Five Minutes to Jumpstart Your Creativity

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Tips from Project Runway Alum Amy Bond!

Amy Bond with 2018 Fashion Retreat participant at a cutting table
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Fashion designer, educator, and Project Runway alum Amy Bond is all too familiar with the struggle to make room for unfettered creativity. She’s currently the supervising fashion producer for a new fashion-competition reality show premiering on Netflix in the fall, where she’s responsible for everything from set design to staffing to procuring fabrics to anticipating everything a designer might need, “down to the last pin.” Suffice it to say, Bond, who is leading the Otis College of Art and Design 2019 Fashion Design Retreat, is very busy. “I understand that five minutes is never enough, but sometimes it is all you have,” she says. And with her following tips, you too can make the most of them.

Find some alone time. “I don’t think you can be truly creative unless you’re by yourself,” Bond says.

Listen to something unexpected. The ability to constantly curate our content intake has eliminated the element of surprise. Take five minutes to listen to something you can’t anticipate. “There’s this station in Greece that I’ll stream because I have no idea what I’m listening to. But it makes me think a little differently, which helps the creative process.”

Take a small step. “I’ll do something on the sewing machine, like a hem that needs to be fixed or a small alteration,” Bond says. Those five minutes make me “remember how much I like that part of [design].” Accomplishing something small will put you in the mindset of making something bigger.

Use your hands. Whether that’s doing origami or just messing with Play-Doh. “Anything you do with your hands stimulates [creativity].”

Get out of your comfort zone. “All art is interconnected. Music is fashion is art is words,” says Bond. “It’s really important to remember that there are multi-levels of artistic expression and coolness in every facet.” If you’re a designer, sculpt something small. If you’re a writer, pluck a few strings on a ukulele. If you’re a painter, spend five minutes writing.   

Read emails. Seems counter-intuitive, right? That depends on the emails you’re reading. “I subscribe to a lot of newsletters—museums all across the world, coolhunting kind of sites, architecture and design ones,” she says. “You get 15 of those in your inbox and your impulse is to delete them. But if I just scroll through, a photo and a headline can be enough. Through that I’ve seen and learned so many interesting things.”

Don’t force it. If you’re thinking, “‘Oh my God, I’ve gone through my day, I have to be creative! What am I gonna do??’ it just feels like a burden,” Bond says. “It should feel like fun.”

The 2019 Fashion Design Retreat at Otis College of Art and Design is a 9-day fully immersive program for designers of any level of expertise to develop their personal syzygy of fashion concepts, fine art, technical skills, and broad experimentation.

 Learn more about the program and apply by May 1!