Jane Dunnewold shares what she has learned about creativity in her decades as an artist and creativity teacher. She talks about how she stays creative in her own life and how she fosters it in her students. Her insights are applicable to artists and non-artists alike.
What You’ll Learn
- Who is “the committee” and why you need to be aware of them.
- The one piece of advice that all artists on this podcast have shared.
- How the power of a simple conversation could change someone’s happiness at work
About Jane Dunnewold
Jane Dunnewold teaches and lectures internationally about art and creativity. She has mounted numerous one-person exhibitions, including Inspired by the Masters (Visions Quilt Museum 2016). Her work won Best of Show in the exhibition Timeless Meditations (Tubac Art Center/2013). She is a recipient of the Quilt Japan Prize, and Gold Prize at the Taegue (Korea) International Textile Exhibition.
Dunnewold has authored numerous books, including the classic Complex Cloth (1996). Interweave Press published Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design on Fabric (2010.) In 2016, North Light Books published Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Stories to inspire Artistic Genius. She is the former President of the Surface Design Association.
- Jane Dunnewold’s website
- Jane’s Creative Strength Training online course
- Episode 83 with artist Hollis Chatelain
- Episode 69 with artist Greg Climer
- We! Connect Cards by Chad Littlefield
- The Deliberate Creative on C-suite Radio
- Leave a review on iTunes
Jane offers two challenges for the week. 1) Each day, take a photo of something close up. Spend a minute or so paying attention to those small details. What do you notice after doing this for a week? 2) Think of something that you would like to know about other people, something you are curious about. Ask those questions when you are meeting new people or talking with someone you don’t know well.
Feel like reading instead of listening? Download the free PDF transcript or read it below. Enjoy!
Transcript for Episode #087: Creativity in Practice with Artist Jane Dunnewold
Amy Climer: Welcome to The Deliberate Creative Podcast Episode 87. Thank you so much for being here today. Today, I am interviewing artist Jane Dunnewold. She is an amazing artist who I will talk more about in a moment.
First, I want to say I am super excited to be a new podcast on the C-Suite Radio Network. If you are not familiar with the C-Suite Radio Network, it is a collection of select podcasts and select shows that are specifically designed for those of you in the C-Suite, so CEOs, CFOs, COOs. If you are an executive in the C-Suite, check out C-Suite Radio Network. You will find a bunch of different episodes, different podcasts that you will probably find valuable.
I also want to share with you a new review that came in on iTunes. This review is a 5-star review from Always Right On and the review is titled “What a Solid Way to Create Goals!” And they say:
“Thank you, Amy. I’m so excited I found you. Your clear way of teaching makes creativity accessible to everyone. And finally, goal setting will be easier. Can’t wait to listen to more episodes.”
Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing that review and taking the time to write that on iTunes. I really appreciate it. If you are a listener who has not left a review yet, please head on over to iTunes and take a moment to write a review. It is really easy. It means a lot to me. A quick link to get there is to go to www.climerconsulting.com/itunes. Head on over there, write a review and I will read it on the air on a future episode.
Let me tell you a little bit about Jane Dunnewold. I have actually known of Jane for at least 15 years. I used to do a lot of fiber art, textile art. I used to dye a lot of fabric and make it into art and sell the fabric and did a lot of surface design, which is one of the things that Jane teaches. Surface design is where you are designing, painting, and dyeing other things on the surface of fabric. Jane is absolutely incredible. She has beautiful pieces. Even 15 years ago or so, she was teaching surface design and I was very interested in taking one of her classes. But they mostly happened in Texas and I lived in Wisconsin and I did not do it. There were some other people that I learned from, but I never got a chance to learn from Jane.
And then recently, a listener recommended Jane as a guest on the show and she introduced me to Jane. And so here we are, years later, I get the chance to interview Jane. She is just doing some really cool stuff, both in her own art and in teaching students. She has a number of online courses and in-person courses that she is doing around creativity and helping people be more artistic and more creative in general.
I am excited to talk with her today about her creative practice and what she does in her own life as well as how she helps other people be creative. Even if you have no interest in making art, I think you will learn a lot from her and what she has to share. All right, here is Jane.
Jane, welcome to The Deliberate Creative podcast. Thanks for being on the show.
Jane Dunnewold: My pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Amy Climer: Of course! Can you start off and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Jane Dunnewold: I am an artist and have been an artist with a very specific interest in textile mixed media work for 20 years. I am also a writer because I began my adult life thinking that I would be a writer and have never been able to get away from that. And I am an educator. I take all of the things that I have learned as an artist and a writer and I morph them into experiences that people can have in my workshops in order to tap their own creative self.
Amy Climer: Nice. How did you make that transition from being a writer to making textile art? Tell us a little about that.
Jane Dunnewold: I think it began with my grandmother when I was six years old. Because when I went to visit her, she gave me pins and buttons and little scraps of fabric to play with and that was an elemental experience for me. I was headed toward the ministry, believe it or not, which was probably where the writing was going to manifest in writing sermons, of all things, and it was not working for me. I was in the dorm outside my room in a shower feeling really bereft and thinking, “This is not working for me,” and within about a week, an opportunity came up to work on an embroidery with another student. And once I started embroidering, it connected that thread, literally, back to when I was a six year old and all the other fabric related bits and pieces of my life leading to that point.
I did not think in some great epiphany I am going to be an artist and I am going to focus on textiles, but that was the first step in a path that then lead me to learning about surface design which is dyeing and printing fabric. And that led to realizing that a little art school here in San Antonio needed a surface design department. And so I, sort of, intimidated, for several weeks, the guy who was the director until I could talk him into hiring me.
Amy Climer: Nice.
Jane Dunnewold: He hired me to set up a surface design room and gave me two rooms and said, “You better have three classes programmed for the first of June,” and I love a good challenge. That is really how I got my start.
Amy Climer: Wow! That is amazing. I would say kudos to you for just that openness that you had to have in order to make that transition because it is easy to kind of stick with the path we are on, even if it does not feel right.
Jane Dunnewold: I think it was actually born, to tell you the truth, more of desperation. Because I had been in a marriage where my husband was a chef and we, fortunately, had an investor and we had a restaurant. But the bottom fell out of the oil industry in Texas and we lost the restaurant.
Amy Climer: Oh wow!
Jane Dunnewold: And as part of losing the restaurant, which was a devastation to him, our marriage ended. And so once again, I was at that point of thinking this is not working for me to do something for somebody else and so that fueled this desire. I thought what do I really want to do? And this is when I thought I could run a department. I could set up a department. And so it was desperation in a sense. And I think the lesson there, beyond my own personal experience, is that many of us have transformative moments that are rooted in a negative thing that happened as opposed to a positive thing that has happened.
Amy Climer: Yeah. Sort of that silver lining that comes out of something not so great.
Jane Dunnewold: Exactly.
Amy Climer: Tell us a little more about the work you are doing now, fast forward, 25 years or however long that was.
Jane Dunnewold: It does feel like a fast forward. I was in that school for ten years and then I decided I would set out on my own because of a book that I had written that was about surface design techniques. The next ten plus years of my career involved designing workshops and working with people all over the world to teach them about surface design. But what I realized we were really talking about is the creative experience of accessing what you are capable of doing, which is only the first part. The second part is believing that you are capable of doing it.
I make jokes all the time about my classes not being about surface design or art making at all, but really being about tapping that creative self and then having the courage and the encouragement from somebody like me to invest in it to the point that it becomes an integral and important part of that person’s life. I focus on that now and in the classes that are about surface design, but I also teach a series of classes and run workshops on the creative process itself and how to access that, and then how to cultivate it. You can access it, but it is like any small seedling. It has got to be cultivated in order to really grow and flourish.
Amy Climer: I think that makes so much sense because really, the techniques of surface design are pretty simple. Most of them, anyway. They are not really complicated. Most people can do them pretty well. But then it is like, “Okay, you have all these techniques, now what do you do with it?” And that is where that creativity comes in, and sometimes that fear.
Jane Dunnewold: It is definitely a fear. And I think, contrary to popular opinion, a guide can help you access that. And it can be taught. Basically, I compare it to a three-legged stool. One of the legs of the stool is technique. And you are right, those are neutral. Everybody can learn to dye. Everybody can learn to draw. Everybody can learn to throw a pot, so the techniques are neutral. And then we have the materials. And so I can take a neutral process and I can work it out in fabric or I can work it out in clay. The tools that I use or the materials that I use are selected by my personal preference, but that is still a fairly neutral area. It is the content. It is what we really care about and the passion that we bring to whatever it is we choose to do creatively that makes it distinctively and uniquely our own.
Amy Climer: The three legs are materials, technique and content?
Jane Dunnewold: Exactly. Most people think they do not have content, but everybody has content because everybody is standing on the planet and we are all alive.
Amy Climer: Say more about that.
Jane Dunnewold: This introduces a concept of cross-training. You will be able to relate to cross-training because anyone who is athletic knows that cross-training in that world would be that I do yoga for flexibility and then maybe I run a couple of miles for endurance and I lift weights for stamina, et cetera. Creative stamina is built by, first, learning how to use the tools and the materials so that you are making something, and then writing about it and reflecting on what you have done, and perhaps, doing an exercise as simply making lists of what you would like to achieve beyond what you are doing already and what materials you might use.
But from a deeper stand point, we can use writing to access parts of our lives by writing about — I give students a list of things to write about and just say in the morning pick one and write about it. It can be write about a joyful moment in your life. Write about a sad moment in your life. Write about something that happened when you were eight years old. And if we do that kind of writing, then we are accumulating and establishing this rich well and plumbing this well of information that we already have. And that is how we figure out what we really love, which drives then what we can make because we have found a voice. We have found the content that we need so that our work is no longer just this disjointed, disconnected thing over here that might be beautiful colors and patterns. It has a deeper resonance because it is related to our own personal experience.
Amy Climer: That is great. I love that. Can you talk a little bit about how you use this in your own life and how you have developed your creative practice from some of these things you are talking about?
Jane Dunnewold: I can. Thank you for asking about that because I think that I have observed a lot of really great teachers over the course of my career and I decided early on that I could be a great artist, but I was not sure I could make it pay the bills. But I knew if I honed my ability as a teacher, I could use it in a way that would actually directly benefit me by producing workshops that would pay the bills. Everything I use to guide my students now was tested in my own laboratory, in my studio, with my own person.
This is a real simple example. I was sitting at my desk one day and I looked out the window and there were some pigeons landing on the wire right outside my third floor office desk. But I noticed that when they sat down on the wire, they all scooched over so they were the same distance apart. If you watch birds you will see this. And I thought what an interesting thing because human beings, with their boundaries, they are not always so clear about where their boundaries are. But birds are very clear about where their boundaries are.
This started me thinking about making a series of art pieces that would literally be about what boundaries are. And boundaries can be a physical thing or a visible thing that we already know like a fence, and boundaries can be maps, but boundaries can also have an emotional component. This is where I really discovered this idea of cross-training and using the writing was useful because I could write about boundaries and write about what that meant to me in a more emotional sense. And then I could pull imagery out of that writing and I could use that writing with pictures of fences and with pictures of maps in order to create this artwork that has many layers, which then the viewer — the whole idea for the viewer is to look at it and project their own background on to it which only completes the circle of viewing.
And so I use writing in my work and I am looking for elements all the time. I use my digital camera, and we can talk about that later as something listeners might do, but it is almost like a scavenger hunt. Once you get an idea, then you go looking for all the different parts that will support the idea before you ever actually dye any fabric or apply the paint or the brush to the canvas.
Amy Climer: That is great! I love that example because my guess is there are some listeners who do not understand the art world as well as — certainly as you do — but you go to a gallery and sometimes you see abstract art and you are like, “Eh, it’s a painting of a fence.” And I think what you just described helps explain like there is a deeper meaning, at least in, I would say, good art, or at least a lot of art, there is something more there that the artist has really thought through. And that is what makes some art so rich.
Jane Dunnewold: I think that is true. And this is why I think artist statements help people. Because you can look at a piece and if it is well designed and you know what you are looking at, you can analyze it. That is rock and roll, you can get it. But if you know what someone’s story was and why they did what they did and why the work turned out the way it did, that is another — it is like seeing the outtakes or the clips of a movie then getting the fuller version of it.
I have to offer this disclaimer though is that some people just care about color. They do not have a story about boundaries to tell. They are not commenting in the same way. That is the one thing that is so wonderful when you discover this about being an artist is that you have to respect a person’s vision no matter what it is because that sort of passion is personal. And you can always tell when you are in a negative situation when somebody starts judging your passion, acting as though there is something wrong with it. You should run screaming from the room when that happens.
Amy Climer: Absolutely! I am sure we have all been there.
Jane Dunnewold: We all have. I have been there a lot.
Amy Climer: You talked a little about your own creative practice and how you have developed that. How do you help other people develop their creative practice?
How Jane Helps Others Develop Their Creative Practice [16:47]
Jane Dunnewold: It depends on the setting I am in, but let’s talk about a sort of overview.
Amy Climer: Yeah. That is perfect.
Jane Dunnewold: I will use this because it is easier for me to talk with a format. I have an online Creative Strength Training course that runs every year. These are people who do not necessarily see themselves as creative, but there are also plenty of people who do already think of themselves as creative. But the whole point of such a long period of time — that is a pretty long time for a course to run, but that is because I think that one of the most important things to remember when you are thinking I want to be more creative, is I think of it as a practice.
People who seek mindfulness meditation try to do it on a regular basis and they refer to it as their meditation practice because it takes time for any habit to establish itself. When someone says, “I am not creative,” I say, “Okay, let’s look at four things that you could do starting right now and then let’s check in with each other on a regular basis so that we can be reminding each other to be mindful of what those strategies are.”
For example, one of them is we want to start looking at the world around us with fresh eyes. You can do that simply by going outside and taking a ten-minute walk around the block. I often have sent my students out, take a walk around the block in ten minutes, pick up one thing that interested you and bring it back. And then we look at the things people pick up. You would think that this is not really about creativity at all, but one of the aspects of creativity that we do not understand is that some of it is just awareness. We bring it to the forefront by taking time and slowing down so we can actually look at what is on the pavement. We can notice this beautiful yellow leaf that we would have walked past. And so there is that aspect of slowing down and noticing.
Another aspect of it that is helpful — or strategy is really how I refer to them — is thinking about when you were a child and thinking about something that you did as a kid that was creative. I laid out a big old quilt that my grandmother had made and my sister and I made cardboard furniture, doll house furniture, and pretended that this big quilt was a mansion and each square was a room. We did that not ever judging what any of the furniture was like or whether it was good. There was not any judgment at all. If we can remember experiences like that as children, then it is a reassurance that yes indeed, at one point in our life we were creative and we were in touch with it. And I think that reassurance is helpful.
But another thing that we can do is to think about a situation where we were stuck at some point recently, we could not figure out how to resolve a particular issue, and then to use a pretty simple, once again, writing or cross-training sort of exercise, of writing down the most outrageous ways that we could have resolved that that we can think of. So if I wanted to get a really interesting splat of black paint on a piece of paper, how could I do it? I could do it by wicking the brush, flapping the brush against the paper, but I could also go up on the second floor with the paper out in the driveway and lean out the window and pour the paint on it.
There are things that confront us in daily life that have nothing to do with black paint splats that can still benefit from thinking maybe there is another way to solve this that I have not thought of — it is a work around. And so those are just a few of the things that I begin to talk about with people. But I also think, for example, we all have phones with cameras or at least an awful lot of us do at this point, but nobody thinks of using the camera to take a close up shot everyday of some object around them. Because really when you are doing that, you are creating your own little abstract element because I may not be able to recognize what that object was at all. But it is a way, again, of slowing down and starting to look and see the world in a slightly different way which is again, I think, foundational for introducing creativity into your life in a way that feels relevant and is ongoing.
The One Piece of Advice That All Artists on This Podcast Have Shared [21:27]
Amy Climer: It is so interesting to listen to you talk about this, and even going back to the first strategy you talked about of looking at the world with fresh eyes and going for a walk. You are the third artist that I have had on the show — I have also had Hollis Chatelain and Greg Climer — and all three of you have talked about that. About getting outside of your day-to-day regular schedule or whatever, and do something a little bit different, going for a walk, and just looking in a different way with fresh eyes. Paying attention to something that speaks to you or come back with an object that caught your attention. I just think it is interesting to hear that similarity and that thread. Obviously there is something there if all three of you are talking about that from completely different perspectives.
Jane Dunnewold: I think you are absolutely right about that. I hope this does not sound sacrilegious, but there are a lot of ways to get to God and there are a lot of ways to unravel creativity or that the blocks to creativity. I think that it is one of those things that is rising in the culture because it is so needed right now.
Amy Climer: I think you are right.
Jane Dunnewold: And so it makes total sense that lots of people are analyzing it and thinking about it and talking about it. And whatever language Hollis uses works for the people who are listening to Hollis, and whatever language your brother is using works for those people who hear him. The people who hear me get the message from a slightly different perspective, but it is always the same message. And that is how we raise energy around it to use creativity to solve some of the biggest issues that confront us which are really going to require a huge dose of creativity.
Amy Climer: Absolutely! One of the things that I believe is that as human beings, we have the capacity to solve all the problems on this planet. Especially, the ones which we have caused, which are most of them, but the only way we are going to do that is if we are able to tap into our creativity.
Jane Dunnewold: And may I go so far as to say — you and I talked briefly about the idea of a committee.
Amy Climer: Yes, let’s go talk about that.
Who is “The Committee” and Why You Need to be Aware of Them [23:31]
Jane Dunnewold: Another way to describe the committee, which some people are more familiar with, is the inner critic or being self-critical. But my belief is that we do not come on to the planet thinking that there is something wrong with us. That is the sort of opinion that comes up over a lifetime because of people who were critical of us. We are part of the culture and we have to be socialized as human beings and we have to fit in so I am not criticizing that, per se. But I think that there are plenty of times when someone was critical of us in a way that shut us down.
I use my own father as an example because I have to make it personal or it will not feel relevant to someone listening to me. My father was a wonderful man. Lots of people really revered him. He was very ethical, but he was also a very critical person with high standards. And I was an introvert and that is a bad combination.
Amy Climer: Yes, I can see it.
Jane Dunnewold: Lots of us are in situations like that. And then the reality is that there are people in the world who are mean. And so what we have to do in order to bolster the self-esteem that we need so that we can tap our creativity and live a fully creative life, one of the first things we have to do is take a really clear look at who the people on the committee are. It can be people who love you and people who thought they were doing the right thing for you, and it can be people you do not even know. Either way, the point is to disband the committee or dismantle the committee by realizing that you put them there. Frequently, they did not even know they were on the committee.
Amy Climer: True.
Jane Dunnewold: And that you put them there because you had this higher self that you wanted to become, but the bottom line realization is that you do not ever get there by being critical of yourself and so that is wasted energy. If we disband the committee and we decide — and this is a lesson that lots of people are saying right now and it is completely true; the sooner we can love ourselves as we are with all the, “I am getting older, I have got grey hair,” et cetera, people think they want to lose a few pounds. The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to work toward a self-acceptance that has disbanded the committee and is just ready to charge forward with the days that we have.
Amy Climer: Yeah, so true. I think that self-acceptance is critical or crucial, I should say.
Jane Dunnewold: Crucial.
Amy Climer: Sometimes it is hard. How do you recommend people develop that self-acceptance?
How You Can Develop Self-Acceptance [26:22]
Jane Dunnewold: I think it is wise of you to point out that it is hard because here is a paradox, and the more I see the world, the more I think the world is just a whole set of paradoxes. One of the paradoxes is that it is really, really hard to accept yourself and sometimes it is really time consuming and hard to be an artist. People think it is all fun and games and it is not. People think running restaurants, I can tell you, is just this romantic endeavor, it is not. It is really hard work. But when you do the hard work, whether it is making all the tools that I need in order to bring a piece of art to fruition or whether it is everyday sitting and writing something positive about myself so that I am practicing self-acceptance in a tangible way, that might seem boring and it might not seem worth it and it might seem like hard work, but it is a release.
The paradox is that you put in the time and you do the work and then you are able to, sometimes, go almost on automatic pilot because you have done the work and put in the time and the ironic outcome is that you are a more joyful, sort of, balanced person. So it is actually easier to be inside yourself than it was before.
Amy Climer: When you are saying putting in the time and doing the work, you are talking about working on yourself or you are talking about your artwork or both?
Jane Dunnewold: I think it is true no matter what it is. I think that is true of making art. Most of the time, nobody makes a pizza the first time and it is perfect. You have to learn to work with the dough and really get a feel for how the yeast works. So it could be making a pizza, it could be making artwork, but it is equally true about how we work on ourselves. It is having a deliberate practice of either writing something positive about yourself. Everybody has got their own comfort zone with this too. I have heard people say, “Look in the mirror every morning and say I really love you and you are a good person.” I cannot do that without laughing my pants off. That is not going to work for me. It might work for somebody else, and that is the point.
We are doing ourselves such a favor when we can figure out what works for us and then get comfortable with that. For me, it does involve writing. But some people, it will not be writing. But it also means rebuking — and that is a strong word and I am using it deliberately — rebuking criticism that might be well-meaning, but is inappropriate. It is almost like you have to have your armor on. And the best way to have your armor on is to be pretty clear about who you are so that you do not have to defend yourself anymore.
Amy Climer: It is like, “Whatever, they can think that. I am moving on.”
Jane Dunnewold: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Without letting it infiltrate and start that little worm that turns in your heart and sours things.
Amy Climer: Yeah. This is great. There is so much here.
Jane Dunnewold: It is deep.
Amy Climer: It is, and it is so needed, I think. A lot of the people who are listening to the podcast they are not necessarily artists, but they want to be more creative in their work, usually in companies or businesses. What advice do you have for them and taking what you are talking about and applying it in that setting?
The Power of Being Authentic [29:48]
Jane Dunnewold: I think, based on people I know who are not artist who are in various businesses sometimes for themselves and sometimes as employees, that one of the most important things to cultivate to the best of your ability, and of course, if you are working for someone, that is a little different from working for yourself. But of course, I am a freelancer and I still have to play by the rules of people who hire me as would you.
Amy Climer: Yeah, absolutely.
Jane Dunnewold: But I think, really, one of the most important things that we can choose to do is to be authentic. That means when I am with my students, I am as real as I can possibly be with them. There is a difference between being really real with somebody and not holding cards close to your chest. It is a healthy boundary thing. Now we are back to boundaries again. But I do think that in business settings — I have a friend who runs a business and people weave clothing for her and she sells them at art fairs. I learned so much from her because she told me a story about one of the employees who was always in a bad mood when she came into work and kind of poisoned the whole environment for the other people who were working in this setting, which was a small studio with several women cutting and making these garments and weaving, et cetera.
And so my friend, Elizabeth, pulled this woman aside one morning and said to her, “I don’t understand why you are in a bad mood so often and I really want to change it because I want to be able to keep you here. You are an important part of our team.” As it turned out, there were a couple of things that were so simple and were bothering the woman. She did not like them. I am making this part up because I do not remember what they were exactly. But it was like she had to rush out the door and take her kids to school and she always felt rushed by the time she got to work. And she did not like the music that was playing when they were all in this space together.
Elizabeth realized it was her own blind eye that was creating part of the problem so she suggested that this employee come in an hour later, because it did not really matter when she began or ended. And they turned off the music in the studio and people got headsets if they wanted them. It was as simple as willing to be authentic and ask questions because that allows the people that you are working with to feel as though they buy in because they are allowed to help formulate the creative solution to whatever the perceived problem is.
Amy Climer: I have got to say kudos to your friend Elizabeth for reaching out for the conversation. I think that that is sometimes a challenge for people who are supervising others, especially, in an environment like that, it is a small business, and just to invite the conversation can be challenging because it might feel confrontational. But it sounds like the way she did it was like, “Hey, really, I love you, I love that you are here. I want you a part of this team. What is up? What is going on?”
Jane Dunnewold: That is why the languaging is so important. I do not know whether this would be the kind of advice that somebody in the business would take or not. I use it myself. I no longer address a particular situation in the moment if I do not have to. I step back and I walk away and I think about it and then I do, perhaps, a little writing. If I have a student where there is an issue and I am not quite sure what to do, I do not talk to her about it until I have had a chance to think about crafting a language that will not be threatening. And inviting, as often as possible, ideas so that it does feel as though it is a creative solution that involves both parties and not a top-down kind of thing.
Amy Climer: Absolutely. And I think that word you use “inviting” I think that is really key there of starting off with, “Hey, here is something I noticed. I’m curious what you have seen or what is going on or can we talk about this?” As opposed to like, “Hey, look, you cannot do this anymore!”
Jane Dunnewold: Exactly!
Amy Climer: Like, “Whoa! Okay, what are you talking about?” This is great, Jane. Jane, one of the things I like to do at the end of each episode is provide listeners with a weekly challenge; something that they can do this week to apply what they have heard in the episode. What challenge would you give listeners this week that they can do to start be more creative?
Weekly Challenge [34:23]
Jane Dunnewold: Can I do two?
Amy Climer: Okay, you could do two, yeah.
Jane Dunnewold: The first one is a quick visual that goes back to people who think that they are not creative. And that is to take my advice and every day, look at something interesting with your camera and get up real close to it and take a couple of close-up shots. And then at the end of the week, look at all of those pictures together and just sort of enjoy looking at them. See what happens when you are looking close up at something every day for twenty seconds.
The second piece of advice is something I learned as an introvert. I would get into situations where I was completely tongue-tied and I realized when I am teaching and I am in charge, it is different. When I am on the receiving end, sometimes I am just a clam, believe it or not. The second piece of advice would be to think of something that you would, in general, just like to know more about people. And once over the course of the week — they are prompts in a sense — write down a few prompts. And then when you are in a situation where it feels appropriate and maybe small talk is being made, but there is a little bit more time to go and you are with someone where you do not really know them in a deep sort of intimate way, ask that question that might seem a little risky and see what kind of conversation it turns into. Because I have never tried it myself and not had it work.
Of course, there are some topics that will make people uncomfortable so you have to think twice about what that might be, but I find one of the best things to do at a dinner party now is to say, “Okay everybody, we are all going to go around the table and remember something that happened when we were 12.” Everybody in the room gets a chance to talk and these conversations start. Sometimes it is hilarious and sometimes there are tears in the room, but that kind of just asking a question of someone that you are encountering over the course of the week that could help you know them at a deeper level and make them feel appreciated, I think that is worth trying.
Amy Climer: That is great. I love it. Wow! Jane, thank you so much. Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Jane Dunnewold: I do have a website and it is www.janedunnewold.com. On that website, I have free tutorials on art stuff and I have blog posts and I have pictures of my own artwork and I also have information on that ten-month program that starts in March that I mentioned. I have designed the website, or I should say my daughter, Zenna, designed the website, to be this rich environment where people can just go and hang out and come away, hopefully, feeling refreshed. Because maybe I am not marketing the way I should be marketing in order to meet some of the publicists’ ideas that I have read and worked with in the past, but I am more interested in creating a world where people can feel that I really care about them and they have been touched. And so that is what I have got there on that website.
Amy Climer: Wow! I have been to your website and I could say that I believe you are achieving that goal. I definitely think it is beautiful.
Jane Dunnewold: Thank you very much.
Amy Climer: Thank you, Jane, for being on the show. I really appreciate it.
Jane Dunnewold: It was a huge treat. Thanks for inviting me.
Amy Climer: Thank you again, Jane, for being on the show today. When Jane was talking about the weekly challenge at the end and thinking about questions that you might want to ask people, I was thinking about We! Connect Cards. I am going to put a link to them in the show notes, but these are a deck of cards that were designed by Chad Littlefield who was on Episode 70. He made this deck of cards that is about 60 questions that are all just to help you connect with other people.
And so if you want some inspiration for what kind of questions could you ask either at a dinner party or just when you are having coffee with someone, check out We! Connect Cards. They might be just a really good starting point for creating some of those questions on your own as well. So check those out. I will put a link for you in the show notes. Again, you could find the shownotes at www.climerconsulting.com/087 because this is Episode 87. There will be a link to Jane’s website as well as other resources that she mentioned or that came up in our conversation. So head on over to www.climerconsulting.com/087.
You all, thank you so much for being a listener on the podcast. I really appreciate it. I will talk to you next time. Have a wonderful creative week. Bye.
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