the creativity club: copy

February 16th, 2015

Welcome to the 2nd challenge of the year for The Creativity Club!

the creativity club: copy

I think all creative processes start with copying. We copy people we admire, famous artists, not so famous artists, ourself. We copy things we think are beautiful, useful, delicious, helpful. We copy dinners and dresses and drawings and other things that start with D–and things that start with all the other letters too.

Some people see copying as cheating. They are wrong. Yes, copying something exactly and passing it off as your own is dishonest, but then again you can’t really copy something exactly. And it’s the differences that emerge between the original and the copy that I find particularly interesting and exciting. Your aesthetic gets in the way and the copied object starts to become your own.


It was difficult to come up with a challenge that I thought would be easy but also exciting and specific enough so you don’t just flounder. This is what I came up with…


1. Choose from these 4 words: EYE, PENCIL, COFFEE POT, HOUSE. Look up your word on google images (or pinterest or my first picture dictionary or wherever).

2. Pick an image you find and copy it (draw it).

3. Now copy it again, but use a different medium.


You can do all of the words if you like. I just didn’t want to ask you to “copy anything!” I thought I should narrow it down a bit. Feel free to do step 2 as many times as you like before moving on to step 3. As for what a different medium is, well pen and pencil are different, but come on. Watercolor, oil paint, finger paint, free motion quilting, frosting, legos, balsa wood, playdoh. Push yourself to try something new or at least something different.

the creativity club: copy


The challenge is due February 23. I will be away next week, so I’ll won’t be able to collect your assignments. :)  Tag your work with #thecreativityclub to put it on my desk while I’m away.


why no kcw?

February 4th, 2015

all the kcw

1. spring 2010 2. fall 2010 3. spring 2011 4. fall 2011 5. spring 2012 6. fall 2012

I feel a little sheepish about writing this post, but I think I should. For the first time almost 5 years, I’m not sewing along this kid’s clothes week. As I pulled together all the buttons from all the KCWs, I counted how many I’ve done. 14!  14 including the very first one where it was just me ;)

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the creativity club challenge on elsie marley

1. stop knocking yourself out 2. why not just start 3. just because you are good at being busy does not mean that being busy is good 4. the hard way is the easy way

Amazing submissions this month for the creativity club challenge: inspire yourself. I picked a few of my favorites, but I urge you to go see them all. They can be found under the hashtag  #thecreativityclub. If you’re not on instagram, you can see all the tagged photos on the elsie marley facebook page (in the instagram app on the right). 

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how to hear yourself think

January 22nd, 2015

how to hear yourself think

A few people wrote to me saying that the first creative challenge this year was too difficult. I didn’t mean it to be hard, but I did want it to be a bit of a stretch. The challenge is:

…quote yourself and illustrate that quote. Pick something you thought or said and write it beautifully.

The title of this challenge is “inspire yourself” and maybe that’s where the problem lies. When we think of being inspired we think of lofty, erudite, carefully crafted, words of wisdom that are supposed to move us. Don’t do that. Not because you won’t succeed (you might) but because it probably won’t be true–true to who you are. That is what this challenge is about, listening to yourself and writing down what you hear.

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inspire yourself

January 19th, 2015

In interviews with artists, actors, and makers, the question that bothers me most is, “What inspires you?” For one thing, the question is a lazy question. It doesn’t involve any thought or research or insight. And even worse, the answers are always bullshit. They might not try to be bullshit, but they usually are. It’s like asking someone, “How do you love someone?” or “Why are you happy?” There might be answers to these questions, but they are never satisfying.

For the inaugural challenge of The Creativity Club we are not going to be inspired by long walks, or art exhibits, or perfectly staged pictures on pinterest. We’re going to be inspired by our own damn selves.


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