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Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Great Toilet Paper Roll Creative Challenge

I think we all have one or two of these around the house.
Last week I sent an impromptu email to my “Living the Creative Life” class with the subject line “The Great Toilet Paper Roll Creative Challenge.” What does a creativity coach with no particular agenda on a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon do for fun? She dreams up a creative prompt using empty toilet paper rolls.

So, I'm a slightly compulsive about recycling, (hmmm…“slightly compulsive” is an oxymoron, isn't it?) and as I tossed another toilet paper roll into the recycling bin that day I thought “What if I used this ubiquitous household item as a creative prompt?” (BTW – asking ourselves "what if" is a fabulous way to mine creative gold!) I'd made some cute little owls for my daughter several months earlier that I’d seen on The Hidden List. She in turn had recently created something on her own she dubbed “The Little Roll of Happiness” and left it on my desk as a surprise. As you turn the roll the messages say: I love you! You are amazing! You are beautiful! Best mom ever! Best wife ever! You are you! (Still get vklempt whenever I read it.)

So, inspired by these fun little projects, here is the optional creative challenge I offered up to my class:

“Sometime before we meet this week, what if you created something with an empty toilet paper roll?  You can use one roll or fifty. (though I doubt you have 50 spare used toilet paper rolls handy) You can create the project all on your own or you can look for something fun on the internet. You might collage it, or paint it, or write a poem to it or about it. There are no rules other than to have fun with it!”

Everyone chose to participate, although some admitted that at first they weren’t going to, either because they didn’t think they had the time or couldn’t imagine what they would do or thought it was a little silly. But, in the end everyone came up with a wonderfully creative idea of their own and completed their creations in a short amount of time.

Funky Necklace
One person shared that though she was excited to create something at first she soon felt stuck. She found herself worrying about whether or not she would make something “good enough” (does this sound familiar to anyone?) and it totally shut her down. Then, as she sat holding her empty toilet paper roll she saw the humor in it. “Why am I freaking out over making something out of a used toilet paper roll?” And she decided to lower her expectations. (The super cool serendipity here is that lowering expectations was a Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coaching tool I'd already planned on sharing that week!)

She gave herself permission to create the ugliest thing ever and that released the pressure she was feeling and helped her begin. She allowed herself to have fun. She combined her love of color and textures with the belief that anything can be turned into a necklace and ouila! Before she knew it she had created something very cool in a very short amount of time and had a lot of fun doing it. (and, as it turns out…she may end up using this as a template for some other real necklaces – yay!)

The Guardian Angel of Toilet Paper
Another wonderful creation was The Guardian Angel of Toilet Paper. She watches over your bathroom to make sure your holder is always ready with a full roll with the paper faced in your preferred direction! The wings were crafted from the used roll, flattened and covered with glitter and Modge Podge. Then the angel herself was made from actual toilet paper. (we all agreed there may be a market for this beauty, so consider her copyrighted!)

Planter and beautiful reminder
This tiny planter holds a bit of soil and some lemon balm seeds. The lovely reminder reads, "When I tend to my garden my creative spirit soars!" This was one of the wonderful creations that nearly didn't get made. (not enough time...don't know what to do....ect....) And then, when the idea came to her, she created the entire project from start to finish in less than ten minutes and admits it made her very happy to do so. When the seeds begin to sprout, she's going to plant them outside as a living reminder for herself. (I told you - these are amazing!)

Toilet Paper Butterfly of Transformation
This sweet butterfly was inspired with a discussion of the butterfly as a symbol of transformation in a previous class. Again...a fun creative project, created in a very short time which gave a large amount of satisfaction to the creator and to the entire group.

In a beautiful bit of serendipity, Jill Badonsky, founder of Kaizen–Muse® Creativity Coaching recently shared this fun list of creative modalities:

Though toilet paper rolls are not on the list, I feel sure she would applaud their addition!
So there you have it. Further proof that it doesn't take huge amounts of time or baskets of expensive materials, or even a particularly serious idea to enjoy some wonderful soul-nurturing creative satisfaction! If you're up for The Great Toilet Paper Challenge I'd love to see your creations. Please send a photo to me at creativeoasiscoach@me.com
Until next time, all the best from my creative oasis to yours,