Service of Preparing for Creativity

November 14th, 2011

Categories: Arts & Crafts, Back to Basics, Creativity, Specialists


I was inspired for today’s post by what a weaver and fashion designer, Marsha Fleisher, Loominus Woodstock, wrote about how her ideas for color, pattern and design come to her. “When I am quiet, empty and in stillness, the process of creativity comes of itself. For me, this emptiness includes the absence of chaos, the slate needs to be clean, chores done, bills paid, dishes washed, lists cleared, calls returned. I am usually rewarded with a concept, color, texture, and interplay of designs, jacket detail, and a vision…magic.”

craftshow2011mfleisherlpasticheFleisher [her “Pastiche” coat is at right] is one of 200 artists and artisans who will exhibit their work at joint shows, American Craft Show NYC and Contemporary Art Fair NYC at the Javits Center, November 18-20. The craft/art show producers, Joanna and Richard Rothbard of American Art Marketing, are my clients.

artfairmicheldelgado2Another exhibitor, artist Michel Delgado writes: “I am in a powerful new place in my career as an artist.  The beginning of a painting had never been a comfortable place for me.  All the emotional and mental preparation would make me stiff.” Notes the Key West painter who was born in Senegal, “Now, I have nothing to hold back and have found a new journey altogether; trusting in whatever will occur.” His painting, “Unbroken Spirit,” [left]  is enamel on wood.

artfair2011mazzoniemeraldcatAlso a participant, Margaret Azzoni is exhibiting paintings of homes, interiors and dreams that she captures in watercolors, pencil and ink on canvas or paper. One of her mixed media works is “Emerald Cat,” right. Azzoni studied architecture at Princeton where she received a Masters degree. She says that the fluidity of painting provides “a relief from the rigid lines of the architectural drawings.”

artfair2011gutierrez_alejandro_-st“Not being constrained by the type of film in the camera, I’m able to work the settings to get the sensor to capture the light the way I want to,” says Roosevelt Island-based photographer Alejandro Gutierrez addressing the digital photography he plans to exhibit [such as “St. Maarten” at left]. “The instant feedback is very important; the equipment is portable, flexible and I’m not limited to one kind of camera. I don’t set up/style a photo but use the scene and existing light, street signs-I allow the pieces to happen.”

artfair2011yukouenoPart of the Contemporary Art Fair NYC, Yuko Ueno says “I was attracted to the beauty of butterfly wings and developed my own way of making them [at right]. Each butterfly piece has unique design, color and patterns from my imagination. Inspirations came from my dance background and passion for music.” She explains her Butterfly Project: “My goal was to deliver a message through my work that beautiful little creatures exist on this earth and to call attention to the fact that when trees and greens disappear, little lives disappear too.”

craftshow2011willcox_kimberly_lrArtisan Kimberly Wilcox wasn’t prepared for a fire that destroyed her studio in 2010 and changed the way she works and thinks. “Journey Home,” painted on reclaimed wood with acrylic, watercolor and pastel [left], is part of her “Gift of Receiving” series. “Artists are givers and it’s easy to be a giver,” she said. “After the fire, I became a receiver,” hence the series. She didn’t have brushes when she started this piece as they, too were lost: She painted with her fingers.

joycebluebeachquiltsmall2Joyce Malin [she’s not an exhibitor] quilts for relaxation. She says “Designing and assembling the pieces and sewing them are escapes from the bad news on TV.” She noted that if she waited until all the chores were off her plate at work and at home she’d never design a quilt. She collects fabrics as others might accumulate stamps or coins. She carefully sorts, identifies and stores the swatches according to topic and color. She’s also an avid photographer and incorporates photographs on fabric into her newest work.


Remember Norton, the “Honeymooners” TV character played by Art Carney? Before he would write his name or a few words on a piece of paper, he would wave his hands around, flex his fingers to prepare himself, all the time driving the Jackie Gleason character, Ralph Kramden, crazy.

Before you write a proposal, a paper or an article, paint a picture, frame a photograph, establish a budget, launch a do-it-yourself project, draft a speech, how do you prepare? Do you work in silence, in the morning, midday or at night? What do you do to jolt creativity or your thoughts when nothing is happening?


15 Responses to “Service of Preparing for Creativity”

  1. Joanna Rothbard Said:

    How beautiful and inspiring. You are such a good writer! It’s amazing how the creative process works for different people.

  2. Diane Baranello, Coaching for Distinction Said:

    Jeanne, I think we are all artists in our own unique ways. We’re artistic and creative when we set a table, trim a tree, plant a garden, organize a home, decorate a window.

    As for me, I help people overcome obstacles in their careers and sometimes simply help them figure out what makes them shine so they can do more of what they do well. I often speak to groups of people to connect, inspire, teach. When I prepare for a talk I like to use a white board or a flip chart and storyboard my ideas by sequencing them. I work to connect my thoughts so I can take people on a journey. Everything I do is about communicating and connecting.

    I like to use color and shapes to bring an idea to life. I like music for inspiration. I like a large piece of white space to put random ideas together and then connect them. I like finding just the right word to make a point come to life (I keep a journal of words to include in my narratives). I like to mix visuals and sound and movement with message. I like connecting my energy to the earth’s energy through meditation. I like to tap into the quiet that brings inspiration.

    What could be better than being considered an artist in your field?

  3. jeanne Byington Said:

    How insightful, Diane, and truly artistic! How lucky your clients are. You reach them through all their senses.

  4. Lucrezia Said:

    Much depends upon what is meant as creative and who is creating. Not sure I agree with DB who generously describes everyone as artists, but it’s an enjoyable and flattering concept. Trouble is, when looking at a mountain, I can’t imagine anyone able to reach such a degree of accomplishment, Mozart and Bach notwithstanding. Perhaps it’s a matter of degree – and right now, I’m all dried up. The sounds of Monday Night Football blot out all coherent thought. Rah! Rah!

  5. Hester Craddock Said:

    Jeanne — You are wonderful because, in a time of difficuly for creative people, you write so eloquently about creativity!

    Thanks to you, and people like you, and shows like the one about which you write, creativity has a chance to survive the greedy efforts of the mass marketers to stifle it to protect their big box profita.

    Keep up the good work.


  6. Ginny Pulos Said:

    Honest to God? I am NEVER in a position where nothing’s happening. My challenge is to narrow the gazillion ideas dancing in my head down to just one.

  7. Marsha Said:

    Hi Jeanne,
    What a great post! I really appreciate that I was an inspiration…
    Look forward to meeting you at the show!

    many thanks, Marsha

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think a carefully constructed and thoughtful memo that gets the job done fits under a creative umbrella.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    So your challenge is triage! Once you figure out what to do first, you are ready to go!

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Joanna, Hester and Marsha,

    Thank you all.

  11. Ginny, President, Ginny Pulos Communications Said:

    My challenge is to get very still, so that I pick the right idea, the best idea, the most outrageous, out of the box, knock your socks off idea, and trust that the others will be useful, possibly, somewhere else. Don’t know why I have an abundance of ideas dancing in my head, but I’m grateful, grateful, grateful that I do.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It’s so much better to have too many ideas than a dry patch. I’ve had both. The feeling of relief when I come up with the perfect solution to a challenge is palpable!

    Sometimes I wake up with an answer. Sometimes it comes to me after shower water bangs against my head or as I describe the situation to somebody else. I’m a good juggler, but if I am distracted by too many things at once, I must close down a few of them and focus on the most important issue.

  13. Peter Willems Said:

    Good that you pay attention to the intense, creative works of Joyce Malin.
    Her guilt works are designed with energetic imagination and fascinating beauty.
    Peter Willems, The Netherlands

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Over the years, I’ve seen photos of Joyce’s quilts and the quilts themselves both in a Manhattan exhibit and in her office. She has an amazing ability to coordinate patterns and colors and to think of themes for each one. Joyce’s quilts tell a story. Like an Oriental rug, you never tire of looking at a Joyce Malin quilt!.

  15. Anne Said:

    Love the colors in this quilt. I am the proud owner of 2 quilts by Joyce. They are beautiful!

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