Category Archives: Emile Manefeldt Art

Living a Creative life

It is silly season again. Everybody is rushing, buying and running around. Hopefully soon we will start settling down and start thinking about the new year looming ahead. The dreaded time of new year’s resolutions!

Some years back I started to move away from new year’s resolutions. Gradually the idea of more intentional living started to take root. We see this trend in some self help programs as well lately. Set yourself few life goals.

In my own life I focus on three aspects. I think of healthy living, living more spiritually and living a more creative life. It is much broader than new years resolutions, but in the end easier to accomplish. With a resolution you might decide not to eat bread again, and this thought only lasts until you smell a lovely freshly baked bread. Once you had your lovely slice of bread the resolution is broken and you hardly ever think of it again.

With intentional living you decide to live a healthier life. The decision is not obsessive, it is not self abusive and it is not depriving you of the joys of life. It leads you to live more balanced. With my personality I never feels strong enough about anything to become fanatical about it. ( Over enthusiastic is a completely different matter.) This way of thinking will help you to decide, when you do need to make a decision, to maybe just choose the healthier option. and if you don’t, you did not break a resolution, and the next choice might be better.

My next option is to live a spiritually fulfilling life. Spirituality is a foreign idea these days. I do not intend this to be a specific religious idea either. With this I simply mean to live in the moment from time to time. Be aware of NOW. Experience the magic around you. See the clouds. Be part of the sunset. Enjoy and accept the heat of summer, accept it and experience it, rather than to complain about it.

Most important part in my life, is to live a creative life. Creativity is an essential part of being human. We create all day. You create the meal you will eat, friendships and relationships. Years ago I read the only self help book that really changed my life. It was The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Even though I adapted it to suit my own needs, it is still part of my life.

The main part of this is a form of active meditation. She calls it Morning Pages. It means that you should write on paper with a pen 3 to 5 pages of thoughts that crosses your mind first thing in the morning. This helps you to plan your day, to identify things that bothers you, to set goals for the day and to put your day into perspective. The days that I do it is the days that is just so much more productive. It works for me.

To create we need to take something from out of ourselves. This will leave you with less original ideas. One need to put something back. This is called “filling the pond”. So treat yourself to something nice at least once a week. Go to a museum, walk in the park or go swimming somewhere in nature. You owe it to yourself!

The last part is regular walking. The action should be relaxed. The rhythm and repetitive motion will help you to relax and get creative thoughts flowing.

To really become creative you need to make time. Stop thinking that you need big blocks of time. Half an hour a day is plenty of time. That is just 2% of your day, but a 2% that might give you 80% of the joy of your day. Make time. Sacrifice television or social media. They are both time wasters, and I never hear anybody saying they do not have half an hour to do Facebook or Instagram, and it usually absorbs much more time than that.

Come on. You can do it! Live a more creative life.

Book Making Course

I had the great opportunity lately to join George Wentzel for a course on book binding. It was so refreshing to do something so totally out of your daily experience.

I always loved books, especially if they are well bound. for many years I have been keeping a travel journal and lately, started keeping, what I call, a visual journal. In it comes creative thoughts, random sketches and experimental art stuff, combined by special memories. (Even as much as a wine bottle label that is special and I will include the company I had when I drank it. Wine is always a social event in our house.)

Sketch books available in shops are so expensive, often poorly bound for intensive use, and the quality of paper often not up to the standard I need for the art media I use. I have been making my own style of journals for many years with better quality drawing paper. These I cover with leather and often a combination of leather and upholstery material.
My journals gives me endless joy,

BUT:

I always knew that I do not really know what I am doing when making books.

Along comes an opportunity for book binding and I jumped at the opportunity. George is an incredible teacher. We started off with blank papers and ended up with professionally bound books. They do not even look handmade!

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We were taught bookbinding, ways to sew the parts of a book together and how to apply endpapers and then bind the book together with the mall. Only now did we start preparing the covers.

We were taught to do all, from paper, material to leather binding, as well as quarter- and half binding that I found fascinating.

It was a joyous experience. Does anybody want to learn how to do it too?