As a calligrapher and paper artist, I worked in clay today. I have a monthly ‘play date’ with some artist friends and we try something different each time we get together. This month it was paper clay.  Talk about uncomfortable. I have little or no experience with clay. I don’t really know how to use it, work it, mold it. I am not used to the feel or the water or have any idea what I am doing, but I did it anyway. Here you see the clay dust left on my hands once I finished molding my pieces. 

Creativity is a gift and a curse. As a gift it provides endless possibilities to learn, grow, change and create. Give any group of artists the same tools and they will astound you with what they think to develop. No two people being creative think the same. I am always amazed and often times speechless when I see what creative people think to do. Creativity allows us to see the world through different eyes and open our minds to new ways of thinking. As a curse, creativity can be a fickle mistress coming and going with no method or reason. Creativity can feel like a mood and a whine, while taking us to uncomfortable places. Ideas come plenty, it is the execution of those ideas that separate an artist from the critic. We all get ideas, it takes courage to step into the unknown and actually make something for others to experience.

No matter when or where or how you create, work, build, write…there is dust left behind from your creative results. Your work hangs on walls or lingers in people’s minds once they have read it. Your creativity shows up in programs or processes you created for work to flow smoothly. Your creativity has served as a foundation for others to build upon. It allows others to take your ideas and come up with new ones, different ones, simpler or more complex ones. By exercising your creativity, by dealing with the mess and the dust or the frustration and flurry, you take away the excuses of others and make the world a better place. 

Being creative will be messy. Tools get used, remnants of dust, dirt, leftovers, smears can be seen in any studio or workspace. Being creative means you will be uncomfortable and out of control. Being creative means you will need to yield to new and forget the known. Being creative means rolling up your sleeves and letting a problem, tool, idea or impulse lead you into uncharted territory. Being creative is not for sissies. I encourage you to get covered up in the ‘dust’ of your own creativity and expereince the joy and frustrations of stepping into the unknown. If you allow yourself, you will never be the same.