Never underestimate the power of the Universe. Starting in 2007, I explored “creative play,” trying a new quilting technique or creating a weekly journal quilt. In 2012, I took a maternity leave from that and by 2014, I was so far out of touch with my creative self that I wasn’t even sure she was still in there. The Universe knew better however, and started giving me the bread crumbs I needed to find my way back.
One of those first bread crumbs led me to Jane Dunnewold. I was watching an episode of “The Quilt Show” (and I was a few months behind on them). In it, she talked about an online class that she had started offering called “Artist Strength Training.” At the time, I wouldn’t have called myself an artist, but hearing about the class set off a little hum in my brain, like a tuning fork being tapped. I went to bed that night talking myself out of it. “I’m sure it’s really expensive.” “I don’t have time.” “It’s probably not being offered any time soon.” The next morning, that hum in my brain was still there so I decided to just look into it. Well, it was being offered and it was starting in a few days. There were spots still available. And, it wasn’t nearly as expensive as I thought it might be. So, I signed up. That one bread crumb from the Universe that I picked up became a lifeline that started pulling me out of the deep of the woods where I had been wandering in circles looking for the road.
Jane’s class is now a book renamed “Creative Strength Training; Prompts, Exercises and Personal Stories for Encouraging Artistic Genius” and I fully endorse it. The book contains the same content in ten chapters as the ten weeks of the course, encouraging (and sometimes very direct) words about discovering who you are as an artist and what makes you and your work distinctive; learning how to dismantle the critical voices in your mind that stymie your creativity; and how to work the creative process. Included in the book are responses from students in prior classes, both their written responses to her lessons as well as the art that the course prompted, giving you access to a set of peers, which was such a valuable part of the class. If you are in need of a bread crumb too, explore this one and see if it feels right for you.