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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: The Pollantir:
How creative are Tolkien aficionados?
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Poll: How creative are Tolkien aficionados?
My hobby/vocation is painting
Artwork in a medium other than paint
Cartoons or comics
Writing -- fiction or nonfiction
Writing poetry
Writing songs
Needlework (including knitting/crocheting)
Paper crafts
Other (please specify)
Tolkien is my muse! ALL of my projects reflect my passion for Middle-earth
SOME of my projects
Nah, no JRR Tolkien but I am inspired by other fan interests
Nope -- no muses, just do my own thing
No, not creative at all
View Results (194 votes)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 8 2013, 1:36pm

Post #1 of 33 (1267 views)
How creative are Tolkien aficionados? Can't Post

Are imagination and creativity inextricably linked? It goes w/o saying those with a creative bent must possess at least a modicum of imagination, but is the reverse also true? My brother thoroughly enjoys Tolkien and other fantasy works yet doesn't appear to have a creative bone in his body. So, suspension of disbelief and imagination -- two sides of the same coin or completely independent of each other? And if you are creative, how do you choose to express yourself? Please help me in my investigation by voting in the poll below. Thanks!

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Nov 8 2013, 6:41pm)


Nov 8 2013, 2:33pm

Post #2 of 33 (923 views)
Interesting poll Grey Elf... [In reply to] Can't Post

It will be good to see how it develops. So far, a number of us have said that we write, but I know there are many more talented people in a wide range of artistic fields
Thank you for starting thisSmile

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 8 2013, 3:08pm

Post #3 of 33 (921 views)
You're welcome, elaen, and thanks for voting! // [In reply to] Can't Post



Nov 8 2013, 3:50pm

Post #4 of 33 (915 views)
Very cool poll Grey Elf! [In reply to] Can't Post

Words are my medium these day, though I checked "other" as well, which would be fixing problems Macguyver-style (which can get very creative.) Laugh

I think in general our fellowship here is a talented bunch; I am endlessly delighted with their thoughts (see the TAS for a great example) and their expressiveness. Among book fans a sense of word rhythm and appreciation for phrasing perhaps?

Certainly we also have a lot of visually talented folks too...I see your brother's example, but I do wonder if there has to be some grain of whimsy and flair for the fantastic internally present beyond just suspending disbelief in enjoying this kind (and others kinds) of fantasy, even if it is passive.

Werde Spinner

Nov 8 2013, 3:54pm

Post #5 of 33 (920 views)
Hmm, well, let's see... [In reply to] Can't Post

I was writing stories and drawing pictures (colored pencils, not really any paint for me... it's too messy!) years before I got my hot little hands on LOTR for the first time, so I'm not sure what that means. However, I do enjoy fantasy the most out of all literature genres (although I like me a bit of historical fiction, too - and also straight up history, when it's well-written).

Sadly, most of my creative output (drawing, writing, occasional cross-stitch) does not reflect Middle-earth at all. I definitely count J. R. R. Tolkien as an inspiration to me, but he didn't inspire me to go do stuff for the giant Middle-earth playground he created. He inspired me to go write about a fictional world of my own, and *that's* what absorbs most of my attention.

Oddly enough, my brother is a bit of the same way. He shares most of my fandoms - he's read LOTR, Percy Jackson, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ranger's Apprentice, and so on and so on - and yet he doesn't do much in the way of creativity. He's drawn an occasional picture of Star Wars droids fighting clone troopers and things, but that's about as far as it goes. Maybe it's a guy thing. Crazy I wouldn't know.


Nov 8 2013, 4:13pm

Post #6 of 33 (917 views)
well, I make my living as a writer [In reply to] Can't Post

Nonfiction, but I've got an idea for a fantasy novel that I'll get to after I finish my current book. And I provide writing advice to both nonfiction and fiction writers.

I do a lot of free-form embroidery using both silk thread and beads. I've been known to add ribbons and odd pieces of jewelry too. It's the perfect right-brain antidote for writing.

I also checked "other" because I garden a lot, and agree with the sentiment that "Gardening is the slowest performance art." Gardens are living 3D paintings for me - I plan them so that one sees a beautiful picture from any angle.

You didn't include music, but I know many of us are also musicians - we've joked about how we could put together a TORn choir and marching band. I've sung in choirs most of my life & also sing as a solo performer.

This is what I say when people tell me that people who read fantasy/sci-fi should "get a life." (I also add that I volunteer at my local animal shelter and do a lot of outdoor activities . . . so what part of "life" am I missing out on, exactly?)

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 8 2013, 4:28pm

Post #7 of 33 (915 views)
Well, I did include writing songs [In reply to] Can't Post

And considered adding playing an instrument, but if you're following someone else's music rather than something you wrote yourself, that qualifies as artistry, in my book, but not necessarily creativity. It's a debatable point. If you disagree with me, feel free to check the "Other" option. Smile

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 8 2013, 4:38pm

Post #8 of 33 (901 views)
NOTE: I originally had "photography" and "filmmaking" as options [In reply to] Can't Post

Then just when I was finishing up, I accidentally switched screens and lost the whole Fangorn thing! Oh, the hazards of drafting a poll before you're fully awake Mad. It appears I left off some of my original choices when I attempted to replicate the poll. Mea culpa!! Excuse me while I go see if an admin can fix it. (Exit left.)


Nov 8 2013, 6:24pm

Post #9 of 33 (899 views)
*stutters nervously* W-Well, I... do write fanfictions and draw the Shire a lot... [In reply to] Can't Post

Blush T-They're not very good though.

Dame Ioreth
Tol Eressea

Nov 8 2013, 9:47pm

Post #10 of 33 (906 views)
Performance is very creative [In reply to] Can't Post

You only have to listen to the many different interpretations of a single musical work to hear that.

For example, I love Simon and Garfunkel's performance of Scarborough Faire. They wrote the music and lyrics and have been performing it for decades. It's beautiful Every. Single. Time.

Then I heard a female trio called Sirena sing it at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. The same song, put in context with the rest of their music (A recreation of the Sirens of Greek mythology and absolutely spellbinding) gave this very familiar song a different flavor. Sirena - Scarborough Faire By the end of this performance there were many in the audience who would gladly have made them a cambric shirt with no seams or needlework! (The video does not do justice to the performance.)

Performance is art and is creative because every single time they create something new. It has to be because we are not robots. Listen to someone reading a book on tape and you will hear he different thoughts and feelings of the performer, molding the words into new interpretations.
(RA fan alert - reading Venetia I had this on in my car on a long drive and almost drove off the road.)

Ahem, so yeah, performance of someone else's words or music *is* creative!

The Grey Elf
Grey Havens

Nov 8 2013, 10:09pm

Post #11 of 33 (884 views)
Well when you put it that way, DI, [In reply to] Can't Post

I would agree Wink. I stand corrected!


Nov 8 2013, 10:16pm

Post #12 of 33 (888 views)
creative action is my catharsis [In reply to] Can't Post

I am extremely emotional and extremely sensitive. I get reactions ranging from taking me as totally cold and robot-like to totally out of control emotionally. Basically, the only "acceptable" way for me to deal with intense feelings that I have found is through creative expression - and all my creative energy gets channeled into artistic efforts because I'm kind of single and not looking so to speak.

I haven't mastered these different things yet and I guess I use them more so in a personal way while keeping a regular day job (teaching - also highly creative) so ... I am not sure I should ever quit that day job.

  • inventing
  • jewelry (beading, wire work, and some soldiering)
  • home decorating (including handmade bits)
  • hand sewing (costumes and curtains and barbie doll clothes ...)
  • drawing
  • painting
  • game making
  • poetry (and writing new lyrics to songs)
  • comics / cartoons
  • other forms of writing (I have trouble with sustained efforts like novels because so much of what I do channels that emotional wave - which inevitably changes between getting up and sitting back down again to write something longish - I am really trying, though)
  • math (the abstract side that involves proofs and figuring out things no one has thought of yet)
  • photography
  • home movies
  • Game Mastering
  • carving (usually wax)
  • live action role play
  • throwing together short skits
  • other things like paper mache and making greeting cards and cutting out snowflakes ... there is probably a long list that I am forgetting - I often give handmade gifts which can take many different forms


Nov 8 2013, 11:14pm

Post #13 of 33 (888 views)
Wow that is really impressive, Escapist. [In reply to] Can't Post

I wish I could come up with ideas to release my total emotion - I need inspiration behind my drawings (like most artists) but I strive for trying to be better in arts - my writing is not too bad because I let the words speak for themselves...

Getting off the subject. Good on you, Escapist! Wink


Nov 8 2013, 11:45pm

Post #14 of 33 (881 views)
I agree! [In reply to] Can't Post

A computer can play a musical piece for you as written, but can it "put the song across"? I don't THINK so! A huge part of musicianship is interpretation . . . and that's called artistry.

For example:

(This post was edited by Annael on Nov 8 2013, 11:48pm)


Nov 9 2013, 12:19am

Post #15 of 33 (866 views)
Interesting topic! [In reply to] Can't Post

Well I have done quite a bit of painting in the past ( mostly oils with a few water colors spread around) but not of Tolkien's work exactly. I have done a few portraits of horses ( who would have guessed?Wink) which could have passed for Shadowfax and some of my landscapes look a bit like Hollin and the Shire. But I have been rather busy with my animals lately and have not had a lot of free time to devote to painting.


Nov 9 2013, 3:27am

Post #16 of 33 (855 views)
I'd be willing to guess [In reply to] Can't Post

that developing skill in the arts as you say would lead to far more consistent work and make it easier to finish things. I've always been about the business of trying to get, keep, and maintain a day-job so I never really put official or professional effort into such things. I think that part of using it so selfishly is that there is significant chafing at criticism and just sharing with others in general ... I have a long way to go. I am thinking that this is something I could potentially work on during summer vacations? (as a long-term life bucket list plan)

That emotional driving inspiration is a double-edged sword! When it hits then I can tell a major difference in the quality of my work but then when I lose it, well ... yeah ... something lacks! And then if I start something in one vein of emotion, I just have the hardest time picking it up again if I don't have the same feeling ... the tendency is to start over ...
On the other hand, there are times when I have an extreme emotion that I just can't talk to anyone about and when that happens I find that drawing or making a cartoon or poem about it does wonders to make me feel better and I end up with something cool and even a little bit scary at times. It makes a nice snapshot of a state of feeling that I may not be in anymore but can still recognize clearly when I look at it again. This is great for poetry and sketches or things like jewelry where the creative part comes in a design sketch followed by careful labor after. But creative writing takes a more sustained inspiration, I am finding. I think I can get to the point where I can do that but don't feel there yet.

Emotion like this is certainly not the only inspiration but for me it has become the most overwhelming inspiration. It creates a "create or die" dynamic in me at times that is sure to pump out something in spite of any amount of distractions or busy-ness. Wrapped up in that is emotional reactions to other peoples' work and that includes Tolkien as well as others. I have been trying to purge that stuff, though. I don't like the way it complicates things. I've gotten pretty clean of it lately but it took some work and time to really separate things out.

Your comment about letting the words speak for themselves sounds interesting - something to think about.


Nov 9 2013, 5:09am

Post #17 of 33 (839 views)
Hi, I did your Poll [In reply to] Can't Post

I love being creative. I have done a lot of art work in the past, mostly horse portraits and botanical, my favorite tool is pastel pencils, which allow you to create very fine details but with lovely tones and blends, I'm not that good with paints. I love doing cartooning also and I used to part of a cartoon association.

I love creative writting, I have so many stories I want to write and it has only been since I located to tasmania that I am able to concentrate to write one. I have been working on a fantasy for some time now. It is very involved and needs a background rich in history, myth and legands and an entire new created mythology. Along with the writing I have to develop all the art work to help express the characters, civilizations etc etc. I am basically creating it for myself, but If I could get it published one day, then that would be great,I really do not know how good of a writer I am until others have read it, although friends have loved what little I have shown them. It would be good to be able to share it with the world one day, Thats if I ever get it finnished. Crazy

So has Tolkien inspired me to write a fantasy? Yes and No. Before I read Tolkien I was always writing stories at school about elves and fairies and far away fantasy kingdom and dragons, just as before Harry Potter I was writing about witches and wizards. But these stories have definitely inspired me and I read them because they were a subject I loved.

I have a friend who is very creative with fantasy art work yet does not like watching a fantasy film and will not read any book. I know another person who loves fantasy films and books, but has no interest in drawing or writing.

I am very inspired by the set decorations in movies like LOTR, Hobbit and HP. I love tapestries, castles, paintings etc. They have inspired me to take up leadlighting and copper foiling myself. I would love to do wrought iron work too!

Tol Eressea

Nov 9 2013, 5:13am

Post #18 of 33 (852 views)
For me [In reply to] Can't Post

Creativity strikes unexpectedly, then often disappears just as unexpectedly. Tongue My most consistent creative outlets are photography and writing (mostly journaling), but I've been inspired to paint, draw cartoons, and write poetry at various times in my past.

As for your brother, Grey Elf, he may surprise you. I never thought before trying painting, cartooning, or poetry that I'd ever attempt such things, but there were circumstances that inspired me at the time. So maybe your brother will one day be inspired by something that sparks his creative side. Smile

And may I just add that sometimes life provides many opportunities to be creative in everyday sorts of ways. I think of it as creative problem solving. I've been doing a lot of that lately. Smile

(This post was edited by zarabia on Nov 9 2013, 5:20am)

Tol Eressea

Nov 9 2013, 5:15am

Post #19 of 33 (852 views)
Excellent examples :) // [In reply to] Can't Post



Nov 9 2013, 8:37am

Post #20 of 33 (845 views)
I'm sure you'll reach your "destination (as it were)" eventually [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
I have a long way to go

Don't give up - keep going!

On the matter of emotions, I do see your point that sometimes the emotions "get in the way" and you do not produce the best quality of work as you would have done if you were in the "normal (I know there's no such thing as normal but you know what I mean)" zone. You do have good points there.

I really like to do fanfictions because I like to write in first person (I, me, myself) and I can vividly picture where I am (Middle-Earth) and who I am with (at the moment I'm doing a lot of Thorin stories - but I think I have to re-edit it some more)...
I find that in real life, eye contact produces the most words I have ever known - even though someone does not say something you can tell they are trying to (did someone not even say the eyes were windows to the soul?).


Nov 9 2013, 4:04pm

Post #21 of 33 (846 views)
I live a highly creative life [In reply to] Can't Post

I chose (vote wise) doll making, paper craft, and some of my projects are Tolkien inspired.

I haven't made any dolls recently but there was a time when I made lots. Most were cloth, folk dolls - some clothespin dolls (based on Robin Hood characters and a Scottish couple) and I did a large number of 'flower fairy' dolls. You can see my May Day series (and a few others) here:

I also have, over the years, done a LOT of origami (and origami based gift items) and a series of 'cards' that involved my fastening natural items onto a backing. You can see a example here:
I don't know if those are technically paper crafts but it's cardmaking and that could get grouped with paper crafts. Additionally, I've done - at times - lots of crepe paper flowers, cut paper snowflakes and watercolor bookmarks.

I do a lot of odds and ends of crafts. Here's an example of of some I've made the last few years:

Lately, most of the creative work I do is really in the category of 'graphic design'. I have done some of my own art. But I'm more driven to produce objects that involve creative composition and formatting of text and/or images. Some of these are physical products. Some are digital.

Most of these do not incorporate my own artwork - although some involve my digitally altering found images. I don't do it for profit and I tend not to overly promote the work I do so I don't have a problem just grabbing images where I find them. But I try, when I can, to credit where I find them.

Over the years I've done:
solstice cards, 'gift card' cards, birthday cards, etc. - There were all printed out for giving
haiku/poetry inspired wallpapers and small digital cards
CD covers for Sound and Spirit
Tolkien Quote Cards - these were originally created to be printed out but lately, I just share them digitally.
Tolkien Computer Calendar strips NOTE - these were not updated for the last half of 2013 - link for showing example only

I have done some original art but not a lot. And I'm working on gifts using the artwork so I'm not going to link to any at the moment. :-)


Nov 9 2013, 9:29pm

Post #22 of 33 (821 views)
i'd suggest... [In reply to] Can't Post


... adding singing to the list.

to paraphrase a poster upthread, a computer can't put a song across.

to which i'll add... one's voice is just as much an instrument as the violin, piano, or trombone. or cowbell.



Nov 9 2013, 10:38pm

Post #23 of 33 (804 views)
Sculpting [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to love doing pottery as a child with my mum - last did it about 2 months ago, was real good fun.

When i was a child i also made loads of things from lego or mechano, built dens in the woods and made instruments out of household objects, tried my hand at making them with my dad properly - made a guitar once.

I have a creative job now (imo) which i would say most closely could be said to be sculpting/art. I love how it is something i do with my hands as well as my mind and it keeps me busy and out of trouble, lol.

As for the question of are imagination and creativity inextricably linked? Maybe. I am not sure. I know quite a few people who have incredible imaginations and yet are not creative - especially not in the sense of the list here. I would say my dad as an engineer is creative but it's a different creative to writing a song for example but he has never tried his hand at most the things in this list.

I think they are linked to an extent in that most who are creative have good imaginations (that spark of creativity comes from imagination possibly) but not all with good imaginations are creative (some are maybe happy to leave it at the imagined stage and never make it real).

Tol Eressea

Nov 10 2013, 12:22am

Post #24 of 33 (812 views)
I've written quite a few instrumental songs... [In reply to] Can't Post

Mostly rock stuff, but I also play some classical guitar, banjo, and mandolin (although I'm not really a country fan by any stretch). I don't write lyrics, although I've collaborated with people who've written lyrics to my music.

Fredeghar Wayfarer

Nov 10 2013, 9:52pm

Post #25 of 33 (778 views)
Another writer here [In reply to] Can't Post

Writing is my passion. I primarily write fantasy and sci-fi, so the influence of Professor Tolkien is apparent. My work tends to have a satirical sense of humor that toys with the old stereotypes. A bit like Tolkien by way of Douglas Adams.

I have written short stories and have also written scripts for independent comic book companies. For AC Comics, I write a feature called "Rowena" in their Femforce comic series. It's a fractured fairy tale about a gentle giantess who tries to live in peace with a village of humans while fending off knights, giant-slayers, dragons, goblins, evil sorcerers, and her own unruly giant family.

Here's a link to a recent issue with one of my stories: http://www.accomics.com/accentral/femforce-161/

I've also been doing a web-comic called The Green Goddess Inn about a tavern on the border between a human kingdom and faerie kingdom. Some of that company's other comics are a bit, er, adult-oriented, shall we say, so I hesitate to link to the site.

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