Imagine, Create, Inspire

110909FEATURE.jpgImagine, Create, Inspire
Six ways to tap into your creativity

The last time you unleashed your inner artist, your mom smiled awkwardly then stored your work for "special" occasions. That masterpiece might not have seen the light of day, but a local "chief imagination officer" gives six simple steps to rediscover your inspired side and make your decorative dreams come true.

Dawn Schwartzman's her name. Creativity's her game. But that creativity doesn't just come from thin air. As the chief imagination officer for Enriching Spaces, a design and supply company for inspired professional spaces, Schwartzman surrounds herself with creativity-inducing elements.


A bulletin board behind her desk shows just a glimpse of these elements with pictures from a family vacation, color chips, quotes from her Zen calendar, "doo dads," the list goes on. In front of her bulletin board, Schwartzman keeps markers and colored pencils close at hand. Each of the previous items indicates a different way that you can incorporate creativity into your own life.


Feel like a Natural Woman


Aretha Franklin wasn't complaining when she sang, "You make me feel like a natural woman," because most people find inspiration from nature. Schwartzman has photos from her family vacation, and where do most people go on vacation? Nature.


You might stay in a hotel, but that hotel might be right by the beach. You might head to New York City, but you'll be sure to check out Central Park. The reason behind the vacation to nature is that nature provides stimulation for your imagination.


This very concept has transcended the design industry with "biomimicry" and "biophilia" trends, Schwartzman says. Each of these trends incorporates the colors, patterns and ideas found in nature into design. Whether flowers spot your curtains or a potted plant breathes oxygen into your room, bringing nature inside can provide a more creative space for your mind to work its magic.


pinkfest_INSTORY.gif It's All about Hue


Color can be the way to make the most dramatic impact on a space for the least amount of money. A gallon of paint can transform a room from an uninspired box to a vibrant space of possibilities. Updating a room's accessories and adding in different colors also can change the atmosphere of a space at minimal cost.


Outdoor-inspired tones also can bring in the nature your mind craves. Just as the patterns found in nature provide "moments of surprise," pops of color can create a fun, pleasing element of unexpectedness, Schwartzman says.


Instead of staring into the rainbows of paint chips to determine which color palette will provide a more inspiring space, Schwartzman recommends going through a personal reflection. Think about what places encourage your creative insight. Often times these places are where people choose to go on vacation, Schwartzman says. Once you figure out your imagination muses, look to the colors that define that place for your color palette.


Watch Your Language


Never underestimate the power of words. While pictures and images ignite bright ideas, visualizing the actual words can provide another type of stimulation. Schwartzman has quotes from her Zen calendar on display, and throughout the entire building, words appear on the walls and in the graphics at Enriching Spaces.


"We define our space … then our space defines us," says one "mantra" incorporated into a graphic displayed on the wall. Defining what you want your space to be and formulating your feelings into words can provide a clearer path toward achieving that goal. "Vocabulary I think can be an inspiration — describing the feeling that you want from a space and then going ahead and trying to incorporate that," Schwartzman says.


Escape to Never-Never Land


It's not a secret that age is a sensitive topic for many women, but you can stay young forever if you let yourself. Give yourself playtime with different "doo dads" and toys, Schwartzman says. Your playtime can include anything from a Zen sand garden to various toys that you can pick up and manipulate with your hands.


Providing yourself with this escape back to childhood allows you to revisit your imagination at its finest. Through the toys, you travel back to when blankets were legitimate building materials and a large cardboard box could be a spaceship, a house and a submarine all in one afternoon.


Give Yourself a Chance


Schwartzman has colored pencils and markers ready and waiting for when she gets inspiration, and a supply of paper isn't too far away from the writing utensils. Having the materials to express your creativity and storing them in an easily accessible area will provide you with a scenario that will be much more conducive to using and developing your imagination.


Social media and other technology at your finger tips provides you with avenues of expression, but technologic expression lacks the nature-based human touch involved with putting hand to pen and pen to paper, Schwartzman says. So keep your Twitter account ready for communication, but keep old-fashioned paper ready for creativity.


Go for It


With all of these ideas on how to add more creativity to your life, you might still struggle with the idea of putting the plan into action. "Give yourself courage," Schwartzman says. The only way to stretch your imagination is to erase the boundaries and limitations. Nothing is out of the question.


One of the most common limitations people face is the thought of others' concerns. To be creative, you need to release your cares of what other people are going to think because your space is the only place in the world that you can control. "Take advantage! And if you've selected it, it's valid," Schwartzman says.


Another obstacle in the way of creative freedom is the fear of making a wrong decision. "People are paralyzed by permanence," Schwartzman says. But if you make the wrong color choice, what's going to happen? The worst that could happen is that you could experiment a little with it and grow to enjoy the serendipity or end up changing to something else.


So take on your creative courage, dispel your fears of judgment, relinquish your doubts of decision and unleash the power of your mind!


For more information about Enriching Spaces, head to, call (513) 851-0933 or head to 1360 Kemper Meadow Drive in Forest Park, Ohio. While the furniture and accessories available generally are more expensive than IKEA because of the extensive quality testing, ideas are always free, Schwartzman says.


Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Model: Rebecca Prewitt
Location: The McAlpin

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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