Sometimes, they’ve been hot. Occasionally, they’ve been messy. But they’ve always been exhilarating and more than satisfying. I’m talking about my new found passion for dates. And, in this post, I’m sharing some of the best dates I’ve gone on this year.
A few months ago, I decided to commit to regularly going out on “creative dates” … with myself. I’m not talking about dates of the romantic variety, where you go to dinner, flirt over a couple of courses and then have that awkward moment just after dessert when you’re both trying to determine where the rest of the night is headed.
I’m referring to dates of a different kind. Creative dates.
What are creative dates?
Basically, they are my version of The Artist’s Date made famous by Julia Cameron in her seminal book-cum-manifesto The Artist’s Way.
On her blog, Julia writes: “The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly ‘artistic’ — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, ‘what sounds fun?’ — and then allow yourself to try it.”
I read The Artist’s Way years ago and have always loved the concept of The Artist’s Date. But my commitment to taking myself out on these dates has always ebbed and flowed.
Earlier this year I decided to make a conscious effort to schedule these into the my diary. And I have loved every single minute of them.
I’ve now sampled everything from shibori dyeing to paper art and brush lettering. And I’ve discovered there are some activities I’m unlikely to come back to (crochet) and those that I have become obsessed with (weaving and macrame).
Indulge your creative curiosity
Committing to taking myself out on these dates gives me the opportunity to explore my creative curiosity.
And I truly believe that when you allow yourself to do that – when you give yourself the time and space to wonder “how do they do that?”, then take a step further so you create “stuff” without any judgement – then you are really feeding your soul.
Importantly, it’s given me a fresh perspective on my work. That is, my day job as a writer, mentor and business owner. It’s allowed me to look at familiar systems and processes with a fresh perspective. And given me the inspiration to change certain areas of my life or business where I was stuck.
Sure, it’s a bit hard to believe spending an afternoon practising calligraphy or rope art can impact they way you do business – but it does. In surprising ways.
Here are a few snaps from my creative dates below.
Above: An adventure into the world of shibori dyeing.
I did this at The Pencil Tin here, where I’ve continued to learn a whole host of new skills from super talented artist Martin Wale.
Above: He’s also introduced me to Japanese book binding.
Above: Learning to weave, my first ever attempt was just whimsical and fun.
I did an introductory class with the lovely Julie Nicholson here, who inspired me with her passion for weaving..
Above: Being introduced to macrame then becoming obsessed by it.
I did a beginner’s workshop at Studio Make here.
Above: Brush lettering
I learnt this at a gorgeous place called Little Lane Workshops.
Above: Then more weaving, this time on a rigid heddle loom.
I learnt so much from the very talented Natalie Miller.
Above: Advanced macrame lessons.
This was with the very clever Emilia Lorena.
In the past, I used to bury myself in emails and work projects. And I never resented this because I genuinely enjoyed – and continue to enjoy – my work. But I rarely pursued other activities simply because they weren’t on my radar.
These day, I still work as much as ever. But make time for and look forward to my Creative Dates with myself. And I encourage you to do that same. When you sense a spark of curiosity inside you, allow yourself to fan that flame and see what else it’s going to ignite in your imagination and your life.