Uncategorized

Uncategorized

The Ways Creativity Helps To Elevate Our Lives


No Comments

I have known first hand the benefits that creativity has had for me for many years. I have studied creativity and how it has effected everything from improving cognition, problem solving, to elevating mood. Studies have been offering up many insights about the many benefits that creativity has to offer that bears being aware about.

Before I count the many ways, let me first acknowledge the elephant in the room many of you are no doubt thinking about and it probably goes something like this, “That’s great, Parker, but I’m just not creative!”

First, let me explain that you don’t have to be an immense talent in order to enjoy what you are doing. Children are born creative and artistic for the simple reason that they aren’t concerned about whether they are good or not. You might love to drive, but are you going to be a Formula1 race car driver? You don’t need to be a prima donna balerina to be able to enjoy dancing, right? As children, we embrace life and many activities like the arts, with abandon. Children simply don’t worry about what their art looks like, they just enjoy the act of coloring or shaping clay, singing, or dancing. The self-consciousness about not being able to make their art or creative output look or sound like a professional doesn’t happen until children get older, afterwhich most of the child artists slowly fade away. This condition is reversible and it is as simple as coaxing a turtle out of its shell.

The key, or one of them, is to begin with what you like, go with what really excites and inspires you. It doesn’t even need to be about being great at technique. It could be as simple as your love of color, so start there. You might love nature, so begin there; looking at flowers, leaves, trees, mountains or water. Then let that love carry you forward. When you love something it is much easier to throw your whole heart into it. Follow your heart.

I’ll admit to you that I love fire. I also like making things in art, not just drawings or paintings. It led me to casting metal in college and then later blowing glass. It isn’t all of what I love about 3-D art, but that love pushed me forward to also develop the skills necessary to work the material to higher and higher levels of refinement. It was hard work, but it was well worth the technical hurdles and challenges. To find what you love, this might involve some exploration. Maybe its music, or dance, or knitting, or building furniture. All of it is creative. That said, let me enumerate some of the big points that creativity brings out in nearly everyone.


Creativity Is Play

Being able to play is important in our lives. Play helps us to create a break from the worries or pressures of life. Play supports an important spectrum of feel-good chemistry in our bodies that helps to elevate mood.

Creativity Helps Combat Depression

When you are wrapped up in a creative project, it gives your mind a focus that washes away the blues. Being able to keep your mind moving from one choice to another leads to being able to crowd out what you have been dwelling on that keeps you worried or feeling stuck. Plus, there are a lot of feel good chemicals we reward ourselves with when we enjoy doing something that can help us feel and be healthier.

Creativity Uses The Whole Brain

We know now that the left brain acts as a rational linear processor while the right brain is holistic, nonlinear, and is the feeling part of ourselves. It’s curious how when you look at our technological developments, the bulk of them are rooted in linear processing. Being able to build into your life something that will engage your right brain, the opposite of the linear task master left brain, and shifting into right brain activity will also help you relate better to your own feelings. Creative pursuits definately taps emotional intelligence as part of our process of expressing ourselves. It’s not hard to be analytical, try changing how you feel by a form of self expression. Being creative has the power to reach into feeling and helps you turn on a dime emotionally.

By using both your feeling self and your rational self, you can do what results in a synthesis between the two.

Hint: this is where inspiration dwells and that’s the secret sauce that artists credit for being wildly creative.

Creativity Helps You To Be A Better Problem Solver

So whole brain thinking is a real plus, but this also helps with something problems, be they creative, or saving the world. Whole brain thinking allows you to see both the micro view and the meta view, allowing you the flexibility to make more inclusive conclusions and make more considered decisions.

Creativity Boosts Self-Esteem

If you can really enjoy what you are doing creatively, it boosts your feel-good chemistry and that can make you feel good about yourself, a glow that has a tendency to stay on for a while after you are done with your project or creative activity. Giving yourself the gift of time with something that you enjoy helps you to keep in mind the importance of self-care. That, too, is an important element in learning how to keep feeling good.

But wait! There’s more! In studies just on the effects music lessons have on children, the advantages go far beyond just being good at music.

In children who had music lessons, their grades across the board improved because of how music uses so many different parts of the brain. But this is an advantage adults can realize also. In a recent study people who studied music, for example, had increased cognitive abilities, memory improvement, decreased aging and dementia, better language skill, higher I.Q. and better grades.

All arts have similar results, and the benefits go far beyond being good at something, practicing art literally lights up the brain, and that has far reaching results for all of us.

Perhaps this is why people who come to the studio to make things have such a bounce in their step and a smile on their face. The arts are transformative!

To learn about the results of the music study, click HERE.


Photo Credit: Christopher Risch

Parker Stafford is an educator and glass artist living and working in the New River Valley of Virginia. He is the owner of Stafford Art Glass in Newport. You may find him on Facebook and his work at his website.

Art and Design, glassblowing, Uncategorized

Your Input Is Welcome


7 Comments

I am currently working on a redesign of my website.  It has been a bit of an effort making new designs, then figuring out how to photograph and present them on the site. Today I am coming to you to see what you think about one aspect of my web design, which is for the large sun catchers I have been making and which many have gotten to see for the first time on Facebook.

 

My impulse has been to give these pieces names that are fun and inspiring.  In that same vein, I have tried to be creative with the descriptions that will accompany the pieces.  While I feel good about them, I’m not always the best judge.  What I am wondering is what you think?  Is it beside the point?  Does it help, set a tone, or is that not even necessary?  Would you prefer just the image of the work, and do you find it the text silly?  What do you think?  I really want to make this to be fun and inspiring.

I have put all of the descriptions so far for those large sun catchers called Orbitals below.  I have a few of the images that have been shot of them in the studio so you can have a few visual reference to see what it is that I am describing. I would love to hear your feedback, pro or con before we set this one in internet concrete. 🙂


 

 

Brava_Orbital_Sized

Brava

An Orbital is a world of sun-catcher color, done up large. Peaches, oranges, and gold’s vibrate like an early-stage sunset with highlight splashes of blues and greens.  A few carefully placed murine elements in bright red dot its landscape.  We lay on the color in patches, thread the highlights on, resulting in pieces that look related but are each unique.  Feel the warmth and bravery. Blown with sturdiness in mind, our pieces are not eggshell thin.  Made for the ages.  Made just for you, with our love.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Blue_Sky_Riot_Orbital_HR

Blue Sky Riot

Sometimes you just want to make a statement and aren’t in the mood for the urbane path.  You are ready for a riot.  We feel you. Solid fields of cobalt blue make their entrance with windows of gold, green, red and orange thrown in between gasps of deep blue bliss and a rumor of pink gold ruby.  Someone claims a fleck of purple makes an appearance, but you will have to hunt for it.  Remember, these are not punched out of a mold, my friend. We roll each one by hand and they bear the mark of uniqueness common to handmade glass.  Each one is a solid riot of color!

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Caliope

Calliope

You have been all across our site and can’t make up your mind.  Calliope comes to the rescue in her broad reach of colors that will look great in just about any kind of décor (even if your décor changes-how cool is that!).  Includes blues, gold’s, greens, oranges and a flirtation with some pink ruby.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Earth_Wind_And_Fire_Orbital_HR

Earth Wind & Fire

Where else can you be confronted with all elements together in one place than here on earth?  Out on the ocean, split by sky, grounded in earth, and enlivened by fire, this Orbital bears banded blends of lively color ready to set your soul on fire as it cools your mind and helps your heart learn how to stand in the center of wonder.  Hand blown, each spot of color lays in its own way and melts, as it will, making each piece unique. The revolution begins here.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Mango_Multiverse_Orbital_Sized

Mango Multiverse

This Orbital will take your through an upward spinning journey from peachy oranges up into a multiverse of green, blue, and light sky blue. Is there anywhere you can’t go?  Hand-blown, each piece is unique, like a sibling all bound by the same design DNA.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Green Optic View2 Sized

Milette’s Garden

Somewhere in the south of France, she tends her garden, humming a tune as birds fly overhead.  This Orbital has a beautiful emerald green with highlights of gold’s, peaches, splashes of sky, reds and blues. Like grasses woven one into the other, you could swear you feel the wind as it whispers to you from a faraway time and place.  Handmade with love, each piece is unique but made from the same landscape where Milette dreams.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

Oceanic_Borealis_Sized

Oceanic Borealis

A deep ocean of blue rises up through its watery depths with streams of green and splashes of yellow/gold.  Changing in the light, colors interact and blend with each other in fields of watery wonder. Turn it this way and that, you get to choose exactly which view works best to remind you of aquatic dreams.  Made entirely by hand, slight differences exist that give each piece its stamp of uniqueness.  We make it just for you, with love.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Purple_Passion_Sunset_Orbital_Sized

Purple Sunset Bliss

Here is how this vision unfolds: streams of purple and pink ruby twist around the body of this Orbital, a sun catcher like no other.  It is punctuated with streams of orange/gold lit with flecks of red.  Like a sunset, the view changes as you turn these in the light.  Hand blown, each one has its own unique story to tell.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

BG Optic Top View Sized.jpg

Sky Dream

Sometimes you have to stay in while it rains and let the sound surround you as you wait for a dreamy patch of sky to open up, teasing you into the light.  Ladders of gold sun dance through the clouds as you dream in poetry.  Let the muses take you in this woven work of emerald and cobalt.  Gold shimmers in highlights along the top.  Ribbed, colors fold over and blend dreamily.  You are getting sleepy…Made with love and born from fire, because ours are hand-rolled and blown, each piece is unique but bears the same patch of sky each time with a little more wind here, a little less downpour there.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

Wavy Purple Top View Sized

Wavy Purple Plum

Purple, pink ruby and splashes of orange are woven like the tresses of a transcendental mermaid who catches you in her otherworldly dream.  Only love makes things like this.  Hand-blown, each piece has its own song to sing you.  Let us start the music for you.