Monday, February 18, 2013

8 Principle of Creativity. Lessons from Bert Dodson.

Hello creative souls!

Have you ever wondered where creativity comes from? Or what makes a certain act "creative"? I often ask myself these and many other questions about creativity. In one of my earlier posts I speculated about creativity being a form of "undetected plagiarism" (in William Ralph Inge's words). In this post, I would like to talk about some points made by Bert Dodson in his book Keys to Drawing with Imagination: Strategies and Exercises for Gaining Confidence and Enhancing Your Creativity .
While the book aims to develop an artist's imagination and apply it to visual art, many principles of creativity that Mr. Dodson points out can definitely be applied to a variety of life's activities:
  • Creativity occurs in action: Theorizing about creativity does not help much if one does not do much. Creativity occurs in the process of creating.
  • Creativity begins with simple ideas: There is no need to wait for great creative ideas to hit you. Starting with small ideas and actually working with them will eventually lead you to better and bigger ideas. 
  • Creativity lives in the present: The point is to do it now. One has to be engaged with one's work, be focused in the present instead of thinking about a future goal to be more creative.
  • Creativity increases with practice: Disappointment in the execution of one's ideas is normal and happens for almost everyone. Ideas almost always look better in our imagination then on paper/in reality. That is why it is important to practice your craft and do it a lot!
  • Creativity increases as judgment and criticism decrease: It is easy to discourage yourself with general self-criticism like "I don't have any ideas" or " I have lots of ideas, but I don't [insert what you do] well enough".  Silence that self-critic.
  • Creativity likes constants and specifics: While exercising freedom in your craft is good, complete freedom can overwhelm us by possibilities. Our imagination needs something to push against, a problem to solve. That is why "it is ironic that constraints can actually give you more freedom." This principle makes me think of Project Runway. When given certain parameters to work with participating designers have no time to entertain endless options about what they can make. They have to come up with the decision fast! That pressure can fuel one's creativity.
  • Creativity emerges in experimentation, manipulation and exploration: This principle is self-explanatory.
  • Creativity is about having a plan and a willingness to depart from it: Spin off, add-ons and variations are a natural occurrence in the creative process and should be embraced and exercised as they can often lead to new creative projects. 

Although many of these principles are not new I find a reminder is always good. Suggestions like suspending judgment, working with rougher materials (as opposed to your best ones), not planning out your work are all great ways to boost your creativity. And if you are into visual art definitely take a look at Dodson's book for more advice on expanding your imagination.

What about you? Do you ever find yourself stuck or disappointed? What do you do to let your creativity thrive?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Trend Alert. Wear Those Pants!

Hello trend-watchers!

Today I wanted to talk about pants and the various styles that popped up on the Pre-Fall and Fall 2013 Runways. Designers have presented us with such a variety of styles that there is no shortage of options to satisfy every mood, taste and occasion. Here is what I saw.

Stay in Your Pajamas

Feeling lazy and blue? No need to get out of those comfy pajamas. Just throw on a stylish jacket, grab a flashy clutch and you are ready to rock.
Wear them Wide and Bright!

Nothing says "I'm in a playful mood" as much as these bright, wide-leg trousers.

Crop that Cigarette Habit

The brocade embroidered floral prints make these skinny cropped pants more than suitable for a special occasion.

For a luxurious look, pair metallic pants with fur and you will not go unnoticed! From slouchy to skinny, there is a great variety of these shiny numbers to choose from.

Metallic Lux

Now that I have my slouchy florals and shiny skinnies, I need to make wide-leg bright and cropped cigarette brocade trousers. So excited! Which are your favourite styles?

Image source:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Outfit Idea #14. What to wear on St. Valentine's Day?

Hi fashionistas!

Well, this post is not exactly about an outfit idea. It is actually a request for ideas. St. Valentine's Day is fast approaching and I am at a loss for any thoughts about what to wear on that day. This is what I wore last year:

I know you can't see it fully but this is the only picture I have wearing these guys. They are knee-long slouchy pants which I made from Burda Young Pattern 7463.

"Not very St. Valentine's Day-appropriate," you will say... But does it have to be all hearts and roses? Here is how I accessorized them.

Boots with handcuffs design, my favourite chain necklace and some gold-tone and gun-metal bangles.

In case you are wondering, yes, handcuffs is my idea of a romantic evening. I went to a club party after all. Besides, what does one wear to a St. Valentine's Day event? Does it have to be red? Interestingly, I own only one purely red shirt. I have a bunch of pinks, violets and purples (even one raspberry), but I just do not wear red. Do you? What are you planning to wear? Please help me out and throw some ideas my way!

Thank you guys!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Outfit Idea #13. From Mom with Love.

Hello darlings!

Today is my Dear Mom's Birthday! That is why I thought it would be very fitting to write about her creative legacy. After all, my propensity to make things did not come out of the blue. It is all thanks to her time and patience that I am into so many handy crafts. For as long as I can remember myself my dear mommy was always knitting. She made me and my sister everything! And I mean everything. What my grandmother would not sew my mother would knit. Unfortunately, me and my sister grew out of most of what she made us. But a few of her items remain in my closet today. Here is a sweater that mom made me when I was in grade 9. I love it dearly. I think it is such a delicate work! So I wanted to share with you a few different ways that I wear it.
With the dress pants

Beige dress pants and a white blouse underneath this cardigan make it a perfect look for work. To create more interest in this simple outfit I added a cat-print scarf and leopard-print pair of shoes. Rolled up cuffs of the dress shirt create the feeling of ease and casualness in this otherwise official ensemble.

With an olive pencil skirt

I combined the cardigan with the retro print shirt, cinched it with the belt and wore my favourite cognac Spring boots which you have seen before. I was channeling "that 70's chick" here. I think that the layered styling and the brown-and-olive colour palette helped me achieve that look.

In my opinion, this cardigan is such a timeless classic that it remains relevant even 10 years after its creation. Here is a closeup of its intricate knit pattern:

The right choice of accessories breathed a new life into this beautiful cardigan.

Unfortunately, my mother no longer knits. However, she has a new passion. She channels all her creativity in the direction of writing. And quite successfully at that! If you can read Russian then you can find out more about her books here at PhoenixBooksPublishing.

What about you? Do you have a special old garment in our closet that has a sentimental value? Do you wear it? If so how?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Trend Alert. Bright Colour Suits You!

Thinking of acquiring a new tailored suit for the upcoming season? Here is an idea: why not get it in a punch of bright colour? Pre-fall and Fall shows were vibrant with a whole spectrum of colourful  tailored suits.

After all, "dress code" does not always mean "colour code" and any office could use some colour therapy. All you need to be aware of is
  • a pant cut suitable for your body shape (thankfully, the trend ranges from cropped cigarette to full flared trousers) 
  • and the colour flattering for your complexion (the one that brightens your face and lights up your eyes).
With these tips behind your belt, you will enliven the dullest cubicle maze. And that's always suiting!