Steal, And Make It Your Own!

Trees by Sara Rockinger

Trees by Sara Rockinger

Written by Sara Rockinger

I wanted to steal the title for this blog from a book I love by Austin Kleon. It’s called Steal Like An Artist. I wanted to take his advice and steal his title. On further inspection of his book, I realized his book is more about doing your own work than stealing someone else’s. In fact, it’s all about doing your own work. Let me give you a quick overview and then I will tell you what I love about this book, why, and why I think you should “steal like an artist” too.

Mr. Kleon has written a lovely little, easy-to-read book called Steal Like An Artist. It is organized into 10 guidelines to help you unlock your creativity. The book jacket uses words like “transformative” and “reimagine.” I don’t know about that, but I do know that I value learning from others what works for them, and Kleon generously shares his 10 best tips for living a creative life.

I love this little book. It’s one of those you can open anywhere among its 140+ pages and get a tidbit of creative juice for the day. For example, Chapter 2: Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started. Kleon says if you wait, you will always be waiting. Actually, he says if HE had waited, he’d still be figuring it out. Jump in! Get started. “You’re ready. Start making stuff.” (pg 27)

In other sections of the book the author suggests that if you don’t know where to start, steal an idea from someone famous. Copy a “master.” You won’t be making an original ‘yours’ but you will be learning a lot and chances are the act of creating, even from someone else’s work, will suggest ideas of how you want to try it differently and make it your own, which is way better than being stuck. I have done this in my own work. In fact, when I started making art quilts 20 years ago I copied the styles of many famous artists, and sometimes actual paintings. Not only did I want to learn about the methods and madness of the artists, but I also wanted to see if I could do in fabric what others do in paint. Creativity is an exploration of one thing that leads you to another. That is a given; it will lead you. As Kleon said, “Start making stuff.”

I don’t know if this book will transform your life, but it’s handy as a tool to remind yourself of your desire to live a creative life. When we forget, this book is a daily mindfulness tool to bring us back to our creative spark.


About the Author and Artist:

Sara Rockinger has been a practicing artist for over 20 years. Using her sewing machine as a drawing and sculptural tool has rewarded her with national attention. Sara’s work has been included in several national exhibitions including the traveling fiber art exhibit Innovators and Legends: Generations in Textiles and Fibers.  Her work has been published in Fiber Arts Magazine and the book Freestyle Machine Embroidery. Sara received her MFA in Fiber from Colorado State University in 2008 and has been awarded two artists residencies, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts and Jentel, both in Wyoming. Sara resides in Colorado.

In/Visible by Sara Rockinger

by Sara Rockinger

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