Posted by & filed under Artist Books, book review, Creativity, Fiber & Textiles Education.

I’ve led more workshops (at Jane Dunnewold Studios) than I can count, and have encountered people all along the continuum of creative confidence. Some people were already comfortable with their creativity, and easily introduced themselves as “artists.” They were usually sitting next to someone, who when asked, flatly denied any chance that a creative gene could exist within them. Then there were the folks in between, who sort of “got it”, but still had trouble claiming it.

Those of you who are part of the Fiber Art Now community fall out somewhere on the continuum I’ve just described. That’s what I love about art, specifically as it relates to textiles. Painters might think of themselves as better than the rest of us. I’ve met my share of sculptors and ceramicists who do. I hope they’re all old guard, and their attitude will die fast. Because grabbing a creative life and hanging on long enough to actualize it is a path everybody deserves to walk– and textile folk have always set the open and inviting example.

Marcia invited me to share my newest endeavor because when we talked about it recently, it mirrored what’s just happened in New Bedford. A meet-up among old and new friends. Frankly, I think FAN articulates what we crave in the world we wake up to each morning. Connection. Conversation. Community. And there’s an increased sense of urgency. A longing to engage every day with challenges, people and our inner selves–more creatively than we do right now.

The back story: In 2013, I hatched a seedling idea for an online course, but I needed a techie gardener to help bring my plan to fruition. Long story short, I talked my daughter, Zenna, into assuming the role of Media Coordinator. The Creative Strength Training course was born. A dozen sessions later, the book of that name was released, and is selling steadily.

But I’m at heart an artist, so I don’t rest on what I’ve done. I know it could burn up or blow away or both. That’s why “creatives” keep moving–engaged by all the ideas rolling around in our heads. Ready for something new.

Now I am pleased to introduce a new ten-month course, based on CST, but with a broader perspective. The elevator speech? Our ten-month course (yes, I’ve partnered with Zenna in designing this one) will be a community leaping together into monthly essays on Life issues and how to handle them creatively.

Advice and discussion about how to face down, leap over, or push past the old thoughts and beliefs that keep us stuck. I used to think engaging the Rebel, dismantling the Committee and nurturing what’s distinctive were strategies for artist/writer/makers. Now I know from experience these are issues and limitations we impose on ourselves, no matter how our creative self manifests.

We begin March 1. There are discounts for friends, previous students, and a small share of scholarships offered by other artists who have generously stepped up to the plate. Everyone is welcome at this table–where we’ll share art practices, both deceptively easy and also compelling. We’ve got recipes and cooking videos for fun, and a few healthy tips from Zenna, who wears several hats, including certified yoga instructor, new mother, scholar, and media guru.

We’ve filmed a set of videos to talk about the course, to answer questions and to encourage you to join us. See them and read more about the topics. We look forward to sharing laughter, art explorations, and deep conversation from March until the end of the year. Come along! 


Jane Dunnewold



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