Making Toast- And other Creative Adventures

Creativity is an elusive idea, most commonly it is thought of as something that you have or you don’t.  However, as humans, we all have the innate ability to learn and conceive, remember and imagine.  These qualities all make up a creative mind, it’s simply a matter of perspective.

After watching two incredible Ted Talks on Drawing, I felt that this concept was refreshed for me.  As a gifted teacher, creativity is my middle name, but it sometimes can be placed on the backburner when the confines of the public school system are so strong.

In the first video, Ole is discussing how our minds are able to do all of these wonderful things, like recall and create something that may be in the future.  He suggests that using drawings not only creates a special bond and an easy to remember tool, but also can bring us together as a group, workplace or community.  He suggests doing this to set goals and involve everyone in the process.  Before I go on, I think it’s best that you watch the video for yourself, be sure to have a sharpie and paper ready!

Ole Ted Talk

Here is my drawing from that activity!

ole.jpg

One of the most interesting points in Ole’s presentation was when he mentioned the average person saying “I can’t draw,” yet after a simple lesson, really more like guidance, we all could create cartoons of key drawings that would help to communicate our ideas visually.  This is all encompassing Growth Mindset, choosing to try something new and keeping positive even if things are hard.

Ole mentions that we, as humans, are visual thinkers and these images help solidify what we are trying to share.  Using these to teach, create or set a goal can put it into perspective for many different people.  I loved his ideas on planning a vacation with you family by drawing it together; giving everyone the option to add to and plan together.  I immediately thought about using this to plan a unit with my third grade class!

The second video was a Ted Talk on “Illusions,” hosted by Graham Shaw.  I thoroughly enjoyed this and would attend another event of his if I had the chance.

Graham highlighted many similar points in his talk as we saw in Ole’s presentation.  He talks about the illusions or beliefs that we hold close, those that say we can’t draw, that we simply don’t have the talent or the ability.  He notes that these are simply what they are- ILLUSIONS.  Drawing isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of perspective.  He says that there are only two steps to be able to draw.

  1. Have an Open Mind
  2. Have a go

I want you to keep those in mind and follow his video below- again you will need a sharpie and notepad.

Graham Ted Talk

Here is my drawing from his presentation!

Graham

I really enjoyed listening to Graham talk about being apprehensive about working with the adults recovering from strokes.  I know that I have had those feelings more often than not, the “why did I sign myself up for this?” or “what was I thinking?” or “what have I gotten myself into?”

These thoughts are the premonitions of fear, these create a wall in our minds that can be built up so tall that we eventually force ourselves into thinking that we can’t do something.  Graham then goes on to tell us that many of adults that were recovering we doing his drawings with their non-dominant hand.  He shared that they didn’t complain, or let him know or share their griefs.  They simple picked up the marker and were up to the challenge.  Those feelings of apprehension will always be there, but it’s the resiliency that we create by picking up that pen or attending that conference or stepping out of our comfort zone, that break down that wall of “I can’t.”

He concludes with a powerful statement: How many other beliefs or limiting thoughts do we carry around daily?  If we challenge them or think about them differently, what else would be possible?

After watching these Ted Talks and creating some doodles of my own.  I ventured off into the land of creation.  I know when people ask me if I can draw my default answer is “I can’t copy something that someone has created, but I can’t create from my brain and put it to paper.”

There is that word again- “CAN’T.”  It sneaks into my daily discussions, I don’t even notice it anymore.  However, fresh out of these talks, I simply picked up the marker and created.  I illustrated the steps of making toast.  I never once told myself I can’t or googled what cartoon toast looked like.  I let MY IMAGINATION do the work.

Toast

The importance of completing this activity was to show that creativity isn’t about “having it” or not, it’s about taking the leap and trying it.

That is most important to me as I venture through my final semester- taking that leap and moving out of my comfort zone.  I’ve had my life planned for a long time; deciding in 1st grade to be a teacher, in 7th grade to study Spanish, in 8th grade to do a year abroad after high school, in 11th grade to attend Flagler College after my exchange year, and to follow these in my 5 year timeline.  Now that I’ve surpassed these plans, I find myself on a path I never set out for myself, a path that was decided when I knew my heart wasn’t with Elementary Teaching anymore.  A path that fell into my lap, with a hefty price tag and a lot of work I had never been exposed to, none the less, I knew this would be a challenge that would lead me to where I am meant to be.  This leap into a world unknown would help me grow as a designer and as a person.

I’m choosing to ask myself

What walls of “I can’t” and self-doubt have I built up for myself?

How can I think about these challenges differently?

I challenge you to do the same, what have you been putting off, what holds a pit in your stomach or a longing sigh when you drive by.  I ask you to take that thing, whatever it may be, take it head on.  Pull over to that art studio class you’ve been eyeing, sign up to present for your company, take your friend up on their offer for a camping trip in the mountains.  Whatever it may be there are 2 steps: 1.  Have an Open Mind 2. Have a go!

Good Luck!

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