a million other things to do it is much simpler to snatch a minute here or there than actually make the effort to get to a class.

Classes force you to step outside yourself, and the hands on element cannot be emphasised enough. A few years back I was going through a rough patch and I took up botanical watercolour illustration, which is hard, and requires concentration, and I just loved it and it made me forget about what was troubling me. You have made me think that perhaps I should take it up again.

xoxo

YYZ said...

In one week's time, I begin a one-year sabbatical from my job as a high school English teacher. I love my job, but it is a life-eater and I really miss having time to do creative stuff, to play around, and then, when I do get a few stolen minutes here or there, I am paralyzed by the creative perfection overload feeling you describe. One of the things I am most looking forward to in my year off is the chance to MAKE things and to take classes to inspire me, push me and teach me. On my list? Corset-making, shoe-making, millinery classes in London, England. Also, Liberty of London offers workshops and I plan to take some of them-- in what? I don't know yet! That's what's so great-- I have time to respond to my own creative urges! Yay!

Thanks for a timely and inspiring post and for the beautiful photos of your lovely floral arrangement and those of your classmates.

joyefulart said...

I know how you feel. I feel the same way especially about being creative with thinking of new meals to make. I am an artist and paint. I keep a journal to put ideas in whenever they occur to me so I can look back when I am at a loss.

Engracia said...

I so hear what you are saying (apologies fro bad grammar - did it for empahasis)I have recently felt so overwhelmed by the blog world, I have actually done a very throrough culling of my reading list and this has made a real difference. I have also enrolled in a knitting class (winter here) which I am loving and have had another look at my sewing machine and started sewing again. This has all coincided with some troubled times for my family which has forced us to look at how we live our life. A very timely post.
Engracia
xx

PS love your floral arrangement

Joslyn said...

YYZ -- corset making, shoe making...FANTASTIC!!! Your year off is going to be amazing.

Engracia -- I'll be thinking of you guys...sorry to hear about the troubled times... the knitting class sounds great!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

It's so great to hear someone else feels the same way I do. I look at all of these lovely blogs and feel like everyone else manages to do so much stuff and I'm very much just an observer. If I spent as much time 'doing' and I spend 'looking' I'd have the perfect home and perfect life! I'm hoping to enroll in some classes too next year, maybe a photography course and I really want to go to an adult ballet class to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a ballerina! I look forward to hearing about the classes you take.

Lena said...

I have been thinking about this post for 24 hours. I'm in a rut and need something too. I love the flower arranging class. I'd like to try to find a tie dye class. I'm into that right now.

Take care.

Jane Flanagan said...

I adore this post!

People often compliment me on my style after reading my blog and I feel like they'd be so disappointed if they saw my home / wardrobe / life because I struggle with hooking up the beauty posted in my blog to my real life.

I'm so inspired by you turning to a class to help you connect these things. It's so obvious in some ways and yet we so often feel like we should just be able to do these things without formal guidance.

Thank you for sharing this and I can't wait to read more about your summer of self improvement!!

nadia said...

reading this post could have not come at a better time for me- thank you joslyn for not only finding inspirational things to share but continually inspiring me!

I am very blessed in my life to always be surrounded by beautiful things, whether at the farm, the studio or shooting a wedding. when i had my shop i would gather the most beautiful things made by creative people but like you stated i was in a rut perhaps we do get over stimulated, we take so much in visually from blogs and other media that we often forget what we can do. creating something is so rewarding whether making your own laundry detergent( i know so easy and smells like peppermint or real lemons) or planting a garden or taking a class those our gifts we give our soul not just our eyes!

thank you again!

Kristina Guilbeau said...

I think this was beautifully written and so refreshing. It's nice to know that I am not the only one that feels overwhelmed by projects. Your description of the paralysis that ensues from inspiration overload is spot on. Best of luck with the classes! I can't wait to see everything you create!

chelsea said...

I am head over heels in love with your flower arrangement + with this post. 100% agree!

Joslyn said...

aww chelsea coming from you that compliment means a lot!

thank you ;-)

bigBANG studio said...

A Summer of Self-Improvement is a fantastic idea, and I loved reading about your creative high driving home. There's a line from my favorite Rumi poem that goes something like "let us be what we love" and I find more and more that it's a struggle to fulfill that imperative. So to arrange peonies, to read to children, to paint...all these things are vital to creating a beautiful life, to being what we love. Thanks for the great post...just wandered over here from Rachel's and so grateful I did. xo lily

Torrie said...

So perfectly stated (by you and then again by the many previous commenters). There is such a fine line between being inspired and being on "inspiration overload"...and the blog world can definitely act as a double edged sword in this regard. I am so :) to know that I am not alone in the 'process of inspiration.'

I do a couple of things when in this state. (1) Let myself be uninspired for a little while, whether that means eating Kraft mac & cheese or watching 24...or reading People- until I'm ready to 'jump back into the game.' 2) Do something out of the ordinary such as enrolling myself in photography or cooking classes (could not agree more w/ the POWER of a classroom/interactive/hands-on setting).

Thanks for the INSPIRATIONAL post:).

mlp said...

oh man i can't tell you how much this resonates. you took the words right out of my mouth.

it's comforting to know that i'm not the only one. and it's inspiring... :)

Aron said...

That pig is cute! When Ashley and I travel in France we tend to hit up the markets pretty extensively. Many of the butchers and cheese vendors have a mini stuffed pig like the gold one you've pictured next to the pork products. Its always a bit surprising but I like it. Why shouldn't we be closer to the food you eat.

In terms of self improvement/creativity... I'm working on my photography. I think its improved a lot since we started blogging. Though I agree that other blogs (like yours) are a bit intimidating. ;)