Today we interview Tammy of the always lively, ever expanding Daisy Yellow blog. Tammy is a passionate advocate of making art with children, and her blog overflows with reports of recent projects done with her daughters, who are aged 6 and 9. Recent projects have included making mandalas, artful mapmaking and using FIMO polymer clay to make stamps.
Beyond her collaborations with her kids, Tammy does wonderful “solo” work, including accordion books and altered books. Tammy’s answers below bristle with the color and life that make her blog so much fun to follow. If you get addicted to her visual output, you can check out her Flickr page too!
Tell us about your creative pursuits, paid and unpaid.
Tammy: Since my daughters were toddlers, there has been a strong focus on the process of doing art. We draw, watercolor, make beads, block print and invent games. I love to document as we go, in photographs. But until I left the corporate world 2 years ago, I didn’t do anything creative just for me. On a whim, I volunteered to edit a community newsletter and that inspired me to write content and learn about design. So I read art blogs, listened to creative podcasts, and found a community of creative people at Flickr.
I like to art journal, make collages, draw abstract designs and take photographs. My mother was an English teacher and writing has always been a part of my life. I write stories for my kids and have kept a written journal since grade school.
I like to invent creative outlets; I started a women’s brainstorming group and a mother-daughter book club. Creating art is one of the keys to having a happy life.
Do you have any formal training in your creative discipline(s)? Do you feel training is important in creative development? Why/why not?
Tammy: I have an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, and my formal training is in quantitative analysis. Training in the arts is a great way to refine technique and understand good design. But it does not make a person creative. I’m infinitely curious and read constantly!
What habits do you cultivate to facilitate your creative “flow”?
Tammy: Carrying a camera wherever I go has had a huge impact on my creativity. I often go to the bookstore and read a stack of books in the café with a latte. The creative community at Flickr is a great resource for ideas, inspiration and support.
What advice would you give to a “blocked” artist in your discipline to free up their creative energies?
Tammy: Take a break. Take a camera with you and look for things to photograph … patterns, colors, retro signs, textures, architectural details. Listen to music. Try a different medium. Do crosswords or Sudoku. Work out.
Which artistic project that you are working on excites you the most right now?
Tammy: I’ve got a bit of everything going on … altering a book, writing stories for my kids and learning how to draw mandalas.
How do you select your creative projects? What elements of a potential project tend to intrigue you the most?
Tammy: I get ideas everywhere … lines in nature, patterns, fabric, my kids’ imaginations, art and photography at Flickr, art blogs, colors, conversations… I like projects with an undefined outcome and lots of creative flexibility.
Any other advice to artists to help them create more effortlessly?
Tammy: Creating art should be fun! Focusing on the end product interferes with your creative flow. Use the best quality art supplies you can, and enjoy the process.