The Creativity Gene

Does everyone have the “creativity gene?” The answer is yes! With confidence and motivation, creativity can be learned and enhanced – just as a budding athlete or musician commits to training and practice to improve their ability.

There is an art and science to creativity.  Think of right brain and left brain to better understand it.

The artistic right hemisphere of the brain controls imagination, intuition, insight, curiosity, holistic thinking, wrapped up with playful, passionate, and sensual (relating to the senses) feelings. It is easy to see the artistic side of interior decorating – deciding which colors to choose, asking “what if?” to visualize a furniture layout, and reflecting your personalty in your home decor.

The scientific brain is analytical and methodical, dominated by logic, facts, and details. Recall your science classes in high school; sound research includes brainstorming, planning, experimenting, executing, reflecting, and repeating. In decorating, these come into play in determining budgets, selecting quality construction practices, and blending styles among husbands and wives, for example.

In his 2019 book, My Creative Space, Donald Rattner writes, “a creative thought is … the result of an intricate interplay of mind, body, and place.” If you want to boost your creativity, I suggest you focus on these three components.

Adopt a creative mindset. Let your thoughts wander and wonder.  Overcome fear and self-doubt. Trust your intuition. Take risks. Change your plans – a lot. Surrender control; break the rules. Be flexible and adapt. Always be learning – read a book or take a class on a new creative pursuit or even one you’ve been practicing for some time as you will always discover something new. Decide which criticism is valuable and disregard the rest.

I have been a quilter for nearly 40 years. When the pandemic started, I created a bucket list for my quilt art which included techniques I wanted to learn, unusual fabrics to include in my quilts, and the like.  The results where some of the most beautiful pieces I have done in years.  I recently took a class on improvisational quilting, a technique that was way out of my comfort zone. In short, I had a ball!

Prep your body for creativity, too.  When do your best ideas flow? Most of us notice them after a good night’s sleep (or even a short nap), exercise, meditation, or a shower. Caffeine motivates and helps fuse disparate ideas while alcohol induces out-of-the-box, free thinking. Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and fish promote creative cognition, too. 

Next, design your creative space and as Rattner says, “use it religiously.” The color blue makes us happy and promotes open-minded, explorative, and divergent thinking.  Play with the lighting; you may prefer bright lights or a dim setting. Position your work area facing the windows, not the walls, when possible. Gather all your tools and organize them to be within arm’s reach of use. Surround yourself with your own art or inspirational photos or sayings. Play music (or white noise) and light scented candles to boost your creativity.

Most importantly, schedule creative time and just do it. Be like a child: explore, tinker, be messy, fail, try again and again.  Above all, be free and have fun. 

When it comes to creativity, there are no mistakes – only bold design choices. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

In closing, creative minds inspire others – isn’t that what my blogs are all about?

Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative solutions at reasonable rates. Learn more about her interior decorating services, workshops and quilt shows at www.sec-interior.com and enjoy her art quilts on Instagram @secretaryinteriordecorating.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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