Getting Unstuck

unstuckI recently bought a pretty awesome book.  In fact, I’d say it’s the best book I’ve bought in the past few years.  (That I remember)  It’s called “Unstuck:  52 Ways to get and keep your creativity flowing”  by Noah Scalin.  Mr. Scalin is an artist and teacher at VCU.   The object of the book is to help you get “Creatively Unstuck.”  We all get in ruts. We usually want to get out of the rut, but aren’t sure how to do it.  Mr. Scalin suggests that the best way to get the creative juices flowing is to take a break from what’s stumping you and do something completely different and creative.  His book includes everything from 30 second googly eye projects to multi-hour projects using found art.    Upon buying the book, I immediately flipped to the back to look at all of the big projects.  I poured over the urban alphabet project and photo safari and thought, “this would be so amazing if…”   Then, I remembered that I’m a mom who works a full time job and if I have time to do those projects, then I should have time to fold the laundry.  So, I flipped right back to the 30 second project and got to work.

The first project I jumped on was called “Eye Spy.”  The basic jist of it is to make a pair of eyes (googly, sketched, etc) and put them on stuff to make faces.  That’s it.  It seemed pretty straightforward to me, but I couldn’t figure out why it would help me get unstuck.  In my opinion, it didn’t take a lot of creativity to stick some eyes on a pole or a wall.  I was so wrong.  It wasn’t the actual pictures I was taking that helped me get creative.  It was the FUN I had while doing it.  By the time I had 3 or 4 pictures of school equipment with eyes, I was ready to go back to my desk and get to work.  The physical results- you can see below.  Some are hilarious and some are just ordinary.  But, mentally?  I’m ready to take on a web design project!

Do yourself a favor and go get this book.  I think they have a few copies at Chop Suey in RVA.  Or you can just go make some googly eyes and stick them on things.

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My winter break relationship with ds106

Every year, I get a nice 2 week holiday break from work that includes lots of down time.  At that same time, the ds106  crew gear up for their winter MOOC.  ds106 and I usually get along great when I’m on vacation. Unfortunately, our relationship fades when I go back to work and all of my creative juices are re-purposed into other projects.  The best part of ds106 is their spin-off site.  Basically, anyone who has a good idea for a media “assignment” can submit it here under the category of visual, design, audio, video, web, writing, fanfic, or mashup.  If you see something that peaks your interest, you can create and submit it to the site.  This morning, a friend shared a link to his most recent assignment submission “Not Quite Norma Jeane” where you are supposed to make a grid of faces “a la Marilyn Monroe.”   Time on my hands?  Check.  Rainy day?  Check.  Adorable children who like to make faces?  Check!

ds106:  here you go!  I’ll miss you in a few weeks when I get back to work, but we’ll meet again on my next vacation.

Kids a la Marilyn

Thanks Tom for the assignment idea.   For anyone who’s curious, I used my iPhone 5 for the pictures and adobe fireworks* to make the grid.  I actually used the blur tool on the background to make it look a little more like I have an awesome manual camera that can focus in on certain things.  I kind of want to blow it up and hang it in my room now.

*I know, I know… I should use photoshop or something a little better than fireworks, but fireworks is on my mac and I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t open my Dell (which has photoshop) until I went back to work.