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I love my job. I love the creativity of my students and watching them blossom throughout the year. However, there are times I feel my personal creative juices running low. Between putting up displays, creating lesson examples, helping students, grading projects, making lunches, folding laundry, checking homework, reading bedtime stories, and trying to get some sleep, my time for being personally creative is pretty limited. When I do have some time, I sometimes find myself stuck and not sure where to start.
As art teachers and creative people, we know that when we get “stuck” we can get a little irritable. We may start to resent the job, family, and commitments that keep us from doing what we enjoy. We can feel that something is missing, and we know it is important to get back our creative vibe. But how? In addition to fitting in art throughout the day, here are a few more ways to jumpstart your creativity.
It is easy to start following people like JournalFodderJunkies, LearnPhoto365, and Sketch_Dailies that post daily challenges or ideas for projects. You don’t have to participate daily, weekly, or even monthly, but it is nice knowing that the ideas and challenges are out there for when you do have time. Instagram also has some fantastic spots for inspiration. For example, follow its_my_week to participate in a new challenge each week.
I am not talking about a college level Masters degree class, although you could if you want, but rather an online art class. A few years ago I took Carla Sonheim’s Faces 101 class which focused on drawing faces. Every day for a week she emailed an assignment out and we would “turn in” our work through a Flicker account. Even though I know how to draw faces it was a lot of fun “being the student” and coming up with the solutions rather than the assignments. Being on the other side of teaching definitely forced my creative juices to get going. Danny Gregory’s Sketchbook Skool is another fun option. Or, you could always try out one of AOE’s new Studio Classes, Ceramics or Printmaking!
As artists, we sometimes think that we have to create a painting or a sculpture like we did in college if we are going to be creative. However, the reality is that I don’t have the same amount of time now as I did in college. I could decide that scrapbooking, quilting, and hosting Friday night Pinterest parties aren’t very creative, but the truth is, I am always happy and satisfied when I finish those things. They fit with my life right now and that is what is most important!
Two years ago, I watched glass blowing in San Antonio and I was enthralled. Last year, I found out that there is a glass shop 2 hours away from me that has weekend workshops, and I can sign up to “be a glass blower!” The idea of being able to go there and create beautiful glass works definitely has my creative mind working.
Getting creative doesn’t have to cost lots of money or take that much time. It could mean participating in a photography retreat, a Saturday class at your local art center, attending an art fair or anything else that gets you excited and thinking in a new way. The important thing is to find something that allows you some personal creative time. Feeling creative will help you inspire creativity in your students and isn’t that one of the things we love most about our jobs?
How do you know when your creativity is running low?
What fun ideas do you have for getting creative?