Creativity Classes, Workshops and How To Books – Seriously?

Have you noticed how many are selling books and workshops on how to be creative?

I found this definition in a Google Search for the definition of “creativity”. So if you focus on the words originality, individuality wouldn’t the influence of someone else’s points of view and direction negate these factors at least in part? And then, is the resulting work uniquely your own? Or some sort of vague type of collaboration? And if you wanted to be “creative” the next time does one have to find another book? Refer back to previous notes from a workshop on “How to be Creative”? Tune into someone else’s thought processes to get back into the “creative” zone? Take a refresher course?




  1. the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.
synonyms: inventivenessimaginationinnovation, innovativeness, originalityindividuality

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying, “Creativity is connecting things.”

Isn’t that all one needs to do, just sit there with the materials you know how to manipulate and create what you want to say. Keep moving them around and see what happens. Come up with a unique expression and not something that looks very similar to everyone else’s work in a workshop. It seems that if we all worked this way there would be so much more out there to inspire the rest of us to keep using our own voice. And give us the confidence to carry on alone in our studios when we need to create another way of saying something that matters.

I wish all of us could do this. So many images of artists’ works look like so many others. We used to be more unique pre-internet, pre-workshops taught over and over, in places worldwide on how to “make this”. It is really hard to find the original and individual. And it is very easy to find the derivative.  My mistake here is thinking that all of us want to be unique in our artwork. Some have told me, “Sandy, please, most of us just want to make stuff.” And that may be true. We simply want to make stuff.

Later today I will start my week long workshop on teaching as many techniques as I can to a class of eight students that I hope will take their resulting samples books home to their own studios and find a way to use some of those techniques to create something original and individual. Find their own “creativity” without relying one someone else’s directions.

Experimentation with Materials cover page lo res