If you look at the forum, you’ll have seen my thread talking about an online Creative Well-Being site called Start2. It’s an online resource which has lots of exercises and activities designed to enhance your well being and improve your health and life. They can explain it better than me, so if you want to learn more, there’s a short video here: http://www.start2.co.uk/about-start2
You don’t have to register with the site, you can access it all without that, but registering gives you the advantage of uploading your work, saving your favourite activities and downloading exercises. You can keep all your work private or share it in the various galleries. The site has lots of categories with activities focusing on things like stress-busting and brain boosting, but you can also ‘search by subject‘ to find an activity for the creative mood you’re in.
One of the activities I started recently is the ‘Stitch Memory Journal‘. There are 3 exercises, each one a little more ‘advanced’ than the next, in a very simple way. You don’t need lots of supplies, just some scraps of fabric or felt, and some embroidery threads. Each exercise guides you through the activity with really clear explanations. What I found really interesting about these activities is that they get you to think the opposite to how you usually would, and really get your observational skills working.
The first one I did was a teasel. It sort of fits somewhere between Exercise 1 and 2 because I only used one stitch, but I also used a few small pieces of organza for the background and though you can’t see it, a small piece of brown felt for the centre of the teasel.
When I was going through the park taking photos for this activity, I hadn’t realised just how much it would really get me thinking. Instead of focusing on cramming in lots of detail, it gets you to think how you can simplify something. One of my favourite plants there is this ivy bush:
I started planning my next piece. It’s only at the early stages of trying to get myself to not overthink it! There’s quite a bit of bright red dogwood (Cornus) in the park which I thought would make a good stitched piece. I played around with some photos in Photoshop. I used the Median filter to get some very simple areas of basic background colours:
If, like me, you spend more time trawling through the site than finding an activity 🙂 they have a facebook page where they give suggested activities: https://www.facebook.com/start2art/