I have just received a first proof of The Creative Space Journal that I wrote and illustrated with Ammonite Press. The idea for creating the journal came about through brainstorming sessions with the publisher, about little creative tips or catalysts that would help people to bring more creativity into their lives.
This book is filled with little projects by Yoko, which were written by her in the 1960s and 70s. Most of them are impossible, with ideas like:
TUNAFISH SANDWICH PIECE
Imagine one thousand suns in the
sky at the same time.
Let them shine for one hour.
Then, let them gradually melt
into the sky.
Make one tunafish sandwich and eat.
You get the idea! The format and structure of this book helped me a lot when writing. I decided to keep each task very short and to not over explain things or patronise people with the writing. I also decided to give titles to my tasks, as Yoko did in her book. Each one is meant to be fun and playful as well as inspiring. Sometimes these titles were to help the reader understand the reason for doing the tasks, other times the title is used as an introduction. I also used a similar technique in my Puzzle book, where I used titles to help the reader make sense of the images.
When I was writing the tips I had in mind various ideas about being more aware of things in the world around you and noticing things that you might not ordinarily, that might spark something new in the brain and help people to be more creative. This idea of being aware is really central to mindfulness, which is something that has also been proven to help people with depression and other mental health problems.
There is a lot more scope for research into how creativity can help support treatment of mental health and aid happiness and wellbeing. My good friend Justin, who is a counsellor, uses creative tools like drawing & writing as part of his practice and we’ve had quite a few discussions about how helpful using creative techniques with his clients can be.
Justin says in his article about how creativity helps with his work:
“There are many exercises using art just a few of these may be: drawing yourself, drawing the issue, drawing the future. With the therapist acting as a witness, offering a safe and supportive environment and a trusting and empathic relationship In order to explore the artwork.”
Justin uses techniques such as letter writing, sand trays with objects and figurines, drawings, paintings and collage to help his clients express and begin to understand their emotions. He says:
“sometimes experiences seem too complicated to put into words. Here the use of art may provide a platform for their expression. Drawing may be used to increase self understanding and create insights.”
I hope that The Creative Space Journal will be a tool to help make creativity accessible not only to the few but to anyone, from all walks of life, especially when it is so connected to happiness and wellbeing.