19 February, 2013

AWAKENING CREATIVITY {stepping out of comfort zone}

Last time, as part of AWAKENING CREATIVITY series, I've talked about the importance of making the first step of your creative journey, the importance of "simply beginning". Today I want to talk about a rather uncomfortable but extremely useful and important part of your creative awakening - stepping out of your comfort zone.

Stepping out of one's comfort zone is not an easy matter: we get comfortable and good at doing things a certain way, be it working with a familiar medium, using favorite colour palette in our paintings, or creating objects we've made before. Why would we want to break the routine that has worked for us all this time? Why do we need to change things?

As it turns out, imposing certain limitations makes our brain work in a slightly different way; it forces us to think and to adapt rather than to go through familiar motions.  It also forces us to change the familiar route and to arrive to a new destination.

Stepping out of the comfort zone would mean different things for different artists.  You are the one who knows your own process better than anyone else, you are the one who knows what feels comfortable and what would be changing.

When I craft there are two things that remain constant: I often take my time and I mostly use colours that I like.  If at the beginning of the project I do not have a palette that inspires me and brings images to my mind - chances are I would either never begin or would abandon the project half way though.  I depend greatly on colours and the palette of the project often dictates its success.  Time is another important condition for my work; I am not a fast crafter - I take my time adjusting and rearranging elements of my craft projects.  Most often than not I leave the layout for at least 24 hours and get back to it with a "fresh eye" the next day.  I need my time and I am not good creating fast or under pressure.

One day when I felt uninspired and had sort of a creative block I decided to step out of my comfort zone and create something in a colour scheme I didn't particularly enjoy and do it in one sitting, in less than an hour.

I went through my stash and found paper of an uninspiring shade of pink (pink is one of my least favourite colours).  I've had this paper for quite sometime and was sure I would never get a chance to use it.  Besides being pink it had the least interesting flowery repetitive design with yellowish-brown elements thrown in for a good measure.
After selecting the paper I gave myself a time limit: in less that an hour I had to create a card using pink paper as a background.  Let me tell you right away, I've failed the time limit and ended up spending almost 2 hours on the card, but the important thing that happened was me not putting it away for 24 hours.

The process itself was quite fascinating: after looking at the paper I decided to add dusty-purple as a complementary tint.  Since I was exploring unusual territory with colours I also thought of doing some heat embossing - a technique I like but do not get a chance to use often.  I've added a quote embellishment and picked buttons to decorate the card.  The project that seemed scary and intimidating at first turned out to be engaging and fun.  A couple of hours later, slightly past my time limit, the card was ready.

I was very happy with the way it turned out.  It definitely had elements of my style but at the same time it's colour palette was unlike any of my creations.

I do not expect this type of results every time I step out of my comfort zone.  I do believe, though this type of "exercise" to be extremely efficient in waking up my creativity.  I encourage you to give it a try, next time you feel "blocked" or simply have time to experiment - use an unusual tool, create in colours you do not like, or simply make something unusual...


Two years ago: MAKE UP BAG


  1. I think it was a really good idea to use a color that you don't like, it pushes you to really conjure something up. I'm working on leaving my comfort zone, with all things in my life and this is good advice.

    1. Thank you for the coment, Tasha! Leaving the comfort zone is always difficult but I am sure you'll get wonderful and unexpected results. Best of luck to you!