Creative Civiliza...
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Fab digital storytelling: The Power of Words

Wonderful and highly inspirational video. Reminds us all to strive for authentic and purposful communication. So chose your words wisely. They are extremely powerful.

Via Karen Dietz
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I'm sharing this courtesy of Karen Dietz and Ken Mikkelson - which only proves how worthwhile it is to check out what other people are discovering and writing about on the web. Karen's take is that of a storyteller -business person. Mine is as an artist; where communication is essential and has the potential to be equally compelling. How can we as artists strive for authentic and purposeful communication?

I will hazard a guess that compelling artwork begins in my head as an idea, migrates down through my chakras/system to my heart, where it engages me emotionally, and then lifts unstoppably into my Will - or throat - where it manifests as a proclamation of what I intend to make next.Perhaps that part is sometimes a silent proclamation, but when it happens I know it.

Does your Artist Self recognize this chain of events in you? If not, pay closer attention next time an idea arises and see where it leads.

Thanks to Karen and Ken for a big lift to my afternoon!

Nick Usborne's comment, March 16, 2013 8:23 PM
As it happens, if you like "story" you will probably love David Kirby's poetry.Every poem is a complete story.
Kirby Wadsworth's curator insight, March 17, 2013 3:45 PM

I've loved this video for years...always gets me

Alessandro Donadio's curator insight, March 19, 2013 7:01 PM

The power of Words

Creative Civilization
Making and Meaning at the Core of Our Being
Curated by Jane Dunnewold
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What to Expect

What to Expect | Creative Civilization |
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

There are loads of articles out there on creativity and making art. I think the really engaging stuff considers what we make and why we make it. So you can expect the curating I do to focus on the surprising, the astounding, the thoughtful and the bizarre. And if that doesn't cover it, we'll go there anyway.

I am selecting articles that encourage me to think differently - broader, deeper, wider - and that means I won't always like what I read. But hey - that's part of the growth angle of being human. And appreciating conflicting opinions is, perhaps, a right we don't take seriously enough. I am eager to share ideas with you.

Wonder how to navigate the magazine?

To Find a Topic:  Click on the Filter Tab above and type in a keyword. All the articles with that keyword will appear.

I won't be including anything gratuitious or silly. But I won't be everywhere either. So if you have an article to share, please feel free to write to me. And take a minute to visit my website:

With over twenty years experience teaching and practicing the art of mixed media and surface design, I definitely have an experience base and log of opinions. I hope sharing them will trigger a few insights for you.


Karen Dietz's comment, February 22, 2013 1:28 PM
Love the site Jane! Can't wait to dig into the articles. Thank you so much for curating this topic.
Jane Dunnewold's comment, February 22, 2013 1:38 PM
Thanks for the nudge and the inspiration. I expect we'll find lots of common ground between your site and mine!
Karen Dietz's comment, February 22, 2013 2:49 PM
Yes, I'm looking forward to re-scooping some of your material! Have a happy day :)
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Death Of An Artist: How Social Media Is Ruining Creativity

Death Of An Artist: How Social Media Is Ruining Creativity | Creative Civilization |
In a world in which everyone is trying to plug in, we just want to break out.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks to Stephanie Sharlow and elite for an article that's hard to read, full of truth, and a challenge to creatives of all ages. At the center of the article is the call to rebuke a daily diet rich on social media bites, but lacking in real life sustenance.

It's ironic to be writing, and therefore participating in, the very thing Sharlow criticizes. The conflict that irony produces is not lost on me. It's IN me.  As an artist, the best thing I can do is GO TO THE STUDIO and MAKE ART. Having said that, the teacher in me knows how many people long for connection. A connection that social media provides, right or wrong.

So, as with all things, the another version of the discussion could focus on how we cope with the world THAT IS - since it's unlikely we can change it - in an effort to stay grounded and connected authentically - while using the tools innovation has presented us - without allowing them to rule.

I'm looking for balance all the time - hours in the studio, hours to reflect and write - and an hour a day to reach out to others who are thinking and caring deeply about their work, their time and their creative contribution to the rest of us.

A struggle worth embracing.

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The Mother of All Yarn Bombs: A Bus in Mexico City Takes a Yarn Bombing - Enpundit

The Mother of All Yarn Bombs: A Bus in Mexico City Takes a Yarn Bombing - Enpundit | Creative Civilization |
Magda Sayeg, aka the Mother of Yarn Bombing, has completely knitted and crocheted over an entire bus in Mexico City. Magda is quite famous in the yarn bombing community and has worked on commissions from companies around the world, including yarn bombs for Absolut Vodka, Mini Cooper, and Smart Car.

Via Kuniko
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thanks, Kuniko for this fantastic image. I want one. And think about how many productive hours it would be to set a group of young artists to work on a fleet of city busses? Imaginative and so unique!

Street I Am's curator insight, January 5, 9:33 PM

More of the best stories on street culture

Pedro Luque Sancho's curator insight, January 20, 10:55 AM

añada su visión ...

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Writing Your Way to Happiness

Writing Your Way to Happiness | Creative Civilization |
Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of better health.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Love this! Back story? I lead an online workshop called Artist Strength Training and it's an immersion in the challenges of being an artist; whether you are a professional or someone who has chosen art as a serious and committed avocation.

Tara Parker-Pope quotes a number of experts who focus on expressive writing as a means of actually REWRITING personal history. Through that writing, perceptions of self versus world can actually change.

I'm not familiar with the term expressive writing, but reading the article was like finding a long lost relative. I knew immediately the power researchers describe because I witness it myself all the time.

When we take time - and yes, that is what is required - to settle, think and KNOW ourselves, we begin to see that what happened wasn't always about us. That might sound like a paradox, because often it is. But it does help artists to make more significant,  more deeply connected art.

Read the article to understand this phenomenon better. Thanks to the and researchers Tim Wilson and James Pennebacker, whose studies are featured in the article.

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How to love art in your own way -

How to love art in your own way - | Creative Civilization |
Before there were self-help books and the legions of advice columnists, before Dr. Phil, there was art.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

"But here I visit them as I do old friends. They continually nurture, comfort and delight me. They connect me to millions of my fellow humans long dead or still alive."

Lennie Bennett's review of pieces from St. Petersburg"s  Museum of Fine Art effectively articulates why art lovers visit art museums. Whether it's the pieces we first saw as children - and grew to know and love through frequent visits (as is true in her article) - or pieces loved from afar and finally viewed in person during a visit to a specific museum, art is about stories and their impact on us.

Haven't thought about it that way? Think again - and think specifically about five pieces of art you yourself love. I bet you'll find it's the connection to the story of the work that makes it resonate for you. Maybe it's the actual story you project onto the piece, maybe it's a story about the artist/artwork connection. Maybe it's a story about how you came to love what you love.. No matter the angle; it was great to be reminded that art carries limitless stories that enrich our appreciation of the who, what, why, how and when of art works that touch our lives.

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The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2014 Edition

The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World: 2014 Edition | Creative Civilization |
While other publications sing the praises of the rich and powerful, we like to look at those who are largely overlooked in order to understand the real state of the art world and its discontents.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I am reminded of the adage Be in the world but not of the world.  And of my belief that we OR IS IT THEY? (politicians, popular culture, the corporate world, art world “experts”, mavens and others of that ilk) are currently on a slippery slope not unlike the one into addiction. Hitting bottom has to happen before the long climb out of the muck - back to sanity and self-respect - begins. If it ever does.

If you make time to read this list, you’ll easily see that it’s the disenfranchised poor of the art world - interns, purists, artists who refuse to sell out, (performance) artists whose art can’t obviously be manipulated to generate dollars, serious art lovers of acedemia (who also perhaps haven’t chosen to sell out) migrant artisans and workers, and others who are brave enough or powerless enough to rebuke GREED - who continue to remain powerless. It’s always about the poor.

That’s a big community. Will the slow but unstoppable shift that’s scaring the shit out of other old guard entities (whatever that means wherever you are in the world) - include the arts? 

Pray for it, if it fits your belief system. But take action however you can, and visualize the change you/we can be. One small act multiplied by all of us who are disgusted and dismayed by this list has the potential to change it.

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Meet the women redefining street art

Meet the women redefining street art | Creative Civilization |
Though street art is still a boys’ club, women like ELLE, Swoon and Vexta are trying to change the status quo

Via Street I Am
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

An expansion of the street art discussion for people who admire outdoor work and want to understand motivation better. The observations in this article by Roland Henry encourage appreciation at a new level - at least that’s what happened for me. And swelled up a big bunch of respect for women painting on the street and their obstacles to making. Names you didn’t know. But now you will.

Also important distinction referenced in the article between tagging (mainly about interior (personal or group confrontation) versus street art - which may be a form of exterior confrontation (out there in the city i.e. private property) but isn’t always. Sometimes it’s a gift to the surroundings. That’s the girl take on it.

These female perspectives offer one more example of art world marginalization. Not even street artists escape the tiresome trivialization of the man art hierarchy

Sigh. Keep painting, women of the world. On anything you can reach or get your hands on.

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Handmade: Fiber artists take advantage of business idea - The Detroit News

Handmade: Fiber artists take advantage of business idea - The Detroit News | Creative Civilization |
Business partners open a pop-up space for showcasing their own, others' art
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Glad to see the reformation in Detroit continuing, as witnessed in this article on the Detroit Fiberworks Gallery, founded by Mandisa Smith and Najma Wilson. As a textile person I was especially delighted to read that the gallery's specialty is textile and fiber art work.

There are so many good ideas here! The fact that Detroit makes retail spaces available as pop up spaces for three months - long enough to get as feel for whether the business will be a success or not - without the burden of large investment.

I know in San Antonio, where I live, vacant spaces continue to haunt parts of downtown. Now and then artists are invited to occupy a space - primarily during city sponsored arts events. But wouldn't any city benefit from developing and on-going longterm program for filling space temporarily with art? Would protect vulnerable empty buildings, provide space for projects artists might not otherwise do, and draw an audience to parts of town with which people may not be familiar. Seems like a win-win no matter where you live.

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People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer | Creative Civilization |
Do you feel like you wander aimlessly through life, or is there a reason you're here? Psychologists say people with a sense of purpose may stress out less. Or they may lead healthier lives.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

This piece immediately resonated with the teacher/guide in me. Working with artists - teaching new techniques and sharing ideas - puts me in touch every day with people who love what they do and are constantly stretching and growing. Even when the art making is a second career - or maybe ESPECIALLY when the art making is a second career - the commitment and excitement are tangible. Whether it's putting pen to paper or dropping lengths of fabric into a bucket of dye, the connection to the creative self is there. It's fun, it often feels magical and it's purposeful! hadn't actively thought of creating as a stress buster, but reading this article reminded me that it is.



I know in the Artist Strength Training workshops I teach there is always a discussion about the commitment we feel, the energy that is engaged by hands-on processes, and the value of writing in tandem with creating. All of it purposeful. Worth giving attention to as a way of staying mentally connected and young at heart and in spirit!



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How abstract art began with Greek sculpture

How abstract art began with Greek sculpture | Creative Civilization |
This abstract art post outlines the influence of Greek Sculpture upon the very early development of abstract thinking.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Find time to watch the video clip, which expands upon Brushfield's premise. What a Universal predicament: striving for perfection, acheiving it and then encountering dissatisfaction and desiring more. Even being bored by perfection!

In this case, creation of The Kritian Boy led to the slow but steady evolution of abstraction, as Brushfield describes it. I was reminded of the advice newbie artists receive  -  master the rules before you break them. But I'd never fully appreciated the broader evolutionary context before.

Yet it's obvious: one era of making art stands on the shoulders of that which preceded it. From the Kritian Boy to Abstract Expressionism - think of it as an evolution - humans simplifying and broadening the approach to the surface - until there was very little left that could be done to a canvas. What could possibly come next?

Starting at the beginning again? Or going interiormaking driven strictly by ideas rather than by a desire to create a perfect form?

Brandon Leon's curator insight, April 17, 2014 2:47 PM

Showcasing the preciousness of the greek artist from the Egyptian artist. 

 Facial features Eyes lips cheeks  Ect  Kritios boy of how art is advancing  Carved from marble Greek arts shows a realistic human body. Stop making this realistic art in Greek society. And the moving away from it and making unrealistic art.  Showing movement it art  Athlete and by dividing the boy into four. 
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Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity - Lifehack

Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity - Lifehack | Creative Civilization |
Leaders have more power than they realize. They can patiently create a climate of creativity or they can crush it in a series of subtle comments and g
Jane Dunnewold's insight:


Reading Paul Sloane's article was one of those big "this is so right/this sucks" moments - because he succinctly stated the obvious: the narrow behaviors killing creative thinking in business are basically the same behaviors that kill creative thinking everywhere.

For instance:

Parenting. Are you the sort of parent who encourages your kids to try new things and explore like crazy? Or are you a worrywart who is passing on fear and negative thinking to the next generation? Take a look at yourself - whose fears are they, anyway?

Friendship. A friend recently confided to me that he was thinking of downgrading a friendship that had been important to him. "She always tells me why what I want to do won't work, and I'm tired of it." he said. Our friends hold our hearts and visions as their own. It's up to us to support and encourage each other. And if advice seems needed, it should be offered with a disclaimer; something on the order of, "I don't want to discourage your thinking - you know I believe in you, but could we check out this angle?"

Politics. Not enough space to go there.  Ditto Religion.

And in the world of Making? The same deal breakers! As a workshop instructor, Sloane's observations really resonate with me; but heck - they fit being in the studio alone, too. Here's what it looks like:

Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity - the Artist's Version

1. Criticize. There's a nice way to say anything. Teachers who belittle or behave dismissively toward students break trust with them. It's always about ego and power, both of which should be left at the classroom door.

In the studio alone? Listen to that voice in your head. It absolutely MUST be kind or you need to retrain. Compassionate open-mindedness is good. Especially toward yourself.

2. Ban brainstorms. Not good to be in an art-focussed classroom toting the my way or the highway attitude. Not even with kids.The best ideas always come when everyone is encouraged to try anything they can think to do. Working on your own? Keep asking that all important question "What If?"

3. Hoard Problems. One of the finest discoveries of my career involved asking students to help solving problems I'd always angsted over alone. Two sinks and 20 people? What should we do? Supplies didn't show up on time? Could we work together on this?

What I found out? Students appreciated being asked to problem solve because it gave them an opportunity to invest in the class and in each other. Same thing is true one on one. If you have a technical problem or one related to design, it might help to ask around. Someone will have the answer. Or will light up the answer in you.

4. Focus on efficiency not innovation. In a workshop this is called working to a project not a process. It saps participants' abilities to make the work their own. The last thing the world needs is more art that looks like Jane Dunnewold's art. Let's see what else can happen. Your personal version? Sure, you can dye 20 scarves in three hours, but when's the last time you explored something new?

5. Overwork. It's a wise woman who knows her limitations. Whether in the studio or the classroom, it's up to each of us to know when to stop. No one ever won an award for staying in a studio way past the point of enjoyment. Or bragging about it. Showing up and working is one thing. It's good. So is walking out the door to engage with other parts of your life. Like people.

6. Adhere to the plan. A total deal breaker. New ideas whirl up spontaneously and that's a gift. Do you know how bored I would be if I taught the same class the same way every time? Jumping in from a surprising angle keeps me fresh and that's a gift to students. It serves as a model in the workshop - it's ok to see what else can happen! And when you are alone there is nothing better than following the proverbial unknown path. It's only art. You can find your way back if you don't like where you've gone. Follow the bread crumbs. You won't end up in the witch's oven.

7. Punish mistakes. This is easy. I never even think of punishing someone, as most people are already masters at doing it to themselves. Whether in a class or the studio at home, turn off the committee in your head. I can act the role of a healthy parent (see above) and help pull a student out of doldrums caused by a mistake. At home you are on your own. Wallow for a couple minutes and then dust yourself off and keep going. It's the dignified way to behave and we are all entitled to dignity.

8. Don't look outside. It's shocking how many people who call themselves artists never look at art. I spend time in every workshop tallking about what's out there... Don't worry - you are distinctly you and your mark is your mark.  It can't be copied or taken away. So check out other peoples' work fearlessly. Review. Evaluate. These practices make your own work stronger.

9. Promote people like you from within. The workshop version of this? Shutting down ideas if you don't like the student's attitude. Glomming onto students who flatter you and want to please. (it's not about you; it's about a parent for sure.) The best strategy in workshops - don't veer from the students who are strong and somewhat threatening. (yes, teachers do have issues.) Be fair to everybody, as best you can. On the homefront? Cultivate a few friends who have strong opinions. Talk about things. Stay friends with them anyway. It's all good.

10. Don't waste money on training. Everyone can learn to do everything better than it's being done now. Take a workshop with me, for example. :) Or with someone whose work you love. OR if you are at home, go on-line and check out Utube or buy a couple of instructional DVDs. We can always be better than we are right now.

That's the great hope, anyway.

Rachel Lindstrom's comment, April 9, 2013 1:13 PM
@10 take Jane's class on Craftsy :)
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Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethic, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating

Chuck Close on Creativity, Work Ethic, and Problem-Solving vs. Problem-Creating | Creative Civilization |
"Inspiration is for amateurs -- the rest of us just show up and get to work."

Questions of why creators create, how they structure their (Can't find inspiration?
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Close's words have kep me headed back to the studio on more than one occasion. It may be possible to teach someone strategies for working and problem solving but no one can make you go to the studio. That's the discipline you have to cultivate on your own.

Jane Dunnewold's comment, April 6, 2013 11:33 AM
Thanks for for some great reading.
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Famous Works Of Art Recreated On Toast

Famous Works Of Art Recreated On Toast | Creative Civilization |
The Art Toast Project is a series of famous works of art recreated using food. Each is on a canvas of browned bread. It’s brought to us by artist and apparent toast-whisperer Ida Skivenes. Sh...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Ok. I couldn't resist. Plus now I'm hungry.

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Pulitzer-Winning Poet Mark Strand on the Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe

Pulitzer-Winning Poet Mark Strand on the Heartbeat of Creative Work and the Artist’s Task to Bear Witness to the Universe | Creative Civilization |
"It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention."

In the 1996 treasure Creativity: The Psyc
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

More in a steady stream of inspiring articles on the importance of slowing down, being present and seeking authenticity in our creative endeavors. Maria Popova’s essay begins with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book of landmark interviews with creatives of all types -  Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention - an engaging read that ranges all over the map - evidence that creating is an odd mix of being fully engaged by Process - but never taking anything too seriously in the process. One of the paradoxes of many creative acts. A wonderful book.

One of the creatives Csikszentmihalyi interviewed was the poet Mark Strand, who died last November. His deep humility at being alive - referenced in many of his poems - is a gentle reminder that creativity, as well as life itself, is a gift. It can be cultivated, it can be embraced - but it can’t be ordered up, and unfortunately, it can’t always be counted on to be there when you want or need it. What better reason to live in present time and walk humbly on the planet? And how in contrast to the posturing and bravado we too often witness in some artists and poets.

Take time to read this article. It will make your day better.

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Livre de couture peu ordinaire

Livre de couture peu ordinaire | Creative Civilization |
L'usage de manuels pour apprendre à faire telle ou telle chose est très répandu, même avant que l'imprimerie ne s'empare de ce filon d'édition. Chirurgie, cuisine, arts en tout genre, et autres tra...

Via Chris Lott
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Poignant, this. And thoughtful. Thanks Chris Lott - for your curation on book arts. The creative expertise doesn't get the due it deserves in many circles.

And I was just in an Asheville thrift store loaded with vintage books. Oooh. The many possibilities!!

Chris Lott's curator insight, May 16, 2014 8:22 PM

Wonder how many of these were produced?

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Wendell Berry on Solitude and Why Pride and Despair Are the Two Great Enemies of Creative Work

Wendell Berry on Solitude and Why Pride and Despair Are the Two Great Enemies of Creative Work | Creative Civilization |
"True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible... In consequence, on
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Thoughtful, intentional writing on par with Kahlil Gibran's classic, The Prophet ,Wendell Berry's essay, What are Humans For?  should be required reading for artists in every medium. Shoot, the book is  grounds for good conversation with anyone who has ever felt creative in even the smallest way, or wished they were. Surrendering will, and seeking humility are at the heart of the matter. 

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Five Textile Designers Saving the World - Source4Style

Five Textile Designers Saving the World - Source4Style | Creative Civilization |
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

This is pretty exciting stuff - pulled together by source4style's founder and CEO Benita - this week online.

Clothing made from milk protein? Gorgeous wall pieces and clothing made by cooperatives  of men and women all over the globe? We're all familiar with the Heifer International project, and other forms of support for local economies and villages but these five designer/producers are focussed on textiles - and as a textile, mixed media artist, I'm so encouraged by the report and by the gorgeous stuff you can find by clicking on the links in the article. Definitely enticing!

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Digital revolution has damaged creativity, says Zandra Rhodes

Digital revolution has damaged creativity, says Zandra Rhodes | Creative Civilization |
Digital revolution has damaged creativity, says Zandra Rhodes, Zandra Rhodes, the pioneering fashion and textile designer, believes computers and the digital revolution has
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

“I think the computer and the digital revolution has damaged creativity and drawing in textiles. It is too easy to lift photographs. It is too easy to mirror images to create repeats...

Will hand-drawing disappear? Will it be more valued? Will these skills continue into the future or will they become a rare art form? Computers mean that there are now two languages. The one we create with our hands, and language that evolves from the computer.”

Zandra Rhodes built her reputation on colorful - sometimes rather bizarre - exotically patterned textiles. Her dramatic entrance into a gallery was matched only by the dramatic billowing fabrics draping the walls.

Now Rhodes bemoans the use of computers as design tools - as evidenced in the short quote above. And anyone who has followed textile design (or Rhodes) closely must admit the playing field is vastly different from even five years ago; not only because of the introduction of the computer into design school classrooms. Companies like the print-on-demand site have democratized fabric design in short order. Armed with a camera or drawing pad, a free account, and a big dose of experimentation, anyone can design cool fabric in the course of an afternoon and begin constructing as soon as it arrives at week’s end - the typical turnaround time for an order.

I’ve designed artist made fabric for twenty years and spent a good portion of my career teaching others how to think about and make art cloth.  So Rhode’s concerns interest me. But I think they’re unfounded. 

Tools are tools. It’s the creative ability of the artist/designer that renders inconsequential the choice of tools. Artists who love to draw - forgive the pun - those who are irresistibly drawn to drawing - will always love to draw. Artists compelled to explore inside the computer screen will go there. A fair number may cross over - in a sort of strength training maneuver that marries the best of both worlds. And those of us who love textiles will fall out somewhere along the continuum. Tools are tools. It’s mastery that excites and delights. Which is very encouraging. Some things don’t change!

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Dirty car artist leaves masterpieces in the dust | Cult of Mac

Dirty car artist leaves masterpieces in the dust | Cult of Mac | Creative Civilization |
Dirty car artist Scott Wade creates masterpieces from the grime left on car windows.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

I’m a big fan of street art - graffiti of all kinds, actually. I love seeing anything that makes me think “Oh, Wow!” It’s the scale. It’s the daring. It’s the transiency.

Scott Wade’s art form, profiled in this article by David Pierini, is an oh wow  for me. Wade literally draws into the dirt on windows. Car windows for starters. But windows of all kinds. And is hoping someone with a really big building will eventually think letting him work on the dirty glass beats cleaning it.

Check out examples - and the video. And be reminded of Buddhist sand paintings - mandalas that take days to create; only to be whisked away by breath, or hand, or both. Such a gentle reminder at the beginning of the New Year of our own exquisite fragility.

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In Praise of Melancholy and How It Enriches Our Capacity for Creativity

In Praise of Melancholy and How It Enriches Our Capacity for Creativity | Creative Civilization |
How the American obsession with happiness at the expense of sadness robs us of the capacity for a full life.

"One feels as if one were ly
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

A great review by Maria Popova, of Eric G. Wilson’s Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy. Reviews of books can so easily slip into a one-sided opinion; dumbing down the subtleties and challenges of the subject the author intended to address. Not so with Maria's review, which encourages the broader discussion by reminding readers it’s a slippery slope from acknowledging melancholy as it exists in anyone who is connected to the reality of human existenceto inadvertently being dismissive of the scourge that is the face of unrelenting depression. TWO quite different states of mind. Add then adding into the mix a discussion of the positive rise of happiness programs, degrees and self-proclaimed gurus. 

So what’s an artist to think? And/or feel?

Seems to me it always cycles back to balance. Few human beings can live in a perpetually happy state. It’s up to us to discover how to pull out of that funk - how to adopt an attitude of gratitude - as best we can. In the meantime, feelings of melancholy that arise from seeing the world as the imperfect place that it is, can and should fuel creative expression. My experience of being a single mother powered numerous works that other vulnerable people - women and men alike - related to. That’s the power of art; created from a sincere and authentic place. There’s room for the upbeat and glorious celebration of life that was Rumi, Mary Cassatt and Anna Williams. And there’s room for the difficult, painful, and challenging stuff that was Rothko, Van Gogh, and a host of others. There’s room for everything. Striking a balance is key. As is making an effort to stay in community with others. A shield against the darkness.

Karen Dietz's comment, January 13, 2:10 PM
This is a great article Jane. Thanks for sharing!
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My Month of Minimalism Challenge

My Month of Minimalism Challenge | Creative Civilization |
What if you removed one material possession—just one—from your life each day for a month? What would happen? Taking the minimalism challenge.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Courtney Seiter sums it up. Many of us have too much randomly acquired "stuff" that we could do without.


Of course this applies across the board when it comes to how we live - too many silly kitchen aids; time-saving devices that don't save time because we have to clean them and figure out where to store them! Better to boil a little water if you want to cook a hotdog. Who needs to Weinie Genie?


Since I'm an artist, my thoughts went to all the "stuff" artists acquire in the studio over time. When I cleared out my old space so I could move into a new one, it took three garage sale/giveaways to get rid of paints, fabrics, chemicals and equipment I'd accepted as "love offerings" over the years. Or bought on a whim or in a "what if" moment.


Finally dawned on me - one girl's love offering easily becomes another girl's storage issue! "What ifs" can easily turn into OMG, where did all  crap come from?


Clearing and cleaning the studio - whether it's a second bedroom, a part of the garage, or a dedicated space - is time spent wisely. Opening physical space by clearing clutter has a wonderful secondary benefit - it opens up mental space, too. You feel lighter, spacious - ready for new thoughts and glory, glory! Possibly new acts of "making."


So Free Cycle a few art supplies you know in your heart of hearts you won't use any time soon. Take a bag a week to Goodwill, and while you're driving, imagine delight on the face of whoever encounters your stuff and takes it home to a studio that might be missing just what you've cast off.


BTW - good idea NOT to go into the store when you drop off your donation. It takes a few weeks to develop a new habit!



What goes to Goodwill STAYS at Goodwill. At least until next month...




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40 Creative Examples of Street Art For Your Inspiration

40 Creative Examples of Street Art For Your Inspiration | Creative Civilization |
We all are arts fan. When it comes to street art there is no limit on imagination. Street art is evolving into new areas of creativity every day. In this-post we present an amazing collection of street artworks related to nature. Hopefully, everybody will

Via Thomas Faltin
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

The democratic component of street art is always engaging. Just think - you could go buy a box of chalk TODAY and walk outside - and draw something on the sidewalk. That's how it gets started, right?


NO matter how you evaluate your own ability to "create" - or draw - you can start. How inspiring is that?


And if it's chalk, a good rain or a shot from the hose, will wash away your first attempt and give you a clean start. Sounds like a good time for a hot summer day.

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Shea Hembrey: How I became 100 artists | Video on

How do you stage an international art show with work from 100 different artists? If you're Shea Hembrey, you invent all of the artists and artwork yourself -- from large-scale outdoor installations to tiny paintings drawn with a single-haired brush.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

This is a good listen. he's funny and creative and I found myself wondering whether I could pull off what he did? It's an alchemical mix of belief in yourself and practice. If nothing else, his toolbox is now huge and overflowing.

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Build color confidence into your artwork - Concord Monitor

Build color confidence into your artwork - Concord Monitor | Creative Civilization |
Build color confidence into your artwork Concord Monitor This publicity photo provided by Abrams shows The Bordered Diamonds quilt from Kaffe Fassett's book "Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts" (STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book, 2010) and it also...
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Of course Kaffe is on the money with his philosophy of seeking colors that POP....but there's the dilemma. Are some people innately better at - Dare I suggest even genius material - when it comes to intuitively knowing that colors either work or don't?

They are! And he is one.

The rest of us benefit from color theory - which like the Sun and breathing - exist whether we are willing to acknowldge Reality or not.

I admire Kaffe and his work and have enjoyed being in his presence a few times, but I think comments like his have an unintentional consequence. He thinks his words will empower students and others to explore color boldly, but for those less assured than he, the opposite occurs. Students - beginning artists - are less willing - intimidated even - to jump in. 

Unfortunately, that's what a free market attitude and survival of the fittest leads to. Those with genius perpetrate genius. Everyone else has to think it over.

I'd rather take a kinder, gentler route and commit time and resources to explaining color theory clearly and reviewing exemplary color choices.

As the eternal optimist, I believe any student I teach WILL UNDERSTAND color theory and employ it succesfully. But maybe now I am showing my weakness as a teacher. I have a lot invested emotionally in believing I can teach almost anyone to do anything, including how to use color more effectively.

Susie Monday's comment, April 23, 2013 11:30 AM
Another way to think about this is to recognize that some artists (like Kaffe) have innate strengths that are about color perception (and have mastered the skills to translate that perceptual strength into form. We can all develop skills in modalities of perception that are not our "native" skills, by taking courses and workshops, with practice and even with using external tools. And we can also work to recognize OUR unique constellation of perceptual and sensory strengths -- we all have them and have had them since birth most likely. The work that we do that really honors and hones THOSE strengths are going to get us to our best, strongest and most compelling art work.
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Thomas Keller On Why Passion Shouldn’t Drive You

Thomas Keller On Why Passion Shouldn’t Drive You | Creative Civilization |
Even if you aren’t a foodie, chances are, you’ve heard the name Thomas Keller--the creative culinary force behind The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon.
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Stumbled onto this article, and love his quote - which is applicable to EVERYTHING. Especially art (of course.) Passion is great. Desire is better.

Replace the food references in Keller's quote with those appropriate to art and creating/making - and there we have it.

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Is Google bringing us too close to art?

Is Google bringing us too close to art? | Creative Civilization |
The Google Art Project is changing the way we look at masterpieces—and introducing a whole new set of problems.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
Jane Dunnewold's insight:

Do I have a right to look at any work of art as intimately as I can - without being censured by the artist or the presentation?

I've always thought so.

I think it's fascinating to look close-up at art work whenever I can. I want to  SEE the brushstrokes or stitches and discover how the artist used them to further the purpose of the work.

I find it hilarious that Brueghel "liked to hide things in his paintings - including a man "doing his business..." in the painting The Harvesters.

I don't like Georges Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte any less because the Google Art Project allows me to see that the figures are actually smears of many-colored paint. I like it more. I respect Seurat's creative defiance in the face of traditonal painting of his day.

James Elkins proposes that somehow the microscopic seeing that the Google Art Project makes possible is unnatural - allows veiwers to peer into an artist's private world somehow. As an artist, I disagree. Viewers who want to see detail will seek detail and relish it. Others will observe, perhaps have an opinion or two, and move on. Those who practice the fine art of making as I do, may agree that part of the joy of appreciating work includes analyzing how it was done. It's the whole package.

I may never be able to lift a Joseph Cornell box in my hands and tilt it - in order to see the parts move (as he intended) - but I love the possiblity of seeing his work at an unprecedentedly intimate range. Will I see imperfections? Probably. Will I still love it? Absolutely. Perhaps even more than I do now. 

Knowing full well the reclusive nature of Cornell's life, is my desire to see his work up close an intrusion? He might have seen it that way. Or he might have loved my flattering interest.

The thing about making is - it's an act that is inevitably about not being in control. What artists do is create. What I do is create. What the audience, the critics, the gallery or those who walk the planet after I die, have to say about the work is out of my control. I could destroy everything right after I make it; that's one solution. But making it, loving it, and letting it go is less of a time waster. And ultimately more satisfying.

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