In some capacity or another, each of us desires to create. Such a familiar yearning. Jake and I fan the glowing embers of our creative ambition with intentionality, stewarding each precious spark of inspiration to then feed our blaze.
We have come up with our list of creativity cultivation essentials, which helps us do just that. This list is by no means complete but will be subject to change as we do. No matter what it is you put your hands to, perhaps our list will stir you on and help you hone your own creative process.
Essential No. 1: Create an Atmosphere of Inspiration
I love how Jake said it to me once, “It is important to establish an environment which invites inspiration and creativity- hosting them as honored guests.”
More than ever, our creativity abounded when we moved out west. Our studio is nestled at the base of the Colorado foothills and the natural beauty surrounding us serves as a daily inspiration. If you can, get outside. We're blessed to live where we do but no matter where you live, there's inspiration awaiting you.
Inside our studio, it is very important for us to have physical boundaries for "work" and "home" since we live out all these aspects in one place. When we moved to our studio-home, it was the first time I ever had my own workspace and let me tell you, when I was able to sanction off "my area," my sense of drive, creativity and inspiration flourished as I was really able to make this space my own.
Surround yourself with mementos, art, photos, books, whatever it is that inspires you. Jake is really good at this and his calligraphy studio, for instance, is curated with every tool for the job alongside relics of the past which inspire his own work.
I'm slow to curate my space but I do it with such intentionality, wanting everything to hold significance and a story. Some of my favorite things in my workspace is the old Underwood typewriter Jake restored and gifted to me for Christmas one year; my great grandmother's handwriting sample I have framed on my desk dated from the year 1904; the rows of Franklin Library books I've collected over the years; photos of Jake and the kids, and of course, original artworks on the walls...
Curating a space for creating is only half of it and I really do believe that having a specific space dedicated for your work helps maintain focus and serves for solid production. However, I'll leave you with this quote that really says it all: "Inspiration exists, but it must find you working." - Picasso
Essential No. 2: Consume and Be Consumed
How many times do we allow ourselves to get lost? To explore, to imagine? To be captivated? To behold and to be held? A presence of mind is encouraged between us- an intentional, intense focus on our work while also being present with our family. Time is broken up in a new way for us in this season. Where we used to immerse ourselves in numerous passion projects we are now diligent with our time and routine.
I'll admit, this aspect looks very different for us right now. Raising two children and running two businesses makes us different consumers; beholding new things. And in all honesty, that drive to dive into a passion project, at least for me (I won't speak for Jake), isn't the same as it once was. I feel the seasonal shift and the desire to be present with my little ones. And that's okay. If you're in a season of raising little ones or taking care of your family or business, you have full permission to keep that priority -- we actually encourage it. Our creative drive or creative gift should never guilt us. There will be a time and a place that those gifts will be used, even if that day is not today and that season is not now.
Something I'm reminding myself lately: when you DO find yourself ready to be immersed: guard your time to create. Protective hedges have been placed around our work and we stand as one another’s keeper. Even in the busyness of everyday life, we will fight for that time, as it really is a discipline and a calling. Whether we're in a season that allows for multiple passion projects or not, creating is, indeed, our career, and it's important to be given the space to create well.
Essential No. 3: Study As Much As You Practice
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." -Aristotle
Tried and true advice from the masters. As much as we do, we study even more. Whether it’s studying a calligraphic exemplar and then executing endless ovals or studying God's word and how it's reflected in nature to inspire our latest collection of work... There is always something to learn, always something to observe, to consider, to inspect, to compare. Creativity and inspiration are the results of aspiration.
Essential No. 4: Expand Your “Palette”—Succeeding in Diversity
To keep the creativity flowing, we expose ourselves to new ideas (forever learners!), whether it’s doing what we have always done but trying it in a new way or doing something completely different. Some people believe that doing one thing and doing it well is wise. Perhaps. But we are inspired by those who do many things and do them well. We admire those who succeed in diversity. There is untapped potential in challenges outside our realms of expertise.
Food for thought: If we never expanded or challenges our skills as artists, Everyday Heirloom would never exist. This is a good reminder for us, even now as we look for new ways to grow...
Essential No. 5: Collaborate
Our first four creative essentials are a process of Know Thyself. Learning about your own creative process and how you work best can then lend you to the art of collaboration. In knowing where your skills lie, invite others into the fold. This creativity booster fuses the rest of our creativity essentials into one in that we are blending atmospheres of creativity across two (or multiple) artists’ of different disciplines and consequently cultivating a new wave of inspiration.
In collaboration, we are also allowing ourselves to expand our tastes and interest while stretching our creative time slots and allowing ourselves to be immersed. And of course, collaboration inspires you to dig deeper into your art, your craft and understand it better than you would alone. Collaboration enhances creativity. It is the expansion of understanding of your art and that of another’s - challenging both artists- and combining the two to create something even more extraordinary.
Collaborative hand-engraved Modern Heirloom Bar with Korie Herold of The Weekend Type.
Here's to you and your creative endeavors!
How do you cultivate your creativity? What are your creativity cultivation essentials?