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There is a discipline attached to creative practice, and I have to make space and time for artistic expression each day…I realize that I cannot survive without creative activity. It is a basic need for me, and perhaps I am able to paint and write on a fairly regular basis because I have practiced so extensively over the years. These activities are part of my routine, my way of living, my devotion to the world and my immediate environment.  Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process

Much of what Shaun McNiff shares in his book Trust the Process, zeroes in on what I have been learning to cultivate and appreciate about my daily creative routines and studio practices.  Slowly by extension, I have also felt the need to consider all of my daily work as an exploration of this inner drive towards a creative purpose.

I see my work as a means of creative expression.  I cultivate creativity throughout my day.  The measure of fulfillment I discover depends on the level of trust that I have with any one particular work process – as a form of practice.  There are some practices I welcome and trust more readily and fully than others.  My goal is to live creatively.

Once we realize that artists are themselves expressions of every conceivable way of living, we can begin to appreciate variations of creative types. Ibid.

The exploration of the materials that I work with, and their connection with my natural environment, holds a new level of significance and relevance given this shift of perspective about the importance of the art-making process itself.  Some of this exploration of materials, particularly about pigments, I shared in my prior post on watercolor painting.

I cultivate a small herb and flower garden, beside my son’s play-gym, where I read and write while he plays outdoors.

Over the years, I have enjoyed pressing flowers and making cards with these as keepsakes for friends and family.

The dried petals of some of these blooms, like these orange ones – from the coreopsis, have been boiled and crafted into dyes by some of the textile artists whose writings I follow.    See: Jenny Dean, Wild Color

Given this burgeoning interest in plant dyes, I located some plant seeds to cultivate in my garden for dye-making.

In the meantime, while these seeds sprout and start to grow, I acquired some ready-made plant dyes crafted by Blue Castle to paint with on silk.

I look forward to using these materials and discovering new methods of working with dyes and pigments.

Work with sticks, string, stones, grasses, and other natural materials…These art experiences will help you develop confidence in what the materials can do…In order to realize our creative powers, we have to believe that we have the ability to make something significant. As I reflect on this attitude, I realize that I am not really talking about self-confidence. I am describing a commitment to “the process” and its ability to generate worthwhile results. I learn over and over again that the creative process is an intelligence that knows where it has to go. Somehow it always finds the way to the place where I need to be, and it is always a destination that never could have been known by me in advance.  Ibid.

I trust that the experience of researching, studying, gathering, cultivating, making and working with these natural dyes and pigments will allow me to venture into a worthwhile discovery process.  The experience will hopefully allow for an expanded dimensionality in my creative pursuits.

I will write more about the discoveries through updates in this blog.