"The Little Spark," by Carrie Bloomston – A Book Review – A Great Holiday Gift

Sometimes a book comes into my hands, just when I need it most. November is my least favorite month of the year, (except for Thanksgiving). It seems like the sky is always gray. We all know the sun sets earlier. It feels like the rainiest month of the year. And, of course the temperature drops….a lot.

Along came Carrie Bloomston’s debut book, The Little Spark; 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. The last 10 days of November have become brighter!!

While reading this book I discovered quite a few creative sparks. (Note all the stickies on the pages, with notes and ideas on them). I read through this book quickly, because I wanted to review it before the holidays. It makes an awesome gift. It’s exactly the kind of book I like to own, because I know I will revisit different chapters throughout my creative life. (I borrowed this copy from the library, and am glad there are many copies in our system).
But for me it will get another thorough reading. I didn’t get a really get an opportunity to do the exercises, mindfully. (There is one I did a few years ago). When I read through them, I could see they were thought provoking and are apt to provide a creative spark.

Two years ago, I did make a soul box, which Carrie suggests and describes how to do in Chapter 25.  
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Yup, I collaged the whole shebang!!
 
I was using it to hold some charm squares I had been collecting from my fabric stash. But now I think I’m going to put a copy of this book in the box, along with my goals, dreams and special memories.
Creativity is a difficult subject to write about because it is esoteric, and means different things to different people. Carrie tackled this subject with grace and authenticity. I applaud the organization of the chapters and how the information is presented. The flow works quite well. All of the chapters are short, crisp and are accompanied by photos that support the text beautifully and creatively.  

For example, Chapter 20, “Create a Mission Statement,”  Chapter 21, “Fear,” Chapter 22, “Find Your Voice,” Chapter 23, “Repetition,” and Chapter 25, “Make a Soul Box,” are applicable to me right now, because I have been a bit stuck in my creative process, and procrastinating. But, this book also provides permission to do that when needed. For example, sometimes everyone just needs a day off or a break from their creative endeavors. In my case, it is almost the year anniversary of the passing of my mom, and the gloominess of November seems to make me sluggish.
However, the most awesome piece of wisdom hit me while reading the Chapter on fear. Carrie states that, “The creative act is the opposite of fear.” (pp. 90). I have been a bit immobilized lately, and if I would let myself push on all the sides of my creative boundaries, I know I would climb out of my fink funk. I’ve experienced this before, and I know Carrie hit the nail on the head with how she wrote this chapter. THANK YOU, CARRIE!!
Chapter 20, discusses how to make a personal mission statement. Just the term “mission statement” reminds me of business school and makes me quiver. However, Carrie cleverly coaxes the reader into considering this in a less intimidating way. 
First she has the reader think about their first inspiration, and who it might have come from; A relative, friend, teacher? Then she challenges the reader to describe in one word, “what your unique creative path looks like?” Then she challenges you to “describe how it feels.”
She kicks it up a notch, and asks for a “description in two words?”The next step is to try and make it into a sentence. That’s what I would call taking on a tough challenge in small manageable bites.
The book’s end notes are useful. There is a list of amazingly creative contributors and their web sites. In the “About The Author” section, Carrie shares her favorite books and movies, which have inspired her. Additionally, throughout the book she recommends other creative resources; a George Winston CD, quotes, etc.

The first time I sort of met Carrie Bloomston was through the media. She gave an incredible webinar – Awaken Your Your Inner Color Genius, which was sponsored by The Modern Quilt Guild.

I was so impressed with her passion for the subject, that I wrote down the names of the artists that influenced her, and checked out books about them from the library. Carrie received her degree from The Rhode Island School of Design and is an artist in many genres, including quilt and fabric design. Her blog and company is called Such Designs.

I participated in her classes through The Sewing Party; 
“Understanding Color From The Inside Out,” and “The Little Spark – Get to Know Your Creative Process and Rev-Up Your Creativity.”  

After participating in these webinars/classes, I had to read this book, and thus this blog post is born. This is a book to savor, and possibly read a chapter every few days or a week, at a time. There is so much inspiration on every page.

Happy Reading and Happy Quilting!!