June 27, 2017  

How To Fuel Your Creativity With A Local DIY Workshop

I hopped in my car a couple weeks ago to drive two hours to a little Iowa town that I’d never visited, despite being a lifelong Iowan. The reason for my trip? A copper repousse workshop. Wondering what copper repousse is? So was I!
This trip was quite out of character for me. I am a homebody and not exactly the adventurous type. I don’t get out of my element often enough and when I do, I don’t go alone. I’m an introvert and don’t normally sign up for classes about topics I’ve never heard of in towns I’ve never visited. But I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and took this day trip.
The Produce Station | Webster City, Iowa
The Produce Station | Webster City, Iowa
Although this trip was out of character, it wasn’t exactly on a whim. The Iowa Tourism Office asked me to partner with them to visit a couple places that host hands-on workshops and create content for their website about my trips. I jumped at the opportunity but had no idea how much my creativity would benefit from my travels.
I will share much more about the specifics of my trips on the Travel Iowa blog later this fall, and I’ll let you know when they’re published in case you’re traveling to Iowa and want to check out the places I visited. But today I want to share the “aha” moments I had during these trips as they relate to creativity. So although I’m talking about my experiences exploring Iowa, my reflections are not at all location specific. You have similar creative opportunities in your own backyard that I hope you’ll explore.

My “Aha” Moment

As I drove the two hours to my copper repousse workshop, I was a bit nervous. You see, I’m an introvert and the thought of showing up to a class where I didn’t know anyone was uncomfortable. I’m also not that adventurous, so I was apprehensive to attend a class on a topic that I had never heard of. Although I had some hesitations beforehand, I ended up having an amazing time in the class.
Copper Repousse Workshop | Legacy Learning | Webster City, Iowa
Copper Repousse Workshop | Legacy Learning | Webster City, Iowa
I learned that copper repouse is a form of art where you mold copper into a three-dimensional masterpiece. By the end of the workshop, I had transformed a thin sheet of copper into a gorgeous piece of art that I’m itching to use as part of a gallery wall somewhere in our house. I left the workshop with artwork I’m proud of and was bursting with creative energy the entire drive home.
Copper Repousse Workshop | Legacy Learning | Webster City, Iowa
Copper Repousse Workshop | Legacy Learning | Webster City, Iowa

As I drove down the highway, I kept thinking about how I need to do this type of thing regularly! My trip reminded me of the importance of taking a break from the daily grind to get out of my element. It fueled my creativity in a way that would never happen by being a homebody and following my normal routine. 

The Global Plate Workshop | Three Pines Farm | Cedar Falls, Iowa
That first trip made me much more excited for the next, although I still had my hesitations. My sister agreed to tag along with me to this one, so I knew I had a built-in buddy. But this was an Iranian cooking class, something completely out of my comfort zone as someone who rarely eats ethnic foods and has failed at preparing rice numerous times.
My sister and I had a fantastic time at the cooking class at Three Pines Farm in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I learned so much about preparing foods and about the culture of Iran. The foods we prepared were absolutely delicious and I am seriously going to try them at home soon.
The Global Plate Workshop | Three Pines Farm | Cedar Falls, Iowa
The Global Plate Workshop | Three Pines Farm | Cedar Falls, Iowa

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For details, see my disclosures here.

The Importance Of Creative Retreats

It wasn’t until I was driving home from my second hands-on workshop last weekend that it hit me – my trip was a creative retreat! I was reminded of a book I purchased last year, The Creative Retreat by fellow blogger Jennie Moraitis (get the ebook here and the paperback here. The book is a guide to taking creative retreats and is filled with ideas for retreats that can be taken even when your time and money are limited.
There are many types of creative retreats. They might be weekends writing on the beach, or they may be twenty minutes practicing hand lettering during naptime.
No matter what form your creative retreat takes, I do hope you’ll make them a priority. The two hands-on workshops I took this month introduced me to a new kind of creative retreat, and I loved it! While I can’t realistically attend creative workshops every weekend (if only!), I can still find ways to take mini-retreats at home. For me, a creative retreat might be hiding out in my studio and working on a craft project with no interruptions for a couple hours. A retreat is also often me packing a notebook and my laptop and heading to a park to be alone with my thoughts for a while.
I hope my experience will serve as a reminder to you to take a break from the every day and do something creative. I highly encourage you to check out the DIY classes in your own backyard this summer, and sign up for something totally new to you! You may discover a new hobby and you’ll definitely walk away feeling refreshed and energized creatively.
There’s rarely a day when I don’t do something creative – whether it’s writing or graphic design or my latest DIY project. I prioritize time to be creative because it fuels my soul. I quickly feel drained if I go even a few days without taking the time to do something creative for at least a few minutes.
Taking these hands-on classes took me out of my comfort zone and flexed my creative muscles, both things that were much needed! I left feeling ready to take on all kinds of new creative projects.
Are there fun hands-on classes offered in your area? Have you taken any of them?
Happy creating,
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. For details, see my disclosures here.

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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