Episode 379 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — building sketching and accountability routines + three things from right now
In this episode of the CMP, thoughts on the way habits and routines sometimes evolve. It can happen in ways you don’t expect, but once they are in place, they can really help nudge and nourish your creative practice. In the Facebook group, we share virtual coffee on Sundays. In recent weeks, I have been including a glimpse of my weekly self-portrait in my #sundayCoffee photo. Knowing that I will do that gives me an extra nudge each week to make sure that I do and finish my portrait on Saturday. Gradually, this has become a system that works and a system that reinforces itself. I do the self-portrait, and then it is available to be a part of my Sunday morning coffee photo. I find the photo itself a rewarding process (and I enjoy the feeling of these photos), and so when the next Saturday arrives, I try and make sure to work in time for the self-portrait so that I can repeat the process on Sunday. It’s a simple system, one that is well-balanced. Such systems, when we find them, can be really helpful for our creative lives.
Tell Me Three Things
Back in Episode 353, I talked about the “3 things” idea after reading Tell Me Three Things, a YA book by Julie Buxbaum. I have come to really appreciate the practice of “3 things” and the way it can be used to bridge the distance, break through a silence, invite someone to share, or open a door. I notice this approach has become increasingly common as a formulaic approach used by marketers, thought leaders, and writers, in newsletters, at Instagram, and on podcasts. The number may vary (e.g., 3, 5, 10), but this idea of an ordered and finite list sets the parameters for the sharing and the receiving (listening, reading, seeing). More and more I see “a list of things” come into my inbox as newsletters, the list format providing the structure and scaffolding for the sharing of sometimes random details. It isn’t a new wheel, but it is a wheel that works, and I enjoy the order of it. There is such beauty in a simple list.
In today’s show, 3 things:
- I finished the Sketchbook Project book, which was on my 50 Before 50 list for the year. I was a bit of a reluctant participant, but I really enjoyed the process and working on a series of portraits again. (I already miss having that “project” to turn to each night. I do seem to need some arbitrary project to spur me on right now.)
- 25 Million Stitches. This project is open to anyone who wants to hand-stitch a panel to be included in a large installation. Having looked at numerous books and inspired by several artists at Instragram, I was dabbling in boro and sashiko when I decided to be part of 25 Million Stitches. I plan to complete my panel with simple lines of stitching, a mindful and meditative process. You, too, can stitch a panel and send it in. Panels are being accepted until April (see the website for full information and deadlines). If you are interested in hand-stitching, I encourage you to explore world of slow stitching and stitch meditations. For a different spin on hand-stitching, look at the inspiring Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops: A Bend-the-Rules Primer (talked about in Episode 250). Her Dropcloth Samplers are beautiful. (I hope to do the Milky Way Sampler this year.) See the book list below for some suggested titles to pull from your library for inspiration. Even better, just grab a needle, some thread (sashiko-specific thread or Perle cotton will work), and start stitching.
- Tea. A few recent favorites: Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice, Harney and Sons Paris, Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro, and my newest discovery, Harney and Sons Tower of London. Plus, not quite what I hoped, but Glazed Lemon Loaf is growing on me. (I ended up with quite a few boxes of it, so I am making my peace with it.) What are your favorite teas?
By the way: I’m feeling really productive with my reading and my “To Read” list this year using Trello. I use Trello for other things, including tracking my 50 Before 50 list, but I am finding new book lover’s peace this year with Trello boards set up to help me keep track of books I want to read, Kindle books I snag on a deal, books I hear about in groups or on other podcasts, and then the books I actually am reading or listening to. If you haven’t tried Trello, you should! (It’s free!)
Related Resources and Titles (and supplies!):
- Stitch Stories: Personal Places, Spaces and Traces in Textile Art
- Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More
- Make and Mend: Sashiko-Inspired Embroidery Projects to Customize and Repair Textiles and Decorate Your Home
- Simply Sashiko: 36 Japanese Embroidery Patterns Anyone Can Make
- Joyful Mending: Visible Repairs for the Perfectly Imperfect Things We Love!
- Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art
- Stitch, Fabric & Thread: An inspirational guide for creative stitchers
- Sashiko Handy Pocket Guide: 27 Designs, Tips & Tricks for Successful Stitching
- Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops: A Bend-the-Rules Primer
- Perle cotton
- Sashiko thread (you can find tons of Etsy sellers)
- Sashiko needles
- Sashiko thimble
- Japanese Boro Bag Tutorial
- To Channel Her Frustration, One Woman Started Embroidering Donald Trump’s Most Outrageous Quotes. She Inspired an Army of Needleworkers
- Knowack’s amazing stitched “year” project (2019 complete) (you have to see this one; it’s phenomenal!)