Unconventional Art

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Author Spotlight

Creativity Inspiring Projects and Prompts with Maria Chatzi

Writer, Former Teacher, Craft Designer & Jewelry Artist

Maria ChatziHi. My name's Maria Chatzi and I'm a writer (of non-fiction and children's storybooks and poetry), a former teacher and craft designer, as well as a self-taught artist (I enjoy making mixed media art, pebble art, and whimsical drawings). I love nature (especially trees, rocks, cats) learning, playing, experimenting, and helping adults and kids discover their creative side and embrace their uniqueness. I create with various materials, methods and techniques but am mostly attracted to natural materials and I'm usually inspired to create recycled or upcycled crafts.

I believe that writing is very closely related to getting inspiration and clarity of intention for my all my other creative endeavors - and the opposite is also true.

I have spent some years, as a volunteer, at public libraries teaching kids creative writing, making crafts with them, as well leading a small series of creative jewelry making workshops for adults.

If you need some ideas and tips on creative things to do with beach rocks and pebbles, visit my website beachstonesinspired.com.

Inspiring Creativity Ideas

Maria Chatzi Interview

Maria discusses her creative work, life journey, and more in Creativity Portal's 20Q interview.

Beach Stone Inspired: A Story of Love and Creative Inspiration

It all started the day I found a pink quartzite pebble, on a day trip with my family. It was a beauty!

Stretch Your Creativity: Create Unconventional Art

Unconventional ArtStretching our creativity with unconventional art is not only for those moments we get stuck or feel we need a creative change. Get inspired with this list of unconventional artists and the art they create.

JournalUnusual Ways to Find Creative Inspiration for Art and Craft Projects

Do you need some out-of-the-ordinary places to look for creative inspiration? Would you like to test some unusual ways to get new ideas? If so, this short list is for you. It will unlock your creative and imaginative thinking, leading you to the creation of innovative art and unique craft projects.

Pottery makingFind Creative Inspiration in a Public Library

Have you ever considered your local library to be an inspiring source for creative flow? After reading this, your visits to the library will never be the same again.

LibraryInspiring Creative Bliss in a Craft Workshop

Three ways to nurture creativity, authenticity, and worth in adults in a craft workshop or art class setting.

Rainbow WallAre You Blocking Your Creativity?

Let your creativity flow by giving yourself permission to try things out and believe you can succeed as others can.

BelieverOur Creative Self is a Believer

There is no magic recipe, only a simple but powerful truth: People who are highly creative are believers.

MonstersCreativity and the Monsters

If you want to be true to your creative self, and make your contribution to our world, there is no room for fear.

Creative Writing Prompts & Projects

Unique and imaginative prompts to ignite artistic imaginations!

How Creativity Helps Kids Love Writing

Creativity turns a writing task into a fun, worthwhile experience.

Prompt RingWriting Prompts Book Ring Project

Learn how to create this one-of-a-kind writing prompts book ring featuring both letter and word pages to inspire word associations for your writing practice.

Writing CubiesCollage Cubies for Creative Writing

Collage Cubies are a fun way to play with collaging words and pictures into surprising works of art. This project based on the cubies principles focuses on using a cube to inspire creative writing with kids.

Story StartersStory Starters for Saint Patrick's and April Fool's Day

Set aside some time every day, for ten days, and do some writing with these story starters for Saint Patrick's and April Fool's Day.

New Year PromptsNew Year Creative Writing Prompts

The beginning of a new year means it's time to weave new dreams and new hopes for your creative life.

Prompts CatcherDesign a Creative Writing Prompts Catcher

Are you the proud owner of a cute pet and love to hone your creative writing skills with writing prompts?

Sidewalk ChalkCreative Writing Ideas with Sidewalk Chalk

Get a box of sidewalk chalk, team up with your children, and allow yourself to be childlike.

JournalSummer Sailboat Collage Magnet

Learn how to create this fun beach stone-inspired sailboat collage! This one-of-a-kind fridge magnet features blue water, lacey waves, and inspiring words of your choice!

JournalInspire! Create! Wall Art Collage

A step-by-step tutorial for a creative spring collage featuring a pearl bird nest, musical note leaves, and lace tree branches.

JournalDIY Collaged Journal Cover

A simple do-it-yourself tutorial you can use as a base for artfully decorating your own special journal or to gift away to a friend!

Valentine's Day Beach RockHandpainted Valentine's Day Beach Rock

The handpainted beach rock could stand alone, decorating a coffee table, or it could be used as a paperweight.

Christmas OrnamentDoodle-y Craft Christmas Tree Ornament

Make this lovely Christmas tree ornament out of a carboard paper tube.

Beach Treasure CandleBeach Treasure Candle Project

Have you collected an abundance of treasures from the seashore? Collage them together into this beautiful keepsake Beach Treasure candle!

Recycled Summer WreathSeashell Summer Wreath Project

Learn how to recycle white and turquoise fabric, seashells, and newspaper into a beautiful summer wreath craft!

Pebble Art Beach ScenePebble Art Beach Scene Project

Learn how to make this delightful beach scene craft with a cairn of stones!

ShellCreative Kitchen Decor with Beach Finds

Have you ever gone beach combing and saved your finds? If so, take your treasures out of their chests — use them to decorate your kitchen.

Easter Birdie BookmarkEaster Birdie Bookmark

You could use the same birdie design to make a garland and other decorations for your home.

Valentine HeartHeart-Flower Bookmark for Valentine's Day

Paper craft project with bonus lesson for teaching kids about caring for our fellow humans and loving each other.

Valentine Key RingPainted Pebble Valentine Key Ring Craft

Learn how to assemble and paint this one-of-a-kind key ring pebble craft as a special Valentine gift.

SnowflakeSnowflake Decoration Ornament

This project shows you how to make creative snowflake craft using an old CD.

Christmas PendantChristmas Pebble Jewelry Pendant

This project shows you how to make a painted Christmas pebble pendant.

Beach Stone Inspired: A Story of Love and Creative Inspiration

By Maria Chatzi

Photo by Maria ChatziI don’t know how you arrived at this page. Whether your journey to your present day creative life has been a long one, or you are just at the start, I would like to tell you a story of Love and Creative Inspiration. It could be very much like your own or it may be a sign leading you to the direction of a new creative adventure.

It all started the day I found a pink quartzite pebble, on a day trip with my family. It was a beauty! Rounded and smooth, medium-sized, with dreamy shades of pink, shaped by nature like a top expert’s oval cabochon stone, fit to make a pendant for a princess! Pink was never one of my favorite colors, not even when I was a little girl — I’ve always preferred blues and purples. But I felt there was some kind of magnetic power within this pink stone that wouldn’t let me take my eyes off it.

I was so charmed that I couldn’t help but revisit the place. “If there was one little quartzite stone there should be others too,” I thought. And indeed there were. But not only pink ones — there were quartzite pebbles of a variety of colors. I’ve picked five or six of them and held them lovingly in my palm. Drawn by instinct, my other hand covered the pebbles as if I wanted to protect a recently discovered ancient treasure. I felt an urge to run home and learn as much as I could about rocks — and so I did. I read anything that I found online and offline (in libraries and bookstores) for months.

The more I studied and the more I learnt about beach rocks and pebbles, the more I adored them, the heavier the pebbles seemed to weigh in my palm when I picked them up and the brighter their colors looked when lifted to the sunlight. And it wasn’t only the beautifully colored or the uniquely shaped or the interestingly textured pebbles I was drawn to.

Half a year later, I found myself brainstorming ways to include rocks and pebbles in my plans for the future. Creative ideas of what to do with this magnificent, newly-found toy started popping up in my head. A new hobby? Perhaps a small business? Or maybe fundraising activities for charities? Anything in relevance to community work? I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, but I was willing to wait till the perfect idea struck me and I did know I had to relate beach stones to my creative nature and my definition of success and happiness.

With time, there was no such thing as an ugly unworthy beach stone for me — I saw the beauty in them all, loved them all with their faults and imperfections and they were all worthy of my attention. I talked to them as if they could feel and understand. I could hear them talking to me too — I listened to the stories they had to tell. I closed my eyes at nights and my imagination made up shapes, textures and color combinations of pebbles and rocks in my dreams. I begged for stormy nights and all trips I looked forward to were to some pebbly and rocky beaches — there was no better way I could possibly spend my weekends. My camera became my best companion. And when the trip was over, and I had to walk away from the beach taking the road back home, there was always a sad feeling I would miss my beloved beach stones, but there was also always a plan and promise to return, as they would return to me too with the dancing waves. Very few people could understand my passion for pebbly beaches but that didn’t matter at all.

Art on rocks photo by Maria ChatziBeach rocks and pebbles changed my concept of the world I lived in as if there was some magic inside them that awakened my spirit. Very soon I realized what that magic was. It was the fact that pebbles and rocks in my country had been formed thousands (and, in some cases, millions) of years ago by volcanic eruptions. By some divine power watching over me, I had been offered the opportunity and the honor to discover and appreciate some precious, small pieces of our earth’s geological history! I’ve given beach pebbles my true love and what I got back was liberating — a sense of tranquility and fulfillment. Now I needed to grow, move ahead and achieve more with them. I needed to find a creative way to share the love, the feelings, the realization and the magic with the whole world — because “belonging” to it was what beach rocks and pebbles had taught me.

Then, one day, I stumbled upon Creativity Portal. From the very first visit I had the feeling this high quality, inspiring website was created for me — selfish, I know, but that’s how I felt. It seemed as though the same divine power that had revealed the magnificence of rocks and beach pebbles to me had now lead me here to find the answer to my quest. I bought myself a large spiral notebook, like the ones I used to have at University and kept notes like a student. I absorbed, like a sponge, all the information offered free on its pages. Searching the site’s content, I realized that it was practical and useful to creative souls of all ages and skill levels — one of the best places to explore, to learn, to share, to belong.

I revisited Creativity Portal numerous times until the idea hit me. I was going to create a simple, small website of my own, not standing out for its great design but for the dream to get people creatively inspired with beach rocks and pebbles. I knew it was going to be hard work and challenging and that it would take me a long time — but I was willing to put in the effort and convinced that time spent to inspire love for a part of our natural world and enthusiasm for creativity was time spent well.

I cannot imagine my life without being creative with rocks and pebbles. They are my pampered children, my appreciated friends, my honored teachers, my healing companions, my precious inspiration, my unique and amazing treasure. Go to the beach for a day, look at the stones closely, listen to the song sung by the waves and the rocks carefully, feel the healing power of some soft and rounded pebbles. Perhaps a new story, your story of love and creative inspiration is to be born. •

© 2012 Maria Chatzi. All rights reserved.