Art Camp for Women welcomes Kelli Nina Perkins as our Guest Blogger this week. Kelli will be teaching mixed-media art at Art Camp for Women in October 2012. She will be teaching at Deluxe Camp as well as “The Works!” Camp! Welcome Kelli.
This is Kelli Nina Perkins guest blogging for Art Camp for Women. I’m already looking forward to fall and vibrating with ideas for our upcoming session! We’ll be exploring self-portraits with juicy, colorful projects and a bit of self-exploration. I’ll share more about that later this year.
I bet that if you asked a group of creatives what the most important art-making ingredient is, you’d get responses like; “talent,” “practice,” “the right supplies,” “intention,” and even “imagination.”
All of these are wonderful and impart their unique flavor to the process, but you can possess all of them and still make no art. Here’s an example. In the past six months I’ve taken no less than three online courses in art making. Each was taught by a good teacher and covered material of interest to me. I watched and absorbed the information with fascination…then I filed it away for another time. Classes taken: 3. Art created: 0. I believe the reason these online classes didn’t translate into art is a matter of space. I didn’t make space for art.
Making space for art isn’t about having a studio or an award-winning cache of craft supplies. It’s about intentionally making place space, time space and mental space. All three are necessary if we are to move our creative work forward.
Place space doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it must be ready for our explorations. That means a spot we don’t worry about messing up, a place with some tranquility of mind (or a good pair of headphones) and a space with supplies uncapped and ready to use. The only materials you’ll use are the ones at your fingertips, so lay them out where you can see them. If your place space is the break room at work or a the doctor’s waiting room, have a mobile art kit with supplies that are easy to take out and put away (hint: this requires planning ahead).
Tips for making place space
- Find a comfy chair and a place to spread out your supplies.
- Make sure you have adequate light and the right kind.
- Create a shelter without sound distraction, or grab some headphones.
- Change your venue to get away from the everyday. The dishes will wait.
- Limit communication so you can focus on art.
- Have your supplies prepared, open and mixed, so you don’t have to search.
It’s a cinch that you’ll never make any art unless you make time.There are always competing interests, so don’t wait for an open slot. Look for those small gaps in your everyday life that could accommodate some art. Most of us feel that we couldn’t possibly squeeze another drop of doing out of each day, but the time really is there; it’s just small. Write it on your calendar or your daily “to-do” list so you know that in this specific time space you will be making art. Then, show up prepared and ready to go.
Tips for making time space
- Remember that life is made up of moments and not big blocks of time. If you can string a series of moments together, you can make art.
- Slow down and concentrate on this one thing. Multi-tasking is the enemy of art.
- Accept that whatever time you have is enough for now.
- Always have a mobile art kit ready so there are no excuses.
If you want to make art, this is coming from a place deep inside of you. There are plenty of people telling you what you should do, and what you must do, from bosses to spouses to friends. If making art feels like a guilty pleasure, give yourself permission to create! Listen to your inner voice and make mental space for art in your life. All the place space and all the time space in the world won’t add up to anything if we don’t believe we deserve to be creative.
Tips for making mind space
- Be a beginner–there is more freedom to play when you’re learning something new.
- Act spontaneously. That’s the only way to discover new things.
- Refuse to think about what others expect you to make (and that includes yourself).
- Accept your skill level for what it is now; not for what you hope it will be someday.
- Leave the inner critic outside in the cold.
- Promise yourself that you will recognize your inner voice and give it permission.
When it comes to making space for art, the perfect place is Art Camp for Women! We’ll set aside a time for nothing but making art, in a place with all the supplies at the ready and with our mental energy focused on making to our heart’s content. Women who’ve attended often make more art during a few days at camp than they do the entire rest of the year. Art Campers arrive home with a stash of tasty projects that display the work of their hands and act as a reminder of what happens when we truly make a space for art.
Here’s to a wonderful 2012, filled with art!
All art and photography on this page by Kelli Nina Perkins.