Janet has developed the idea of combining two or more subjects in unexpected ways as a creative "hook," a way to get students thinking outside the box, loosening up the creativity that is inside everyone. It was fun during the brainstorming session to hear all the different takes each person had on the little ticklers she gave us, phrases or nursery rhymes. People who professed not to have a creative bone in their body came up with really cool concepts, any one of which could have been developed into an idea.
It mad me sad to hear how many of the women were so self-deprecating about their own abilities and skills to "get out of the box" or be creative. They all have it in them! As usual I was a bit of an odd duck, lots of ideas but very few skills. I also felt like I was the only one with a full time career besides quilting. Why didn't I find a wealthy man to marry 20 years ago?!? ;)
Anyway, I found that the exercises were useful for me for several reasons - 1. I always feel like my ideas have to come ONLY out of my head, and I worry if I am "inspired" by something else or take suggestions from someone else, or use someone else's method, that I'm cheating, or not really creating. Janet's methods, and even more, seeing her quilts firsthand, showed me how ideas can be sparked by different photos or memories and still be combined into totally unique pieces of art.
She was also very honest and informative about how much real WORK goes into the pieces she produces, and about what it takes to compete at the level she does (and not just complete but win).