What follows here is the Introduction to this fascinating book from Cherryl Moote
INTRODUCING... MORE OF THE REAL ME
Be afraid. Be very afraid. I've given myself license to speak my mind. A few years ago I climbed up on a soap box, and I haven't climbed down since. I began talking about creativity and the lack of guidance and leadership being shown in this area. Hundreds of books, countless new magazines and multiple conferences have taken advantage of the current craze in crafting, but painfully few offer artists and crafters the encouragement to express their own creativity. The emphasis has become reproduction or, as I call it, cookie-cutter art. Everyone in the class, or every reader of the magazine, makes a piece that looks just like the instructor's. And so, I now throw one small pebble into the dark pool of creative angst that swirls about our ankles. I dare you to speak your own voice and, in so doing, I have to speak mine
I am also exercising my right to own my sense of humour by allowing it to show in the illustrations. During a creative slump, I began playing with vintage clip art images that I printed on Japanese papers. Characters began to emerge, to take on a life of their own, and to become the playmates of my imagination. I call them D'lllusionals. One day they may decide to tell their own stories but for now, they serve only to illuminate the text and to make you smile.
Those of you who are familiar with my previous books will find some marked changes in the format and content of this book. My bookbinding books contain complete, in-depth instructions
for each of the projects. The emphasis in this book is on the process of creativity, not the process of the craft. On the left pages you will find my thoughts about a particular challenge that artists encounter. On the right pages you will find an activity that will help you explore the challenge. The instructions for the activities have been kept basic and simple. Where possible, I have included a reference section on the activity page which suggests books with more in-depth information about that type of project. The exercises are meant for everyone. You don't have to be a paper crafter, but you may become one! The activities are taken from the classes I have taught for many years and from my own work, which is mostly in the field of bookbinding, calligraphy and the paper arts. If you don't come from that world, think of this as a bonus - not only do you get to build on your creative strengths, but you get to learn new and useful skills. You can work through the exercises sequentially, or you can pick and choose exercises that feel appropriate to you at different stages on your artistic journey. All of the exercises can be done by one person working alone, but most of them would work equally well with small groups.
This isn't a coffee table book full of eye candy. It is a workbook full of challenge and discovery. By doing the exercises, you will build creative muscle. Growing requires work. Growing as an artist requires many kinds of work, all of them hard. I want to point out here that hard work can feel good. The initial periods of exercise can be tiring, and your muscles can get sore and bruised. You may become cranky. Your brain is a muscle, and you may not have exercised the creative part of it lately. But day after day, if you keep at it, you do get stronger, and you will start to take pride in the work and relish the challenge. You build muscle memory, and soon you will be working your muscles without thinking about them. The work may be difficult initially. Think of it as training for an artistic triathlon, or for the art Olympics.
Anyone who trains seriously needs a coach, a mentor or, at the very least, a stalwart companion. Find one. There is someone out there who can support you. Choose a fellow artist (he or she doesn't have to be in the same field), an instructor you can trust, or a creativity coach (see Endnotes on Page 114), but don't work alone, don't work in isolation. I know it is difficult to open up to someČone about creative issues and personal feelings. I am a very private person, but I have found people that I can trust, and whose support and presence in my life is truly precious. You can too.
I am not a professional in the mental health field. At no time should any of the advice or activities in this book be used to replace treatment suggested by a professional.
One of the things that I am most grateful for in my life is the support network of friends and fellow artists that I have here in Toronto. Through their friendship and their work they offer me inspiration, guidance, example, humour, and advice. I am honoured that they take time from their busy schedules to offer me sincere and constructive criticism on my work, especially on my books. I am also eternally grateful that they paid attention during grammar lessons when I was wool-gathering! This time I am particularly thankful for the help of:
Bella Chang Fong
Mary Jane Varro
Enjoy and have fun - Cherryl
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1st edition2006, ring-bound Pb, 120pp, 22 x 28 cm