Friday, May 8, 2009

Creative Intelligence

I was talking to quilter Barb Olson ( about my book Craft to Heal and she mentioned that she believes in the concept of creative intelligence. You know, just like we have intrinsic or booksmart intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence, we also have creative intelligence (CI). Likewise, you can refine and hone your creative intelligence with practice and perseverance just like you can your other intelligence quotients.

Some of us are born with more CI than others, just like we have higher IQs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to be more creative. Part of it is attitude, I think—you have to be open to it, let yourself relax so your mind can surf to new possibilities.

As fabric artist Diane Ericson ( told me, ““Creativity isn’t what you do once or twice a week—it’s the way you approach your life. Everyone is creative, but some people have been nurtured and some haven’t. You have to own your creativity, develop it, grow it, like a garden.”

Here are some ways to hone that creative intelligence:
--Consider yourself a creative person in every day and every way.
--Write down, draw, or audiotape stray thoughts and dreams. These are the seeds of great ideas—and they are often lost just before or after sleep, after the shower, or in the rush of the day.
--Keep a journal of your inspirations, advises creativity coach Gail McMeekin ( Carry the journal with you to write down ideas as they come to you…while you’re out shopping, at a museum or talking with a friend. Or carry a small sketchbook to draw things you see or to carry swatches of fabric you like or are using in a current project.
--Make an excitement list, says Gail, so you can follow your fascinations. What are you attracted to and what turns your creative fire on? That is where you begin. Creativity is about experimentation, and you have to be willing to try things and then reroute them until you get the right formula.
--Relax yourself, encourages Sue Bender, author of the book Stretching Lessons: The Daring That Starts from Within. “At the beginning of any new challenge we encounter obstacles, confusion and doubts,” she writes. “That’s natural. But when we allow the rigidity within us to begin to melt, we allow our soul to grow…we’re inviting our soul to grow wings.”
--Make “artist dates” with yourself, advises creativity guru Julia Cameron, author of the must-have book in this area The Artist’s Way ( She suggests setting aside time on a weekly basis—something like 2 hours a week—to nurture your inner artist. The date, which is only with yourself and should be solitary in nature—might consist of going to a museum or gallery, to the beach at sunrise or sunset or out to listen to music at a local club.
--Have faith in your abilities. Persevere in your craft because you love it, and whether you ever become a master crafter or not, it will bring joy back to you ten-fold.

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