February 23, 2009

Guiding Creativity

Rearin’ the Petites Monday


I believe that all people are INHERENTLY creative and feel saddened when I hear someone say, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”. Julia Cameron, author of “The Artists Way…A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity”, says that “Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.” She adds that, “We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.”

I just received an e-mail from a facebook connection, she wrote, “I look forward to the day that I can completely plug into my creativity like you have!”. How many people have a creative yearning and don’t tap into it, put it aside for a “better time”, or have never explored how creativity could enhance their life?

Creativity is more than just a piece of art, music, or dance. It is a way of seeing the world, ourselves, and our potential. It is about the freedom that comes from within. Being creative is a natural self-esteem booster and can enhance your mood if you dive in without ego.

As a parent I am very interested in not standing in the way of my children’s natural creativity. I want them to feel free to think and create from a place that doesn’t need reinforcement from “rules” or “recognition”.

At Buttercup Farm, we do our best to follow the rules I listed below. It is amazing how few “toys” we actually own, and how easily my girls can create “something” out of “nothing”. This is a rewarding experience for them everyday.

  • Be joyfully creative around your children. Demonstrate how happy you feel when you are spending time figuring out your own creative possibilities.
  • Expose children to creative thoughts and experiences. Share with them the beauty of nature using a keen eye for detail. Point out the colors in a sunset, flowers, and sounds of thunderstorms. Go on hikes and collect beautiful things from nature, paint Plein Air with them, read poetry aloud, listen to classical music, and dance together. All of these little experiences can add volumes to their creative memories.
  • Give your children space for creativity, both in time and place. Don’t fill their time so that they don’t have time to “putter” through their own creative moments. Leave areas in your home completely accessible to be creative. Keep lots of supplies they can just “pick up” as they pass by.
  • Try not to judge creativity with statements of recognition, instead, ask questions about how they did what they did. Share a common bond of how good it feels to spend the time creating.
  • Don’t look at creativity as an exchange for academics. It all ties together and in fact has been proven to enhance the academic experience.
  • Limit screen time. This is truly one of the biggest creativity squashers in my humble opinion.

    We have several spaces in our home we refer to as “Artist Retreats”. My children and I “LOVE” those spaces by creating in them daily. One of my favorite creative spaces on the farm is “Buttercup Amphitheater (needs a new creative name…don’t you think?). stage10 years ago I wrote down a dream describing a place where I would bring people together to enjoy music, community, and friendship. From there, the stage was built two years ago. In addition to our summer concert series, the stage is a PLAYGROUND for creativity in our community. The children spend endless hours creating “shows”, displaying collections, and playing with their friends on that raised platform. We also use it to dine Al fresco during the summer months. The stage is only a piece of concrete raised off the ground with an arbor covering it…simple structure yet it invites “creativity up” to do SOMETHING.

    Last night on the Oscars, an award recipient said, “Creative seeds are sown in the oddest places”. I loved that statement because it inspires me to be aware of where those “ODD” spaces might be in our (my family) lives.

    QUESTION FOR THE WEEK: Where are your creative spaces? Do your children have a special place where they create? What about you? What do your spaces look like?

    CONTEST: We need to NAME the AMPHITHEATER! Please post your ideas for names in comment section of this post and subscribe to my blog by hitting the button in the upper right hand corner (you need a feed reader to do so). Our family will choose TWO winners on on Sunday, March 1…winner #1 the person who comes up with the name, winner #2 Random selection winner. Both winners will receive a copy of one of my favorite books: “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron. I will post the announcement next Monday…If you enter and have a blog, I will also post links to your blog with the winner’s announcement.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Also, don’t forget…it is “A Beautiful Life” Friday over at The Inspired Room . Take a few minutes to check out all of the post links you will find there. It is a great weekend treat!


Down home friends and what they say...

Comments (9)

Rebecca said:

Shawn - I love the idea of creative spaces, and your amphitheater is so cool! My husband has a “man cave” in the garage where he does all kinds of woodworking; my spot is a desk in the attic with all kinds of supplies. My children create all over the house - their bedrooms, the dining room, outside…lots of paper, pencils, crayons, Model Magic, and outside, all kinds of “nature” get made into fairy houses, forts, and other locales. It’s so great that you’re featuring creativity - it’s vital to being human, for everyone - children included!

billie said:

How about the World Stage? I chose this name for three reasons: 1. To show an open hand of friendship to people everywhere. 2. In hopes that your little one’s dreams as they play on the stage will be as big and bright as the world. 3. In reference to “all the world’s a stage…” from Shakespere. :)

Elsie said:

We try to be creative as we go, wherever we are…our individual spaces to be creative seem to include my garden, and my husband’s photgraphy hobby, and my son’s travel experiences….

I suggest the name: “Cloud 9″…totally whimsical, means happy place! Easy to remember! Open to interpretation by each person!

Jamaise said:

I just watched your slide show. I just have to say that it’s perfect just the way it is. The Buttercup Amphitheater. Maybe not so creative, but perfect :))) If there is a better name for it, it will come from friends who gather there - it will catch and just stick.

Your feeling here is wonderful. Thank you :)))

Kit said:

How about Buttercup Playhouse. It can encompass where “play” is done, whether it means a play or show is being given, or just a place for play itself.

Robin Rane' ~ All Things Heart & Home said:

I think you are making your house a home, warm and sfe for your little ones to grow and thrive! Yea!!!

I do have a room, I love it, my blood-pressure comes down when I walk through the door. I call it my fun-room and I write, craft, sew and plan in here…I’m surronded by my pups who also love the room…life is good!
Oh and I just last Sat. bought the Artist Way, I’m moving through it and love the exercises.

Happy Friday~
Robin Rane
All Things Heart and Home

Sandy said:

Creative spaces have always been an important part of our home. We have always had a room set aside for various art hobbies. Outdoors we have a whole forest of woods to foster creative play, a hay loft in which to read, a garage where magical mechanical things happen, a bench tucked away on a woodland trail where one can sit a dream, and a special place where we have a family campfire and stories are shared. I love that you have a space to share with your community! I think a great name would be Cirque Buttercup! Please do not include me in your wonderful give away as I already own a copy of the wonderful book you are giving away. Have a wonderful weekend!

Tamara said:

You wrote a wonderful post! I LOVE creativity……there’s nothing more energizing…….and when I see my kids create right beside me, that’s even more amazing.

This past few weeks I’ve been working with my girls to creat e a music video. We not only created the video but some great memories as well. check out my post on the fun we had


Brooke said:

Why not The Free Space.

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