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Learn to analyze clearly, think deeply, engage playfully with art materials and animate the part of you that wants to have more fun—and be your most authentic self in the process. You may even sleep better. Your relationships with other people will undoubtedly improve.
We are committed to offering a serious, playful, transformative ten-month program with many opportunities for growth and discussion. Seek the strength, creativity and compassion that is already at the core of who you are. And do it in an atmosphere of support and enthusiasm.
CST encompasses art and art techniques, because some of the best examples of how to be creative come from artists. But there’s so much more to it. That’s why we spend time every single month reviewing creativity from multiple angles. Living is a creative act and we want to make the most of it.
Consider these examples set for March, our opening month.
Our theme, or The Big Picture, will be taking inventory, centering, and setting intentions.
Harness concepts of creative strength training as strategies anyone can use—any time, anywhere. Personal inventorying, for example, sets intentions for the ten-month series by examining desires, dreams, and goals.
In 2018, we’ll embrace the symbolic language of archetypes, as it intersects with creativity. Archetypes are universal patterns of human behavior. We recognize them in a flash. She’s a mother or maybe a queen or a judge. He’s a prince of a guy, a gambler or a victim. No one has to explain those labels. We’re hardwired to understand them. Each month we’ll discuss one archetype humans have in common. In March, we’ll begin with the Child. Everybody’s got one, and understanding yours enhances your ability to respond creatively to life.
In the Cross-Training portion of the program, we’ll introduce an artist whose work or personality relates to the archetype of the month.
Joseph Cornell, for example, made wildly creative art boxes assembled from found objects. He also never left the house where he was born and raised. How did his child archetype impact his creative life? It’s a fascinating story, and one you’ll enjoy.
Cornell’s work is best described as assemblage and we’ll take a close look at what assemblage means, how it comes together, and then play with the concept ourselves. The results should be fun and maybe even inspiring.
Running parallel to the conversation about artists and archetypes will be two other key strategies to cultivate the best creative you.
The Creative Core topic for March will encourage self care as it relates to play and playfulness. When’s the last time you had some fun? Let’s revisit adult playtime and set aside time for ourselves!
What will happen in Take Heart: Community & Creativity during March? We’ll get to know each other and build community by contributing to the online topical photo gallery, where anyone who participates has a chance to win prizes. We’re still discussing a topic to kick off March, but you can bet it will have something to do with seeing the world through child- like eyes.
Add the cooking video and March’s plate is already full, with plenty more to come—every single month through to the end of 2018.
Our CST group was one of the highlights of 2017 For me. I did some of the exercises, enjoyed the curated sites, and loved watching/listening to the interchange of your points of view in the monthly videos and the essays. You created an environment of trust and sharing for the rest of us.
Jeanette Davis, 2017 CST Participant
I started this CST unsure if I was wasting my money because I wasn’t sure I would have time to participate. That all changed with the first project. This class has added so much to my life, I cannot even begin to tell you. One thing that stands out for me, is that my family went for a walk after flooding rains to check things out. We spent over two hours exploring...even my husband caught the artistic bug and could not stop taking pictures that evening. It was relaxing and fun, and an escape from the work of the day. Thank you Jane & Zenna! I can't wait until CST 2018.
Darlene Hutchins, 2017 CST Participant
CST has helped me re-evaluate– as an ongoing process rather than in response to a wake up call. The past ten months have brought a stillness and deeper, genuine confidence - new for me. For these things I am so appreciative. I can be quiet without stress - something not possible a few short years ago.
Most of all, I am forever grateful for the space and forum to consider my life in depth, decide to follow my dream in a field outside of "art" but one which requires every ounce of energy, passion and creativity I possess. I know in my heart none of it would have happened without the inner transformation that is part of CST, Jane, Zenna, and each of you who participated this year. Always, always thankful for all of you. Here's to a new day, new year and new adventures for all of us!
Ali George, 2017 CST Participant
When I wrote the Creative Strength Training book it was focused on artists. But after lecturing the summer after its publication, I saw the chance to impact other lives creatively. Those who didn’t consider themselves “artists” or “creative” people.
I believe everyone is creative. If it isn’t evident, it’s just waiting to be tapped or cultivated.
This is what we did in 2017: we morphed the ten-week program into a longer and broader version to allow people to take their time, choose their level of participation, do it for a reasonable price, and have some fun.
With a fair amount of coercion, Zenna collaborated with me in 2017. We co-wrote and co-filmed, bringing the perspectives of two ages together. We discovered that the process of self-evolution is wide and deep—and there’s always more work to be done.
We were committed to offering a serious, playful transformative ten-month program with many opportunities for growth and discussion, with the goal of seeking the strength, creativity and compassion that is already at the core of who we are as human beings.
And we plan to do it again. We invite you to join us in 2018–either as a seasoned soul on the path– or as someone new who seeks camaraderie, laughs and sometimes solace or understanding from people who are your tribe. Feeling lost? Feeling perky? YOU have a place in CST.
Write to us with questions. Talk it over with a friend or a group of friends, but do come along on the trek.
To those who participated this year, a big thank you for sharing thoughts, opinions, art work, photos and contributions to the monthly challenges! We wouldn’t be continuing if we didn’t think this has been a grand opportunity to meet others, converse deeply and build relationships.
If you’re already wondering about participating again, it may help you to know that in 2018, the topics will be the same, but everything else will be new. Sort of like re-reading a book that has a new impact every time you read it. We haven’t exhausted topics like dealing with criticism, seeking grace, adding an extra dose of creative something to every day’s routine. We’ll keep discussing them, but from new angles, reflected in the new videos, new essays, new challenges and new art tutorials. If you enjoyed this year, join us again and consider inviting a friend. Good things are meant to be shared!
Jane Dunnewold is an artist who writes. Although her popular book, Creative Strength Training: Prompts, Exercises and Stories to Inspire Artistic Genius was written to help artists find deeper joy in creating, her strategies apply to anyone seeking a more creative and boldly authentic life. Jane lectures and leads workshops that honor and encourage our human desire to create. She has a degree in psychology and religious studies from Baldwin-Wallace University, and twenty-five years of hands-on training in surface design processes.
Zenna Duke is deeply interested in the world around her. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and History from the University of Texas in Austin and is a RYT-200 Yoga Instructor. Zenna has worked as an advocacy and accompaniment specialist with survivors of sexual assault and is also a web designer and developer. She is excited to join Jane and the vibrant CST community again in 2019.