My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

This is something I have been working on for a while. It is actually THE thing that got me on track to bringing The Merriweather Council Blog about as a space that encourages + supports creative lifestyles and aims to inspire creatives whether they are wanting their creativity to turn a profit or not. Kinda like an aha moment. But less aha and more, thank grapefruits this is out of my head and starting to make sense.

My mission with The Merriweather Council Blog is to empower people to put their creative work into the world and to embrace creativity in their day-to-day-doings.

The first thing I want to clear up is that artists are not the only creative people in the world. Not by a long shot. People often think “I’m not creative” followed by “I don’t draw or paint, I don’t make things…” or some such preconceived association between creativity and art. Artists are creative, certainly. So are chefs. So are writers. So are the “regular people” you follow on instagram who post amazing photos. Art is not narrow, and neither is creativity.

You can be creative in nearly every aspect of life. Creativity and art might go hand in hand but it doesn’t end there. Art is not the only outlet for creativity.

Creativity exists and thrives outside of museums and fine art studios – just as much as it does within them.

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

I have long labored under the idea that art is quite literally everything you’ve ever had an experience with the exception of other humans and weather/ natural disasters. (The sunset? beautiful, but not necessarily art in the sense that it was not created by a human.)

The house you live in, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the laptop you write on, the chair you’re sitting in…. art, craft and design played into each of them. Artists are designers and craftsmen. Craft is a form of art, designers are wise to have strong craft skills, and artists need craft and design skills to create good work. That’s what I think.

I believe that art is made up of bits of craft, design, and creativity. Just as some piece of art are more technically competent – some pieces are more creative and some are more well crafted than others.

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

I know so many people who feel held back in their creative pursuits because they don’t have a degree or formal training in the field. They think they can’t be taken seriously – or worse, shouldn’t be taken seriously – because they don’t have a degree in their field.

It’s not true. You need skills, yes, but you don’t have to earn them in a college setting.

Formal training is great, and you can certainly invest in it if you’d like. Certainly having a degree does help sometimes, and it could be a requirement for certain things. But it’s not the only way to figure out what how to do what you want to do.

A lot of times I don’t extrapolate or lead with my college credentials – because I don’t think they played that huge of a role in the successes I had after college. I learned to embroider in my middle school home economics class, and we never discussed entrepreneurship or business in college. I loved my program + my classmates, and I’m glad I went to college, but it’s not the be-all end-all of what I do. .

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

Creativity is very… attractive. In all situations – – food, music, color, decor, design, art, fashion, craft,  I admire people who aren’t afraid to be a bit bolder, think a bit further outside the box, try something new… that’s what I want people to feel empowered to do.

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

This is what I am all about. I love it when creativity changes how we do what we do and the way we experience things. Cut stuff up, put it back together, repeat. Newness! Newness everywhere. Make it so.

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

ALRIGHT I SAID IT. Let the backlash begin. Let me be clear: I get it. I understand the value to culture and society of art and art objects such as those in museums. I value museums for their work, stewardship, peaceful settings, educational outreach and as establishments that support art and creativity.  I just don’t LOVE the idea that art behind glass is more valuable than art happening around us. Also creativity is sometimes messy and museums are generally not. Just a thought.

I like the hands on, everyday creativity of life much more. I like the creativity that goes into pretty storefront displays and getting dressed, or refurbishing a piece of thrifted furniture. I like the paint things, cut things up and put them back together, or make photo collage books. I like to write and play with graphics with different apps on my phone. It’s not going to show up in a museum, but it’s still valid work and it’s creative. There is valuable creative work being created every day by “regular people” and I value that so so much.

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

 

Creativity is the difference between basic and bold, between it’ll-do and it’s-fabulous!

My Creativity Philosophy | The Merriweather Council Blog

 

I believe your personal brand of creativity is invaluable.

Completely + utterly needed, should be shared, will be appreciated, and will open you up to new opportunities if you let it out! I have seen it time and time again – mimicking another style will only get you so far. Doing work you don’t LOVE because you think “this fits the norm better” – it never works out. You need to do that thing you are crazy into, that thing you can’t stop thinking about. Write it, paint it, wear it, bake it, make it, build it, try it… please please, I want to see it!! I’m so dead serious about this. Your unique creativity is what will set you apart + bring your ideas to life. And you never know who that will serve.

I think this is a big topic – and one I reserve the right to modify my feelings on – because as I learn more, I can articulate better what I am saying – or what I’m not saying. I hope you’ll chime in.

Which of these resonates with you? Any? All? None?

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Oh, hi! Welcome to The Merriweather Council. I’m Danielle and I am a maker in business and mentor to other makers in business. I teach you how to turn your crafty tendencies into profits!

Oh, I’m also really into crafts, boy bands + iced coffee. Email me anytime to say hello or send cute Backstreet Boy videos or dog pictures .. or whatever! danielle (at) merriweathercouncil.com Thanks for stopping by.

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13 Comments

  1. Thank you, Danielle! I totally agree with you about the understanding of art as not precious or just what is museum or gallery-worthy. I think a lot of what makes us happy as we create is that it is a form of play. And playing is great for everyone, regardless of age. And I think I remember reading (this would be in the mid-1970s – {I know ….really dating myself}) that it is especially important for women to be creative from mid-life on (I think this is from my mother’s copy of Gail Sheehy’s Passages), even if you’ve been making things since childhood – this is a critical time to keep creativity flowing – as a way of keeping yourself flexible, mentally and emotionally. (Possibly a very poor paraphrase; apologies to Ms. Sheehy if it is – but that’s what I remember.)
    The point in your post that really hits home with me is not needing to have a degree or some kind of specialized training. I’m always aware that I don’t have credentials to support or endorse my work. It was liberating to read your post – so thanks again!

    • Hi mary, I’m so glad it resonated with you. I know OH SO many people who feel held back because of a lack of training, I just don’t think it’s a make or break it thing. More people I know working in the creative fields have no training – and many of the people I went to college with don’t work in the arts at the moment.

  2. Well said Danielle! I completely agree that society, or whomever decided that only things worthy of museums is “art.” Okay, so you didn’t quite say that but the very idea that somebody else besides the artist decides whether something is “good enough” to be displayed or included (which whether you have a degree may factor in as well) is completely contradicting to how we define art and creativity. It implies something must be a certain way and as soon as you impose limits you stifle creativity.

    Plus, art is subjective. I remember spending an hour in art class in college dissecting a painting that was a single paint brush stroke. I didn’t get its appeal or value as art and that made me feel like I didn’t belong in the elite art club that can go on for hours analyzing a painting. I think it’s detrimental for someone to be told their art isn’t good enough or that they aren’t creative, or that if they “don’t get it” it must mean they aren’t artsy. Even if this is self imposed!

  3. I love love loveeeee this post! One that I will probably read again and again.
    “You don’t need a degree for your work to be valid.” That is something that I have been struggling with as I’m transitioning from “block/sign making” to original abstract-ish paintings/prints. It’s easy to feel veryyyyyyy inadequate, but I feel like I’m doing what I should be doing for myself.

    I’m going to have to hang that phrase up in my studio!♡

  4. Hi Danielle,

    I totally agree with everything in this post. I love how your words bring inspiration to so many of us (and me) plus help us to let go of those fears that are holding us back.

    Thank you for having chosen to dedicated your whole year to helping others. You’re a true blessing an encouragement in many ways. Your experience and words bring hope in more ways than you can imagine.
    Ann x

  5. Thank you so so much for this post I am in a constant struggle of am I valid as an artist even though I have no formal training past high school. I love the art I make but I wonder if I would be doing better somehow if I had that art degree. I love the art I make and your post has made me feel like with or without that degree I am valid… I am creative… I am an artist. Thank you for this post and for always inspiring me and so many others!!!

  6. It took me so many years to get past that idea of “i don’t have any formal fine arts training, so i am not an artist or even creative”. Like you said anybody can be creative, it is a different way of thinking, looking at things from a different angle. Without prejudgement, almost like a child does so naturally. I like your blog posts and i am so glad i have subscribed. Happy thanksgiving :)

  7. It’s so wonderful to read things like this and be reminded of what creativity and art is about!
    Personally, being creative was never a problem (I could embroider before I could write!), the problem was remembering about and validating that creativity. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I’ve looked on many a project with the thought “this isn’t good enough”, which is why posts like yours are so invaluable to me: to remind myself that creativity and art isn’t defined entirely by its quality!
    Thank you again for a wonderful post; you’ve got me thinking about the nature of art and creativity, something which I think I’ll follow up on in my blog.

    • Thanks for your comment! I am glad to know you enjoyed it!

  8. Just to say that my husband already knows you by your first name :D sooo much inspiration you have brought to my life this past year. Thank you for another great article. I will share with my beloved 12 yo, creative soul. XO

  9. Hello! Great post
    I have really struggled with the idea that a degree somehow gives you more validation. In my case I always felt my two fashion design degrees weren’t enough because they didn’t come from a well know school like St Martins for example.
    But very recently I have come to terms that most if what I know I just learnt by being curious messing up with materials and tons of books and Internet videos and mini courses.

  10. Thank you for this! I put the majority of my creativity on hold for about 20 years. It was so important to me and others couldn’t see the value so I started to adopt the same philosophy. I was so wrong. I need my own creativity more than I realize and the more that I do it the more I feel like myself and the more I need to do it.

  11. This article was just what I needed. Thanks for the encouragement and validation. You are – as always – fabulous!!!