Hours: Weekdays 10-6. Weekends 11-5.

When Times are Tough, Try Creating

While we’ve been at home, quarantined, social distancing to protect each other’s health, many of us are consuming screen content. Our screen-time consumption rates were already high, but they’ve gone from high to astronomical. How are you spending your time? Consuming? Have you thought about creating?

Boredom is the birthplace of creativity and ideas. So, pull out your notebook, grab a pencil and crayons. Write down your ideas, draw what you see, think and dream.

As we conquer and come out of this, we will need to use our creative skills more than ever before. Our purpose at the Hot Shops is to help people to create, explore, think, experience and share. Then, sleep fast and do it all again.

Read why some of our artists are determined to keep creating, always.

Keep sane in an insane world.

William Wolcott, violinist. Studio 320

“I have been playing for 40 years. Art, to me, is a rock, an anchor that keeps me sane in an insane world. It is also a divine light, a gift reminding me that to create is to live. When I play, I try my best to connect to that light and to that sense of wonder encompassing all of the emotions of humanity. Expression is my breath.” 

Find your happy place.

Trudy Woksa, painter. Studio 323

“The one day I didn’t paint I got depressed watching CNN, I wore my PJ’s around the clock, and I sterilized everything under the sun. The happy place for me is painting! Time flies, it’s creative and gets my mind off doom and gloom and I get a sense of accomplishment. What inspires me?  I’d call it ‘Lost escape’. You escape from reality and get lost in the unreality of a painted dream.”

Lose yourself in the process.

Lori Elliott-Bartle, Painter, Studio 210

“Creating is so integrated into my everyday life that there’s not much question about whether I keep creating, but more about how I direct my attention. I’ve found it harder to focus during these challenging times, but I can almost always lose myself in the process of building layers of color and texture in a painting, especially when I lower my expectations related to a particular result. As I’m working, other ideas about the work can percolate in the back of my mind in a more unconscious way. I’m interested in seeing what stories emerge from pieces in progress now. 

Outside the studio, I seek ways to connect, even if it’s from a distance. I’ve drawn designs on the sidewalk with chalk and have baked cookies to share. I mixed a sourdough starter that has already contributed to pizza crusts and soft pretzels. Those carbs have been fueling bike rides and walks in the neighborhood. These efforts help me stay healthy while I’m practicing social distancing and looking forward to future gatherings. And to me, it’s all part of the creative enterprise that makes a life.” 

It could become the most important thing you’ve ever done.

Eric Francis – photographer. CreativeMornings/Omaha Studio 206

“After sitting through an insufferable day of having my calendar cleared for the foreseeable future, I caught wind of this thing some photographers were doing to drum up business called Porch Portraits. Initially, I thought it would be something to keep me busy and engaged in the creative process. 

As a lifelong documentary photographer, it didn’t take me long to realize the cultural importance of this project, @isolation402. We’re all in this together and I feel it is important to mark this moment in our lives. These impromptu family portraits are a wonderful way memorialize this seminal moment in all our lives. 

As something that started off as just something to do, this may become the most important thing I’ve done in my career as a photographer.”

Immerse yourself and be happy.

Robbi Eklow, Quilt Artist. Studio 105

“Working with my hands, in fiber or beads, helps me pay attention if I need to, or block out the world if that’s better. I don’t have a long enough attention span or the speed in knitting to finish anything, but the distraction and exercise for my hands is what is important. I do beads when I’m really stressed, they require a lot of concentration, and that keeps my brain from panicking a bit. My main love is making art quilts, and when one is in process, I am completely immersed, in a state of flow, and happy to be in my own head.”