The act of creating is a form of ceremony, a communion with our inner self/spirit that is often overshadowed by the tasks of day to day living. Nurturing this relationship is a balm for the modern soul. Here are some of my tips for cultivating art as ceremony in your daily life.
1. Designate a Creative Space
Don’t think you have room for dedicated art space? Think again. I live in a VERY small apartment with my sweetheart & two young boys and I have carved out a portion of the kitchen as my making space. The kitchen table doubles as my desk and mealtime gathering space. Living this way allows me to flow in and out of my projects as needed and allows me to be in the hearth of my home with my family. Our whole home is designed this way. Each space and nook serves a multifunctional purpose and keeps us all engaged with each other with the option of creating personal time for ourselves. I’ve had studios outside of the home in the past and still the most satisfying work has been created on my kitchen table. Find a nook in your home and consecrate as your making space!
2. Keep Your Art Supplies Tidy
These are your sacred tools that help you channel the muse! Consider the space where you create and keep your art supplies as a creative altar. Keep your supplies in beautiful vessels (they can be simple glass jars). I have replaced all the plastic containers in my life with thrifted jars, bottles and reclaimed containers. Seeing your art supplies in a thoughtfully curated way helps to find what you need and can inspire how it will be used. Organize your tools by medium, keep your sewing tools together, beads, painting supplies, etc. Keep in mind that this layout will also be in a constant state of flow so setting aside a day once a month to recurate the space as you need is also a mindful practice of gratitude for the tools you have and your creative flow.
Feel bogged down by too many supplies? We’ve all been there. Edit out the supplies you know deep down you will never use and create an art supply exchange with some fellow artists or donate to a local school or community center. Less can definitely be more.
3. Keep an Art Journal
Call it an art journal, grimoire, creative journal, junk journal, whatever you prefer. But keeping a book at hand for creative play is a key tool for your practice. I often have several journals going at once. I have my grimoire which is my personal reference book that holds recipes, prayers, information on plants, the runes, ancestry, etc. I consider this my personal bible, information that stirs my soul.
I also have my reference journals, books that hold my paintings & sketches that I am working out in my head. Sometimes I’ll do a series of drawings or paintings based on fabric designs, botany drawings or the patterns of the world around me. These spreads can often inspire art pieces outside of the book pages. There is a comfort in trying new things when it is inside an art journal as there is no pressure of having a finished and public piece of art, it’s a very personal form of creative exploration.
4. Transformation & Reincarnation
Not all art that is created is forever sacred. Much of it carries very heavy energy from the time of it’s coming into being that may no longer fit within your space, or it may no longer feel relevant to you. You are not obligated to hang on to these pieces for the sake of art. Paint over it! White acrylic, latex or gesso is a staple in my studio and I literally paint over everything all the time :) Old journal spreads that make me cringe? paint over it. Old paintings that I’m just not feeling anymore? paint over it. You won’t believe how liberating it can be to release these pieces and reincarnate them in to something new.
5. Print Your Photos
At this point we all have thousands of digital photos floating around invisible somewhere in the cloud. If you love taking photos make it a point to keep a favorites folder on your phone so you can print out your memories once a month or so. Extra points if you create an art journal especially for your photos :)
6. Go to the Library
There’s a certain magic to being surrounded by books in a library. Research the libraries in your area and plan to visit one a month to explore their various book collections. Each library has it’s own area of specialty so discovering new books in each location is exciting. Go old school and make photo copies while you are there! Peep through the book sale/discard shelf and see if you can find a book or two to repurpose into journals or collages. And don’t forget a travel journal and a few art supplies for note taking and instantaneous inspiration burst :)