5 Ways to Pay It Forward this Holiday Season

In the spirit of holiday giving, we asked several creatives to tell us how they give back to causes they are passionate about. Whether it’s donating money, time, or belongings, every little bit matters to those who are in need. We hope their stories inspire you to pay it forward this holiday season and all year long.

Create Art for a Cause

Salli S. Swindell has taken part in an annual event for the past 15 years called the Christmas Stocking Competition, which is held at The Grey Colt in Hudson, Ohio. The event rallies artists, crafters, and DIY’ers to create a handmade stocking using any medium or materials. The stockings are revealed at a preview party in the shop, and then on display in the window the following week. “People buy raffle tickets to win a stocking and the proceeds are all donated to a local cause,” Swindell says.

About 60 stockings are submitted each year garnering an average of $6,000. “The preview party is such a fun and festive event. It’s amazing how creative people get with their stocking entries. Over the years I’ve seen carved wooden stockings, garlands made of clay stockings, every kind of fabric and stitching, and even an evening gown in the shape of a stocking! Many of us here in town start thinking about our concept in the summer. It’s a super cool event that connects the community in a creative way and helps a local cause.”

Read the full article here.

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Using Design Thinking to Turn Challenges into Opportunities

We’ve all heard the term “design thinking,” freely bandied about, but what does it really mean and can only creative people apply this in their work? “No,” says designer, educator, author Matthew Jervis, founder of Make It Creativity. He teaches design thinking to anyone who will have him—from teachers and students (sometimes as young as middle-schoolers) to bureaucratic administrators.

Every person has the capacity to be creative—not just designers and artists. Being creative is instinctual. It’s a set of basic survival skills that have evolved over time and continue to evolve…and not in a positive direction.

“The definition of creativity has veered off in present day to be more defined in emotional and expressive terms,” he says. “This modern definition is wrong and creates more problems, while marginalizing a vast swath of humankind. When we describe people who might like to draw, write, or who might think a little differently as ‘creative,’ we are missing what creativity really is and actually doing a huge disservice.”

Jervis points out that our ancestors needed to be creative to survive. “We ran buffalo off cliffs because we needed to eat and clothe ourselves, since we didn’t have horses yet. We needed to be creative. What’s the best way to run them off a cliff? Where is the nearest cliff? How do we keep from running ALL the buffalo off the cliff?”

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He approaches the creative process and design thinking with the idea that it’s a way of living and approaching everyday challenges… not just for designers working with clients. “The ability to see a challenge as an opportunity is key to thinking creatively,” he simply states.

“I feel that parenthood/childcare/teaching are some of THE best examples of design thinking as well as being some of the most creative endeavors out there.” he says. Here is a list of ten tactics devised by Jervis that parents—or anyone for that matter–can deploy in a challenging situation.

Whether it’s a kid having a temper tantrum, or running out of gas on your way to work. How we react to and deal with the circumstances is key to coming up with the best solution. Read rest here.