|Photo by Kevin Harber via Flickr|
|Photo by L-M-M via Flickr|
Do we need to be educated or intelligent to be creative? Absolutely not! I know a woman with a developmental disability who is incredibly musical. She has her radio or CDs on all the time. She sings readily. Can she read music? No. Does she write music? Maybe, when she is singing a song quietly to herself without really thinking about it. Can she carry a tune in a bucket? Well, most of her tunes stay in the bucket but some notes occasionally splash over the side into what others might call "musical oblivion." But she loves music, has a knack for knowing good music, and has emotional responses to music. Creative.
|Photo by Christina Herpin via Flickr|
I know a lady who labors for days over plastic canvas sculptures, using a variety of colors, yarn types, and stitches to create incredibly detailed and finely crafted dolls, carousels, mobiles, cottages and anything else you can imagine, maybe even more than you can imagine. With all due respect to those of you who love it, I personally am not a fan of plastic canvas but am able to acknowledge the artistry and technical skill of this woman's work. She gives away most of her items- the thought of selling them is ridiculous to her. On the other hand, I love me some handcrafted furniture but know a guy who cranks out the plainest, most wobbly furniture you've ever seen in your life, complete with hunting scene decals. Not my tastes, not the skill level I would pay for, but he is in his wood shop every day, building furniture, cuttin' off fingers (not kidding) and having a blast the entire time. Is he any less creative? From the perspective of process, I don't think so because I think in the long run creating should be about joy. Both of these folks take great joy in their creative work.
|Photo by scottnj via Flickr|
Creative expression begins, first and foremost, in our soul, in the essence or who we are and how we see our place in the world. There aren't two separate classes of people in the world, the creative and the uncreative. Everyone is creative, some people just don't do anything about it or never had the opportunity, for reasons we'll look at another time. Yes, some people are more innately creative, some people have simply been exposed to more opportunities to create. Regardless of skill level, however, everyone- you, me, your residents- has something to say and need a way to say it.
|Photo by toastytreat87 vis Flickr|
So why should we express ourselves? Why bother to speak our souls, to flex our creative muscles, to jump in and wrestle with the creative muses? I started compiling a list of common denominators as I've read through countless writers and "experts" on the benefits of creativity. Listed below are just a few of the benefits to our residents (and ourselves) from engaging in the creative process.
Connection with other people.
Sense of control over our world.
Are any of those reasons something you've ever care planned? Also, there is some exciting research being done in the area of creativity, brain health, and dementia. We'll look at that too in a later posts.
|Image via China Culture Industries|
As we start looking into different activities, programs, and opportunities to lead the creativity out of our residents, I would also like to keep my eye on y'all, the leaders and facilitators. And yes, the creators. We'll look at ways to develop our own creativity and, because sometimes we need it, to give ourselves a creative kick in the pants.
|Image via CitizenShift|
How have you seen your residents change as a result of creative pursuits? How do they talk about their creative activities? Please take a moment to share your thoughts by clicking "Comments" below. Those of you suscribing my email will need to click over to the blog to get to the "Comments" link.