Creative Well-Being Site
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.
The second piece I did is probably my favourite, because it looks like what it’s meant to be, but was very simple to do. It’s my representation of Silver Birch:
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 used a nuno felt sample offcut for the background, then cut lots of discs from some green patterned fabric and various greeny shades of organza, then overlapped to build up the picture:
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:
And I used the Cut-Out filter to simplify the details to give me some ideas for stitches to use. This is one of them, but it needs a bit more thought til I can start:
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/
14 thoughts on “Creative Well-Being Site”
A piece of felt and a few stitches and yes, it’s a perfect representation of a silver birch!
Your simplifying is fab – the complicated ivy in the photo is very recognisable in the simple stitched representation.
I think the red dogwood will be an exciting piece to do.
Thanks, Lyn 🙂
I can see it has potential for a very simple one or one with lots of detail.
The teasel is quite beautiful, but later I found out it’s an invasive species of weed here in the Midwest, USA. That’s what I love about the forum! I learn something new every day. It must be fun playing around with Photoshop…if I owned it, I don’t think I’d ever get around to the fiber part of it.
Thanks for sharing the website and your stitched samples!
Ha, yeah, that is a problem, Cathy, you can play on it for hours saving and saving variations of the same picture!
Thanks Zed – this is a really valuable resource for people. Lots of good ideas. I think simplifying a design is one of the hardest things to do and you have done a great job on all three pieces. Looking forward to seeing the next piece.
You’re welcome, Ruth 🙂
Thanks, it might be a while til I get around to it!
Simplifying is great. You pieces are very effective. The colouring book feature often helps get rid off some of the excess. This looks like a great site. I like there facebook page so I won’t forget. I will need to slow down by the time the holidays are done.
Thanks, Ann 🙂
Yeah, it’s a great online resource for inspiration and structured activities.
Great resource Zed. Thanks for sharing! Simplifying is a good thing, but harder to do than it would seem. The Photoshop idea is great if you know how to navigate it. I’ll have to have a closer look at the site.
Thanks, Marilyn 🙂
I’m sure it’s been a lot easier for me to just learn the new features of Photoshop over the past 25 years than to start learning it new, but really, even if you know what everything does, you can’t always guess the outcome of every filter. I usually have a play when I’ve got time and just try all the filters, you can see them in a preview so don’t have to apply, but even if you do you can ‘save as’ as many times as you like and keep the original, or ‘undo’.
Good to know Zed. The program just intimidates and frustrates me. 🙂 But I’ll try.
What a great exercise, to simplify a design. We often tend to over complicate things, don’t we? I really liked how you used Photoshop to get a better sense of the end result you were looking for, and I loved how the pieces came out! Well done, Zed 🙂
Thanks, Leonor 🙂
I always like the look of stitching, especially on felt and always think I can’t do it or will make a mess, but this has given me the confidence to have a go and try something different.