Ways to Give Back with Creativity (How to Create with Purpose)

You were created to create. It’s one of the things I believe with my whole heart – that we were made in the image of our Creator. Because of this, we have a soul-deep need to be creative. It’s a gift that we’ve all been given and one that we should feel good about using. In this post, I want to help you discover your creative purpose. And to share with you the stories of people who have embraced their creativity and used it to help others.

And because I’m so grateful to have experienced this, I’d like to give you the Create with Purpose Workbook for Discovering Your Creative Purpose to help you experience it too.

This is post and freebie are part of my attitude of gratitude this November. I’ll also be adding stories each week for the next several weeks. SO be sure to stop back for more inspiration!

Live Inspired

When I first started Well Crafted Studio, it was with the desire to encourage people to live inspired. To create every day, and to create with purpose.

Embrace your creativity, and don’t keep it for the weekends.

Do something creative every day. Whether it’s something small like adding sprinkles to your pancakes, or something big like learning to knit. Search out creative ideas on Pinterest, magazines, or your local handmade gift shop.

My plan for inspiring you to create includes teaching and encouraging you to craft.

Being creative makes us feel good, and challenges us in a really good way.

Create with Purpose

The next step once you start to embrace your creativity is to see that you can create with purpose.

I know that’s a big leap for people, you may think what you make is just a hobby. Or maybe you say “I just copy things”* and think that’s not good enough. Or maybe you’re a retiree or mom who’s just started to make time for creating again.

Create with Purpose: Use your gifts to make a difference in the life of someone else.

*If this is you- read this post on how copying can jumpstart your creativity.

Start with What You Have and Where You Are

I know, because that’s my story. I have more in the About section of this blog, but I went from feeling frustrated that I couldn’t do anything to having a blog, magazine features, and a book. Which gave me the courage to accept a job as a creative director for a non-profit creativity ministry. Which has led to teaching engagements and this blog.

Literally, from staring at a sheet of paper feeling completely uninspired to creating projects that women in Peru were used to craft a better life for their families. God can do that in your life too.

He can use you. No matter what your skills and gifts- they’re enough.

Experience/Skills + Interests/Dreams + Opportunity + Passion= Creative Purpose

One way to try to discover what you can do is to look at your past experiences and skills, your interests and dreams, as well as opportunities you may see.

I have a new free workbook to help you nail these down- but I want to also give some real-life examples of how others have done this.

free create with purpose workbook
Download the PDF Workbook Free!

Stories of Every Day People Creating with Purpose

So in November, as a way to celebrate a feeling of gratitude, I want to share stories about some of the people I know who are living their creative purpose. I’ll be adding to the blog post weekly, with a new story. So be sure to come back to read more!

Embracing Change and Creating with Purpose- Karen Lentz

You’re going to LOVE this story!

I’ve been so excited to bring you Karen’s story. Almost a year ago we met when she sent me an email thanking me for inspiring her. Of course, I’m the one who’s been inspired by our friendship.

She said didn’t consider herself creative (more on that below) and came across in the email as a little bit shocked that she was able to make something that cool. But she also shared how being creative helped her find herself again after she was forced by Covid to discontinue her hospice work. I LOVED hearing that (and totally cried).

Since then Karen has shown more creativity than almost anyone I know, but even better- she’s found ways to use her creativity to help people in her community.

Honestly, I’m a little bit in awe of her, and SO grateful I got to be part of her journey!!!

AND (more than anyone that I’ve profiled so far), Karen is one of you, and I love how she answered the questions. So rather than paraphrase this time, I’m going to let you be inspired by Karen’s own words.

Experience/Skills:

“Growing up with a mother that is a phenomenal crafter, I had lots of opportunities to develop my creative skills. Despite my mom’s many attempts to entice me to create with her, my tomboy nature just wasn’t interested. I like to think that even if I wasn’t actively participating, I was still learning the benefits of creating by observing from afar.” 

“As a Mathematician and Computer Programmer in adulthood, I always felt like I was all “left brained” and had no artistic or creative genes. About 6 or 7 years ago a friend dragged me to one of those painting classes where you sip on wine and follow along with the instructor. My friend and I would joke about how it takes me so long because I approach it analytically and try to achieve perfection. I thought that maybe I just couldn’t turn that side of me off and it would be a detriment to my creativity. After dozens of classes and partaking in many new crafting endeavors I now see my analytical nature as an asset because it often leads me to think outside of the box and try things that others with more creative experience wouldn’t think to try.”

How Karen Stays Creative:

“My husband likes to joke that as a retired crafter I’m busier than I ever was when I was climbing the corporate ladder.  Recently, my favorite creative activities are engraving, making 3D card stock projects and greeting cards, and sublimation. I’m also learning Procreate to really stretch my creativity and create my own designs. I also love kids crafts so I’m always coming up with excuses to have all the littles in my life over for some craft time. I have found that I really enjoy teaching and helping others create so working with kiddos really feeds that, but I also enjoy hosting adult creative get togethers at my she-shed while I’m in WI. It’s great to see the look on someone’s face when they create something they never thought they could accomplish.”

Opportunity:

“When I retired about a year and a half ago, I ended up feeling like I had lost all purpose. My identity was so wrapped up in my career that I didn’t know who I was anymore. I needed to find a way that I could feel I was contributing to something. Luckily, there are always a lot of organizations in need of contributions. I’m lucky to now have multiple organizations that I work with on a regular basis. I found each of them through attending events that the organizations were hosting. Many of the events I found listed online through Facebook or local activity/news sites. When I attend an event for a new organization, I love to talk to current volunteers to hear about their passion for the organization’s mission. It’s a great way to learn about an organization’s mission, how you can contribute, and if it feels like a good fit! I found the two organizations I am most involved with at fun activities… a Beer Tasting, and a Comedy Show!”

“I also like to watch for local one-time fundraisers to help someone or a family through one of life’s many challenges. I used to be afraid to just blindly reach out and ask if they were looking for donations. I was worried they wouldn’t be interested in my offerings. I now know, it never hurts to ask. The worst thing that could happen is they say no. And even in those cases, that no often comes with a suggestion of a different event that might be a better fit.”

Passion:

“I have found that I get energized most by creating in a way that allows me to make a difference in something I’m very passionate about. For me, that is working to help people that we, as a society, don’t always do the best to care for. Hospice patients, veterans, and children in foster care are my main passions. It breaks my heart to hear when some of the simplest and most basic needs are not being met because of a lack of resources or people.  I feel that my life experiences have uniquely positioned me to understand the needs of these groups and find opportunities to make a difference.”

How She Creates with Purpose:

  • Make greeting cards and other decorations that I donate to a local hospice organization to distribute to patients. This is my favorite!!! Nursing homes and hospice organizations are always looking for ways to brighten a patient’s (or their family’s) day. You don’t have to have a huge inventory and this is a great way to build up your confidence in your creations if you are not ready to have them sold, auctioned, or raffled.
Handmade Cards and Decorations
  • Make gift baskets for children of service workers that you know.
Themed Baskets Make Holiday’s Special!
  • Host fundraising events where I raffle off baskets filled with my creations and other items.
Auction Baskets Filled with Creative Treats!
  • Create rescue themed engraved signs for an online auction that raises funds for a different rescue organization every other week.
Engraved Auction Donations
  • Host children craft activities where all of the proceeds go to a specific charity.
Handmade Ornaments!
  • Making all kinds of ornaments for an upcoming craft fair (engraved metal & acrylic, wooden, and card stock). An organization I work with that provides service companion dogs to Veterans and First Responders is going be a vendor at the craft fair where all the proceeds from selling the handmade items go to the organization.
Engraved Canning Jar Ornaments!
Designs are in Cricut Design Space!
  • Sell hand made greeting cards online (to friends and family) with all proceeds going to hospice.
  • Making little craft kits for children that will allow children in need to be able to create something  and enjoy the blessings of being able to give a gift to someone.

So there are some AMAZING ideas and I hope that it inspires ways that you can create with purpose too!


An At-Home Artist Who Goes Where Needed- Jen St. Cyr

Experience/Skills: My friend Jen is an every-opportunist artist, and will do what she can and go where she needs to go to be creative. The mom of 3 (with a new puppy). She can solder jewelry, make crafts of all kinds, metal stamp, make kids’ crafts, and she’s awesome at a pottery wheel or hand-building clay.

How Jen Stays Creative: Weekly classes at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, as well as playdates with her artist friends, keep Jen busy. That and the new puppy…

A free spirit (living the mom life) Jen purposefully supports art education because it fills your soul.

She says that she “struggles with depression and the art center is a place where she can be her authentic self and be comfortable, and encouraged and complimented. Through my struggles throughout the corona I realized how much a creative release could be a lifeline to me and wanted to donate to a scholarship so someone like me could also grab hold of that lifeline.”

Opportunity: Jen is great at developing relationships and stepping up to help. She recommends you listen to your heart and just reach out when you see a place you could be of help. When you volunteer commit to doing it several times, and work with an organization. She says that right now there is a need locally in MN at Treehouse ministries. And when you donate your art, she suggests that you let someone else set the prices and then don’t look. Great advice!

Passion: Jen has a passion for sharing art with kids and will tell you that art is GREAT for your mental health. Over covid, she started a series of mental health monsters. She says they love you so much they want to eat you up and she’s been giving them away. I kind of love mine!!!!

How She Creates with Purpose: Here are some ways that Jen uses her creativity to help others…

  • When her daughter was in middle school she co-led an afterschool art club with the art teacher.
  • For 6 years she taught a weekly drop-in art class for children and teens at the Hope Center, a community center built by Mobile Hope Ministries.
  • Jen donates some of her ceramics for sale and money goes to the scholarship fund at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts. Last month she hosted a lunch at the art center and donated all the centerpiece sales to the scholarship fund as well.
  • She gifts art to anyone she knows who is struggling, and could use someone to show they care. I love this about her!
  • And this last one isn’t really creating with purpose- but Jen is the best supporter of others art that I know. Going to an art fair or open studio event with her is an experience because she knows so many of the artists personally.

Creative In and Out of the Classroom- Bob and Linda Bergan

Two Retired Teachers- Using Their Creative Gifts to Improve Kids Lives Locally and Globally.

Full disclosure this is my mom and dad. But they’ve been the two people that have inspired me the most in my journey as an artist and crafter.

Experience/Skills: Both Bob and Linda are retired teachers. Bob taught Industrial Arts to high schoolers and Linda was a first and second-grade teacher at a small Christian school. She also sold crafts at some huge community Christmas craft shows in the 80’s.

How They Stay Creative: The teachers have become the students! A couple of years ago they started to take painting classes together at a local art center. Now they each have an easel set up wherever they’re staying. They also love to travel and go to art and craft shows, outdoor markets, and art museums. Mom has always loved getting ideas from magazines too.

Opportunity: Shortly before he retired, Bob met a local woman who had started to sponsor Mercy Orphanages in India. This led him to take 3 trips to India where he worked with kids at the orphanages and helped with programs that supported widows, and lepers. It showed him extreme need and I could see the passion to help become a calling to create.

Linda had already started to pick up art classes for other teachers, and once they moved out of the cities she connected with a former colleague who was teaching locally.

Passion: Both Bob and Linda love kids. It’s knowing there are kids in need that inspires Bob to act. Linda gets filled up when she gets to teach, inspire and encourage creative self-expression in her students.

How They Create with Purpose: To raise money for Mercy Orphanages Bob uses his woodworking skills to make products to sell at Art 2 Heart, a non-profit gift shop with a great mission. He’s always up for taking a table (or three) at a local craft show. Really, he’ll sell anywhere because each dollar he raises he donates and he KNOWS that every little bit makes a huge difference.

craft show booth
Just a few tables set up between services at church- it can be that simple!

Linda is teaching art classes as a volunteer at the local Christian school. She loves getting to plan a curriculum that draws on her travels. A few years ago we went to Arles, France, and took a workshop on Van Gogh’s art. This fall she’s using that class as inspiration to teach kids to do self-portraits based on Van Gogh’s. She shares her love to teach, her interest in art, and her passion to help kids grow in their creativity.

Explore your creative interests! A painting workshop on Van Gogh.

It fills her up and gives her purpose. She also takes every opportunity to craft with her grandkids and me! Recently, she learned to use a Cricut and is really loves the layered mandalas and shadowboxes.

Challenges: Mom struggles with macular degeneration and can’t drive anymore, so she’s currently roping my aunt into co-teaching so she can continue to volunteer. And a cool side note of the vision loss is that she’ll often take photos and blow them up so she can see details- because of this she’s now taking the coolest photos.


More Stories About Giving Back with Creativity Coming Up

How one person went from thinking she wasn’t creative to being brave enough to donate her art to rescue missions and charity fundraisers in her community. How a stay-at-home mom brings art classes to disadvantaged kids in her community. And how someone went from selling decorated silverware to starting a creativity ministry that’s given away hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You can also check out this article on The Many Rewarding Ways Artist Can Give Back for more ideas. AND let me know your ideas too! I’ll start a list.


Discover Your Creative Purpose

I don’t care if you’re an accountant with the most type-A left brain ever. You were made to create. Some of the most amazing artists had scientific minds. And it doesn’t matter how you express your creativity- you could be a baker, crafter, gardener, writer, or engineer.

Just know that you were designed to build something, to design something, to craft something.


Free Create with Purpose Workbook PDF

What experiences have you had? What skills do you own? What dreams or interests do you have?

These are all key to your creative purpose. Download this workbook FREE from my Freebies Library. Just subscribe with your email for the password to this and more!


For More Inspiration

Already creating to sell or donate? I have posted on how to develop something unique, how to brainstorm creative ideas, and how to spot trends to use them.

You can also check out my Crafty Business section here on my blog!


Love this? Share it!

If you found this post helpful or inspiring please think about sharing it on social media! And thanks for being here, and being interested in using your creative gifts to make a difference.

Thanks for Reading,

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2 thoughts on “Ways to Give Back with Creativity (How to Create with Purpose)”

  1. I follow the links and can not seem to find the workbook, just two files of stickers. Am I looking in the wrong place?

    1. Hi Robin! Did you find it? I screwed up and forgot to add it until later last night. But maybe you saw my “oops” email.😳 Thanks for asking about it though. I hope that you like it!❤️

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