It’s been a while since I cobbled words into a blog post. Nine months give or take. Where does the time go? To be sure, I’ve been writing plenty since then – filling writing notebooks before sunrise, building words into my art, and making notes in the margins as I read books that fill me with answers and more questions about the reading/writing/creating process. Business ownership also became a central theme as I committed to moving in the direction I’ve intended the past four years.
Less than 48 hours ago – after a month of planning, I enjoyed a Friday night Sip and Make Mixed-Media Art Workshop with friends – new and old. Afterward, I found myself – as I do each time I teach – reflecting on the process. What worked. What didn’t. What I could have done differently. If I’m lucky, I get organic feedback from workshop guests.
Saturday morning began like this:
Husband: Good morning!
Me: You know, I was thinking about last night’s workshop….
That poor guy. All these years later, he knows where my brain will go (and stay) until it has sufficiently chewed on whatever I’m processing. It began…
Husband: What were you thinking, honey…?
Me: Well, I was thinking…. I began to ramble through thoughts not yet completely formed…. (and before coffee)
Husband: Have you considered…..
As usual, his response gave me pause. Then as our day unfolded, he gave me space to process my thoughts…..
Here I am. Sunday morning. 5:38 AM. It’s time to find those words and leave them on this screen. Share my thoughts. Share my questions….
As I prepared for our workshop…..
I gathered materials and supplies, considered the techniques I’d share and packed plastic boxes with each carefully labeled. Just as I have in the classroom for the past 25 years, I needed to work out my teaching plan: topic, teaching strategies, and takeaways.
Topic (Project) established: Pocket Journals
Teaching Strategies mostly clear:
- Provide our workshop game plan: the what, why and how
- Review basic ingredients
- Show samples of the project and variations, along with techniques to attain those creative choices
- Introduce tools and materials
- Have guests get started while I monitor, ask questions, answer questions, and guide the process – assessing where each participant is in her own creative process and adjusting my teaching to meet her there
- Ask guests to reflect on the process as we wrapped up
Takeaways: What did I want guests to leave with? A pocket journal, but more than that – an understanding of the process we would spend 2+ hours exploring together….
I also kept thinking about past art parties. Did guests leave with a greater understanding of the creative process? It continues to be my question as I develop creative events for folks: Do you understand the relationship between creating and mindfulness? Are you allowing Creativity to give your soul a voice? Do you make the connection between the tangible elements (the creative ingredients we use) and your life?
If the answer is No to any of these questions, then my teaching goal has not been reached.
Creating is a connection to ourselves…. to our innermost feelings and emotions. Our stories. My goal is to help people recognize that connection, understand its power, and be open to exploring it. When we do, we begin to discover our own creativity and its impact on our life.
Fast-forward to the final 48 hours leading up to our workshop. That’s when it hit me! To help guests make the connection between our lives and our creating for this project, I needed to deliberately show how our lives are composed of pieces – of experiences and events, emotions and evolving thoughts. We are stitched together by the elements of who we become.
And there it was: Bit by bit, we become us.
To that end, each workshop guest received a small jar to place her bits into – each piece contained to the size of the jar. Use as many or as few and fill as many times as needed, but the “bits” needed to fit in the jar.
Watching that process unfold was fascinating! I even received feedback the next day that made my heart sing…. milestones reached, breakthroughs made, creative interests defined… a joyful good time had.