We have a storage shed in our yard that is white and very utilitarian. The last time our family visited we all built bird houses so we could cover one side of the shed. We spent a rainy day painting, glueing and decorating each one. As you can see no two are alike. Each person put a piece of their own perspective into their house. We used hotel room keys and buttons, coins and license plates to cover the roof. We used glitter, paper, book pages and paint to cover the outsides. My brother runs marathons, so we screwed running shoes to his house. My niece covered one with rocks from the driveway, and another with flowers. The homage to military service has Army men guarding the front porch. We plan to name this area and create a bigger house in the center of all the others to serve as the ‘community center’. We completed twleve, and already have different ones in process. We hope that when others visit they will want to decorate a bird house so they can put their stamp on our shed. 

When I told my relatives what I wanted them to do, not everyone was excited about the idea. A couple people went down the path of talking about how they are not creative and can’t think of anything to do. They walked around the studio for a while, sometimes checking back on our progress. Others dove in full throttle and didn’t care what anyone else thought. They put on an apron and got started. Still others had a great idea and needed help from the group to pull it off. A couple people made multiples, and others worked diligently on their single house. When the two days were done we had completed a dozen houses. I took them outside and spent the next week sealing them with spray acrylic to protect them from the elements. 

For those who had an idea and were not sure how to execute it, they asked the group and we all brainstormed different tools or ways to pull their idea off. We tried a couple things that didn’t work, so we cleaned that mess up and tried something else. We even road tripped to the local art supply store to buy more things for our ideas. When we didn’t find what we needed there, we went to Walmart…that is where we bought the chidren’s running shoes. We now have a fun memory and a creative piece from each and everyone who was here for the weekend. It is now our zany way to spend a rainy day. 

It is amazing what people will do when you give them the right tools, time, supplies and very little guidance. When they have an opportunity to express their ideas without judgement or restraints, they will always astound you. There are those who will impose their own limitations, and others who will stretch beyond what they thought could be accomplished. All it takes to get people to be creative is time to let them be creative and a safe place to try. Anyone can be creative, we simply need to leave them alone with the right stuff and stand back…prepare to be amazed!