Creativity Interview

Melissa ra Karit interviews Doyenne Rowan Nightshade about creativity.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mother of two, a Witch, and a High Priestess in a coven. I’m working full time in educational software. It takes a lot of creativity just to manage all that. I blog at jennybach.com.

What sorts of creative activities do you engage in?

Currently, I’m doing crocheting, knitting, and making shadow boxes. I’ve been doing women’s history shadow boxes. I think I’m ready to move on or at least take a break for other themes. I have an idea for colored glass filters (at the front and back) and crocheted hanging nets to hold the filters in the shadow boxes.

What have been sources of your creative energy?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the years. To some degree, I have this restless energy, driving me forward, pushing me. It makes making things very satisfying for me. That energy gets expressed through cooking, making jam, making art- they all feel similar to me. Sometimes I can get that feeling to come out in words, but mostly it’s wordless. It can be unfocused and it makes me angsty if it is too unfocused. Art becomes an outlet of beauty and of function.

Other things that are sources of my creative energy include traveling, nature, relationships, and other people’s art. Anything really that evokes strong feelings. I am inspired to create art because it’s an outlet for feelings and ideas I can’t express in words.

Have you faced any obstacles in being creative? How have you overcome them?

Sometimes I just have a block, there are no ideas. Usually when that happens, I just need to be exposed to something new. My brain just lights up when I get exposed to new things. I’m very inspired by new information and new sensory input, whether that’s art, literature, life, experiences. It helps me get out of my rut.

The biggest obstacle to being creative, though, is time. Managing my time effectively so that I have time and energy left over to create is an ongoing process. I’m a very busy person.

I know that with any creative activity, the best way is to do it 15 minutes a day. Building the practice is important. It’s truth, but I also struggle with making it happen. However, if I don’t heed the impulse to make something, I just become miserable.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling with feeling like they aren’t good at this stuff?

Being good at it is actually secondary. It’s all an experiment. You do the thing to see what will happen- you don’t know! You can’t have an expectation about the result. Then you see what happens and maybe you tweak one thing and see what will happen if you adjust something. Eventually, maybe when you’re really good, you get something you’re satisfied with 1 time out of 10 or 15 times, and that’s when you’re really good! You can’t be married to the result, you have to be married to the process.

How does creativity benefit the world?

If people found a way to express that restless, passionate impulse which makes us love, make war, everything- instead of trying to control it (and end up being controlled from the dark) or just give in (poor impulse control) and instead made something- beautiful, ugly, whatever you’re feeling inside, then others can get something out of it. It doesn’t need to be the same thing you put into it, but someone will get something out of your art and that makes it worthwhile to the world.

I think it is an inborn quality, this striving to create. We get dulled by media, and allow ourselves to be completely passive, and are then miserable and unhappy, not doing what’s good for us.

Any last thoughts on creativity that you want to share?

Creativity is process, a practice, a muscle. It might be weak at first. But we are creative beings, just because of our nature as part of the universe. Instead of looking at the world and expecting something, we learn to look at the world and see what’s there. We learn to, like in art, be married to the process of our lives rather than a certain result.

Live an artful life, the rest will follow.