We walked into TR Makers Co. a few weeks ago and met her for the first time.
She was bringing her children’s book into the shop and right away I was drawn in by the beauty of the art. A conversation began between Kristin and Stacey and myself. Also, her agent was giving me a play by play as to why I should purchase this book. Actually, it wasn’t her agent, it was her son. But he would make a great agent or sales person because he was rather convincing.
Stacey Hogue holds a BA in Elementary Education from Harding University, and an MA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has contributed to The Art of Storytelling and Relax Restore Renew, both published by North Light Books. Her children’s books are Feather: A Story of Hope, and Childhood Rhymes. Her book, Childhood Rhymes, and select original artwork can be found at TR Makers Co.
Written by Stacey Hogue
Oh, the irony. I sat down today to write an article on media consumption and its effects on our creativity. An hour later, I caught myself surfing around the internet, researching white noise machines because I haven’t been able to fall asleep at night. Suddenly I realized – the noise that has been keeping me up is coming from my own brain, because I overstimulate it all day by staring at glowing screens. Interestingly, the white noise machine in my Amazon cart advertises a “soothing glowing light.”
Oh. The irony.
When I did finally get back on track I found these startling statistics: according to Social Media Today, most of us will spend an average of seven years of our lives watching TV and five years on social media outlets. The article went on to make some comparisons. For example, did you know that in five years you would have enough time to walk the Great Wall of China three to five times, run 10,000 marathons, or
… fly to the moon and back 32 times!?
Crazy to contemplate, right? Creating these kinds of statistics takes a great deal of imagination, a gift which appears to be in short supply these days. Fostering creativity takes self-awareness, which is a challenge in a time when consumption and reaction to information happen almost simultaneously. It seems the more we attend to our super-smart, intuitive devices, the less time we have for giving attention to those people, places, and experiences which truly nourish the imagination. We’ve discovered our headspace is finite; that there’s a point at which we become filled to capacity. Sometimes I fear that the secret artist that resides in all of us is going to drown.
I’ve begun incorporating a practice into my life that has really helped me. Like the best and healthiest habits, this one is so simple and yet so effective that I want to tell everyone about it. I would put it into a similar category as drinking enough water, going to bed on time, and being committed to yoga. It’s called art journaling.
Anyone can start an art journal. The tools are minimal and the cost is small. My art journal opens a spacious place to get my thoughts out, both visually and verbally. There is no pressure for artistic perfection. And because the illusion of perfection is gone, there comes with it a challenge to be honest with myself. I find myself processing things I didn’t know needed processing, and sorting out the tangled knot that sometimes builds up in my overly stimulated mind. Clearing the mental clutter makes for a very productive studio day. Like Professor Dumbledore’s pensieve, my journal becomes a repository for all the thoughts and memories and fragments and to-do lists that I want to re-visit later. One page may contain a written account of a dream or childhood memory, another might be an illustrated grocery list or a catalogue of all my houseplants with notes and sketches.
Slowing down feels so good. An art journal has no toggle feature or multiple window option. Ads for Turbotax and prescription drugs don’t flash across its pages. With a physical pen, marker, or crayon in my hand I am forced to single-task. All that is required is that I show up and give the real me – the creative me – the chance to come out and play. It becomes meditation and my soul is soothed. After a timeout with my journal, I can wade back into the rushing stream that is my life.
As Mae Jemison said, “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
Stacey Hogue will be hosting a 4 week workshop with us at TR Makers Co on Art Journaling: Finding Your Creativity. This workshop begins Thursday, April 24 and continues each Thursday from 6:30p to 8:00pm. Registration and more information about this workshop can be found by clicking here.