August 19, 2011

Creative Cycles...and Photography

It's taken me years to figure it out...years of feeling like a quitter or a flake every time I set a project aside because I've felt the overwhelming (literally- can't sleep at night) urge to start something else...but about two years ago I finally realized, I'm a creative cycler (did I make that word up?). It's the only means I have of describing my mad methods for managing my seemingly endless store of ideas (I realize that sounds a little egotistical- okay a lot- but it's true. I've always had more ideas than I know what to do with). For weeks, or even months at a time, I'll feel the need to throw all my creative energy into drawing and painting and collage. I'll walk around with a sketchbook in my handbag and at least two drawing pencils and one paintbrush sticking out of my hair at all times. Then, slowly, that inclination will begin to fade and I'll sit down to write. And write and write and write-poetry, fiction, children's stories-this is why I have a series of three novels in the works that will probably be in the works for the next four or five years. And I've learned to be okay with that. Because the muse will always come around again. After I write for a while, my sewing machine and embroidery hoops call out to me. My stacks of fabric and rolls of ribbon and jars of buttons beckon and for the next few weeks I happily stitch away.

And lately, I don't want to do anything, or go anywhere, without my camera.

Yesterday I finished a dress I've been working on. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I wanted to both wear it and photograph it myself, so today, the kids and I set off, picnic basket in tow, to do a little tripod/timer photography, Esther-from-the-sticks style.

I spent so many years just shooting on auto because I was kind of afraid of the whole tech end of photography, but now that I've actually started listening to my husband when he starts in on aperture and ISO and blah, blah, blah (love you honey), it's starting to make sense. And I'm experimenting. And you know what? This photography thing is really, really cool.

Two things I learned in the last couple of days and one I learned long ago:

 1. My dress form's breasts are much perkier than mine. I suppose she hasn't spent a cumulative total of more than three years nursing babies.
Note to self: adjust future designs for Mamma sag.

2. If I really want to capture images of my children being who they are-no poses, no pretense, no fake smiles- all I have to do is set the camera on a tripod and let them take turns with the little remote control. 
They loved it. And I love the images we ended up with.

(Oh, alright. So I have the remote in that last one. Still, that's my sweet girl.)

3. There's time in my life for all I've been blessed with the ability and desire to do. But I have to be patient. I have to remember there is so much beauty to be found in the rhythm of my home and family and the adventures of everyday. To find inspiration in a life well lived, I first must live it. 

And let the cycles come as they may. But don't forget the camera.



  1. What a lovely blog! And such a beautiful dress and sweet little ones too. I totally understand the "creative cycles" you're talking about, and I love that term. I've always accused myself of being flighty and unfocused when I flipflop between music and writing (as I do every couple of weeks). So these are encouraging words. Thank you!

  2. absolutely lovely dress! And I so completely understand about the too many ideas and too little time creative rush as well as the cycling through creative mediums. Beautiful pictures!