Introducing the Table of Creation

cartoon of 2 creators - Mom's Shop and a sculptor

This is the first in a series about the forthcoming book Your Table of Creation, discussing aspects of the three stages of creating. You can click HERE for the second post, or HERE for the third post.

The process usually attributed to artists is not unique to artists. It is the process of creation we can observe in all human beings and it really cannot be explained completely. An artist usually wants to write poetry, or do a painting, not talk about it. However, perhaps by describing the process of my own artwork, I might encourage someone to grow in some phase of creating, whether building a business, or a sculpture.

Come to the Table

From more than 47 years practicing, teaching and leading the arts in several countries, I have devised a tool to help plan as well as analyze the creating process. I call it “The Table of Creation” and offer it to you as a help in the forethought, work and hindsight of your own creation process.

You see a simple grid which I use to divide the creating process into three “stages,” left to right. Proceeding downward are levels under each stage with phrases evoking ways of imagining the given stage. As you think through the whole process of your venture, from left to right, you can ask of yourself and your creation questions suggested by the phrase in each level. Choose any of the four levels to guide your thinking through the whole process, or concentrate on just one stage at a time and ask questions from all four aspects under the given stage.

The Table of Creation shows three stages in the creating process and under each are four levels of ways to think about each stage.

I hope the Table helps you know what to ask along your journey creating your art, business, or invention. It is a good reminder to me. Even though I should know these things thoroughly by now, the Table helps me remember the important aspect I might have missed with the risk of sabotaging the potential of the project. The Table is there to make projects deep, rich and healthy.

In this series I will delve into each stage and, at the end of each post, suggest prompts and questions which the Table raises. An art journal/adult coloring book of this whole blog series, including a set of handy prompt cards, will soon be available to download. Put your name in the “Get Announcements about . . .” box if you would like to receive announcements of the book’s forthcoming release.

Are There Really “Stages”?

Each stage happens whether you are conscious of it or not: the Inspiration, the Execution, the Exhibition. I only describe creating in “stages” so that I can monitor myself and help others progress. Actually all the “stages” are present to some extent within each “stage” and I simply emphasize one over the others for the given moment of the work.

In the Table’s fourth level down you find something that may seem odd. I see the three stages in other places that confirm what I have learned by experience. For instance in scripture Jesus says, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)

That way of saying it, comes with something every intentional creator must have: hope. It comes with the promise that we will progress beyond the limits. As an artist, I know I can endure hardship, famine and rejection, if I am encouraged by the hope that the closed door will be opened. After many years I am still learning there is always in my journey that element of the unknown where faith is essential for progress.

Please join me in this series digging into these three aspects of creating. In whatever you have to make, if you will take the time to think about the process and use the prompts from the Table, progress yet unknown will happen.

Questions for your consideration before we continue:

  • Have you ever started a project in a sort of “asking” attitude?
  • In what way is the execution stage like “seeking”?
  • When you have completed the production of your creation how might the action of “knocking” be needed?

Be one of the community building around this series. I invite you to get your copy of the art journal/adult coloring book version which I have created for this series. To get your copy click on the “Buy Now” button at right. Then go to our Facebook group page HERE, ask to join and share your experience of the book.

Click HERE for the next post in the series.

13 Responses

  1. Barry

    Good exploration for the possibilities of unearthing the new and bringing change to the new creation.

    • markart

      Thanks, Barry

      This series is indeed a new effort to explore new territory and invite others to join me.

  2. Kirby

    Ask, seek, knock intentionally… This is the stage that really got my attention. I am definitely interested in exploring this new blog & coloring book!

  3. markart

    Kirby, I am so glad you can sense there is much below the surface. I do hope to benefit you with this series and the “coloring journal” idea.

    • Mark Turner

      Thanks, Kathleen – well, I hope these posts and the book versions of them do give people pause to contemplate themselves as creators.

  4. Michelle Hansen

    I’m a visual learner, and your table is a great way to visualize all phases of creativity. I do well in the areas of inspiration and execution, but am still shy about the exhibition phase. This I commit to improve on! I like this visual format and will share with my Artists group of friends. Thanks, Mark!

    • markart

      Hi, Michelle
      So nice to hear from you! Thanks for looking this over and spreading the word. I do hope this book will help Creators support one another and bless the world at large.


  5. Peggy

    Ich kann dich auch so gut verstehen und freue mich sehr, wenn du ab und zu vorbei schaust hier in dieser vileetlrun Welt. Ich wünsche dir alles Gute!

    • markart

      Thank you, Peggy — I translated your comment and it came out like this:
      “I can understand you so well and I am very happy, if you look now and then here in this vileetlrun world. I wish you all the best!”
      I wish you all the best, also, and hope that you will soon be able to see the whole book which this post is a part of.
      (By the way, what is the word “vileetlrun” ?)