F Recharging Creativity | tamdoll's workspace

Recharging Creativity

July 15, 2012
This summer I’ve been trying to give my creativity a little boost, “freshen things up”, by doing new things. A couple of the online classes I’ve taken… well, those I fell behind on. There were no deadlines, so I didn’t feel compelled to finish anything very quickly. At the last minute this weekend, I decided to take a mosaic class at Apotheca. This is what I came out with after 3 hours:

tamdoll makes mosaic at Apotheca

The teacher, artist Lizz Van Saun, was great & very encouraging. I love her recycling ethic & the work she had on display was really beautiful.
Some progress pictures are below. For my piece, I didn’t have a plan when I started, so I tried for a spiral – something I often doodle.  In my doodles, a spiral will spin off some stripes, then dots, then ever expanding triangles, lines and more dots. After placing the spiral, I knew I’d  have to use a contrasting color for the background – dark purple was great. After a short while the purple became overwhelming after just filling in the center… so I mixed it up with the blue/green pieces. My usual stripes turned into the yellow and red triangles, and the 3 mirror pieces stand for dots. (One of these days I will have to do a fabric & bead piece of something I’ve doodled.)
We had about 2 hours to work on the design layout & at a certain point (1.5 hours) I realized that without tweezers, precision cutting and much, much, much more time I’d never get it finished if I didn’t just accept that this was my first-ever mosaic & to stop pushing for perfection. Having that time limit was almost freeing – I knew I had to get it done & at that point I stopped worrying about every irregular space.
tamdoll makes mosaic at Apotheca

I definitely felt like this was an indulgence, but I’m glad I did it! It took me out of my comfort zone for a while and I learned something new. 90% of what I usually spend my time with is yarn, fabric & beads – this was really something unique for me. Here’s one of Lizz’s pieces that I loved…to me, the green, blue and pink are so fantastic together and all the painted pottery pieces inside tie it all together:

Lizz Van Saun
I’m usually hesitant to take classes because I always feel that for the price, I can buy materials and just learn on my own, at my own pace. Since that hasn’t been working out for me with my half-completed online courses, this local, short-term class, worked out for the best. One 3 hour class and now I have a new hand-made piece I can add to my workspace wall!

Do you ever take classes out of your regular skills repertoire? Do you judge the value of these in terms of time and money spent, the finished work, or lesson learned?


  1. The only classes I took other than dressmaking classes were for beadwork and screen printing. When I was way younger, I went for pottery and cartoon drawing. I really enjoyed the beadwork and screen printing. It's quite scary tho' because everyone else who supposedly have no experience are so much better! I really like the mosaic-y effect and once when I had the time, I almost wanted to sew applique mosaic style but it was too time consuming.

  2. Your piece looks great and Lizz's work is beautiful!
    I agree that a time constraint can help us get thing done. I always work better on a deadline!

  3. I often look for new things to explore and challenge myself. I find the classroom gives me a chance to focus on whatever it is I am doing. I don't answer the phone, I don't have the laundry calling me...all I have is the hour or two to focus on whatever it is in my hands. It is more than freeing, it is a zen moment.

  4. what fun! I often take classes that aren't my norm - as long as there is something I can learn I'm happy :)

  5. excellent post!!

    I love your mosaic! It's free form and happy.
    I've been wanting to do this for a long time. I even got books from the library, starting trying to collect china dishes, cups, etc. That part hasn't worked out so well, though. I may need to simply buy tiles. I do have some equipment, because I've tiled floors and walls. I have a few ideas stored in my mind.
    The piece by Lizz is great!
    Taking a class in or out or one's comfort zone is a great idea for several reasons--motivation, inspiration by being with others and interacting with and watching their creative processes, and actually accomplishing something.
    I took a jewelry wire class last year and then the class moved on to sawing metal. Sawing metal was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I did learn. Although it didn't become a favorite thing to do, I still know how to do it. And I have the equipment!


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