8 Steps to Sensually Enhance Creative Space

by Barbara Martin

in How to Tips, Motivation & Inspiration

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron points out that creativity is a full bodied, sensual experience to be celebrated. Heightening or intensifying the physical effects of your immediate environment to enrich the sensory experience will help honor, affirm and trigger your creativity.

Your Creativity is Worthy of a Special Place
Setting aside a specific room or a specific spot for your creative work marks a distinct physical separation from the rest of your day to day life. This special sense of place encourages you to access your creativity and quickly reach that state of creative flow.

Now Use Your Senses to Customize
Here are eight ways to custom tailor the sensory environment of your personal, creativity-nurturing space and make it perfect for you.

  • 1. Use your favorite colors.
    You might respond best to the calming of blue walls or the passion of bright red. If you don’t know, experiment. Add color in any way you like: a bright rug, a pillow, the desk blotter, a window shade, wall art; on your backpack, storage boxes, laptop, journal cover.

  • 2. Feed your inner artist with images.
    If you have a window, how does it frame the view? Perhaps a painting, photograph or other artwork would stimulate your imagination.

  • 3. Equip yourself well.
    A comfy chair, a smooth writing surface, the perfectly angled easel, the best lighting; these kinds of adjustments not only enhance the physical space for functionality, but also engage and please the senses, easing your path to creativity.

  • 4. Play with sound.
    Include your favorite music, or the “white noise” of a gently burbling fountain or ocean waves, to build ambiance and help shape your private creative world. Or do you work better amid the hustle and bustle background noise of a favorite coffee shop? Beneath whispering tall trees?

  • 5. Be comfortable.
    Treat your skin to a cooling breeze in summer, or the feel of a soft fuzzy sweater and the warmth of a cozy fireplace in winter. Add a humidifier during the winter heating season, during mild weather use a gentle fan or open the window to keep the air moving and fresh. Wear comfy shoes, or no shoes at all!

  • 6. Scent is evocative.
    Add fragrance in the form of fresh flowers or smoldering incense, perhaps a scented candle, a drop of essential oil, or the aroma of a simmering casserole… or good coffee. What scent would remind you of your absolute most favorite place?

  • 7. Travel by taste bud.
    Let that coffee please your palate, or treat your taste buds to healthy fruit or crisp veggies, an herbal tea or icy cool water. Flavors are as evocative as scents, powerful stimulators capable of awakening sensory memories and emotions.

  • 8. Array and display.
    Last but not least! Your favorite objects provide visual and tactile stimulation. Keep close at hand the things that please you most, images and objects you love to look at and touch, favorite mementos and talismans, touchstones, fun bits, gaudy trinkets. And absolutely gather together special items for any creativity rituals you follow.
  • Honor Your Workspace, Honor Your Creativity
    It is important to honor and celebrate your creativity and affirm your creative self by finding an amenable place to work, a spot where you intentionally and actively encourage your creativity. Whether you simply designate a special nook for your creative work, or you prefer a full-fledged approach and develop your workplace as a creativity altar, pay attention to these eight sensory elements of your physical environment. Do everything you can to enable your senses to feed your inner artist with comfort — and joy!

    MORE Posts in the Artist’s Way Series

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    Goddess Leonie | GoddessGuidebook.com April 8, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    F A B U L O U S :) I adore this so very much!
    I am LOVING your series on TAW, possum :)
    It’s like reboxing and embelleshing my favourite parts!

    Rebecca Leigh April 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Your descriptions of all the elements are so delicious I feel more relaxed and creative just reading them! Definitely going to be incorporating a few of these into my space.
    Thanks :)

    Leah April 10, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Oh, this is great!! I love the idea of using all your senses to create the perfect creative space!

    Eileen April 14, 2009 at 9:35 am

    This is perfect timing that I’m reading your articles now, when I’m setting up my office in my new place. I tend to focus on color, on visuals, and believe very strongly in the importance of that, but honestly I had never thought of paying attention to ALL of the senses…hmmmm….funny how we tend to gravitate toward certain senses…

    Barbara Martin April 14, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    I think my garden design experience crept through here — “good” gardens are sensory overloaders (in a good way!) and I do believe that our state of mind can be strongly influenced by our physical environment, whether or not we realize it is happening. The effect can be subtle sometimes, but it is always there. We are still “animal” enough to respond to physical cues of all kinds. Once we begin to attune ourselves to the information from our senses we begin to enrich our daily existence… If you think of creative flow as being a sort of trance, anything we can do to encourage ourselves to get there faster or more easily is worth doing.

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