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This article is written by Ann Strecko Koeman
Artists are human and not immune to facing challenges and crisis in their lives that can range from health, financial, family, work and a myriad of other difficulties. Sometimes it is through these challenges that great works arise and there are times when a crisis just overwhelms and consumes every ounce of energy we have. How to survive and how to even thrive as an artist through all of life’s ups and downs takes persistence, perseverance and I believe preparedness.
One idea is to have portable crafting or art making kits ready to go at a moments notice. We may already have emergency preparedness kits to survive 72 hours in the case of a natural disaster, or we may have an emergency kit with a spare tire in our cars in case of a roadside emergency, so why not have a Creativity-in-Case-of-Crisis Kit?
As a mother I used to haul around a diaper bag filled with everything I would need when I was out and about with my babies. As they grew I made them their own portable activity bags to keep them occupied. I learned that I too needed to have my own activity bag to keep me busy as I eventually had to be the one waiting around for my kids during their own obligations. Having to spend great amounts of times in Doctor’s waiting rooms, and hospitals with my children for their needs and then my own health problems made it so a lot of time was being lost. By having a small project bag to keep my thoughts preoccupied for sure made the time go by faster but also alleviated any stress I was feeling.
Some kit ideas I have and use are small sewing projects. For example, in a small baggie I have a dozen pre- cut fabric circles, and a small sewing kit which consists of some thread and needles. I use any waiting time to sew up some fabric yo-yo’s that I later use as embellishments in my projects. The kit is one of the smallest I carry around very easily in my purse.
I always have pen and paper in my purse as well. I always need to jot something down anyways. But on days where I know I will have to wait a little longer I bring a very small sketch book and a couple of pens or pencils. I find this down time to be good for writing article ideas or simply making a quick sketch. One time I found myself making Zentangles out of the patterns I saw in the floor pattern in the Hospital waiting room.
Then I was inspired by the ceiling tiles as I lay on a gurney in an observation room and awaited for test results! Sometimes it is the conversations going on around me that give me inspiration for an interesting quote to use in my art journal when I get home, in the meantime I jot it down in my little journal.
In my own experience I have found that in times of great stress that even though I felt that I had no energy or time to spend on a creative project it is exactly what I ended to do to get me through this challenge. By forcing myself to just even scribble on a piece of paper almost instantly switches gears in my brains and for a very brief moment the fact that I am thinking of something positive like sketching relieves a tiny bit of stress from my mind and body, and that is a good thing.
Ann is a Mixed Media Artist in Ottawa, Canada who enjoys many many types of crafts and art making. She spends way too much time in waiting rooms, but is grateful for small size sketch books and mechanical pencils.