SPOTLIGHT | Gillian Hannah Berry


Gillian has been a powerful presence in my life.  Her integrity, her joy, her desire to go deep and her insatiable eye for beauty in nature and in fashion has a way of captivating anyone who knows her.  

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a designer, a grower, a writer, a beauty seeker, and an adventurer.

What role does creativity play in your life? 

Creativity gives me freedom and joy. It’s what brings me life. It gives a voice, a visual and a vessel to the things I feel led to communicate and share with others.  I like to capture and create beauty and share it with others so that they might be inspired and reflexively be given the permission to pursue what is in their own hearts.

What are you currently working on?

I have come to realize I have a trio of creative outlets that are all supporting of one another to uphold my creative fulfillment.  Fashion is a way for my creativity to express itself visually and sculpturally. I am currently working on a collection of women’s outerwear –coats specifically. Some are sculptural, others have clean lines. It’s been a lot of fun but a huge challenge as it’s the first time I am hoping to have the collection made into multiples to sell in the future.  Fashion can be a very intimate art form as you are making something for someone to literally put on themselves to embody the art you have created.  I want women to feel confident and inspired when they wear my designs.

I grow vegetable gardens, all through the year in the cold climate of Nova Scotia.  Gardening has been my solace in times of creative blockage and self-doubt.  Gardening gives me a peace that I do not get from my other work.  In some ways it is a spiritual practice that teaches me to be joyful and thankful for the abundance in my life, and what I was able to co create with the earth!  Last year I was harvesting cold tolerant lettuce varieties all winter long. These were grown underneath mini hoop tunnels that we built over my garden beds. 

And finally in the last 3 years I have gotten into writing a lot. I write poetry, and I am looking to find an outlet to share it with others very soon.  Writing is a way that I can communicate my ideas and feelings very directly and uninterrupted. It gives a voice to my creativity, and it also keeps mesane.  With some of my other creative outlets that involve a much longer process to completion, there is not an immediate relief and encouragement that comes from the output of creative energy. For me, when it comes to writing, there is this immediate relief and satisfaction. I’ve come to realize I need this trio in order to feel positive and like there is a healthy flow and balance to my creative expression. 

What was the last book/movie/podcast ect that left an impression on you?

The gifts of imperfections by Brene brown was the last book that left an impression on me.  She researches shame and vulnerability, and how overcoming shame and living a life where we allow ourselves to live fully present and be vulnerable in relationships with others is what guides us toward living a more wholehearted life.  What resonated with me most was how cultivating a sense of gratitude for the good things in our lives really positively shapes both our self-image and our relationships with others.  Brene brown really outlined to me areas I could improve in to live a more healthy and positive creative life that is well balanced. She talks about cultivating authenticity, self-compassion, resilience, gratitude, faith, creativity, play, rest, meaningful work, and laughter. She talks about how cultivating these key positive traits and practices in our lives, help us to live in a way that engages with others from a place of worthiness.  

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people? 

Advice I would give to other creatively driven people would be that I’d like to tell them not to compare themselves, and their accomplishments to others but I know they still will, because in today’s world it’s difficult not to. However, it is just not a fair thing to put yourself through. It’s so easy to stack everybody else’s accomplishments and lives so high and measure yourself as falling so far behind. It is not an accurate representation of the truth. Everybody feels the same way at some point in terms of not feeling good about where they are at. Everybody has different opportunity’s and advantages or disadvantages that make it easier or harder to end up where they are, so it’s never fair to measure your life next to someone else’s when all the variables are completely different. Instead try to remind yourself of the progress you have made, even if your progress is slow, because sometimes slow is the only manageable pace for the season you are in. seasons of progress and productivity come and go. The kinder and more gracious you are with yourself, the more confident you will be in what you have to offer the world creatively. I have found that seasons of productivity will come a lot easier when you are loving and respecting your inner artist in all its goodness as well as shortcomings. Another piece of advice would be If you feel stuck in some way, sometimes finding another creative outlet can support and jumpstart the area you felt stuck in.