Posts tagged creativity
SPOTLIGHT | June Zinck
June.zinck.spotlight.

Some people have a light that comes off of them.  June is one of these people.  We've only had the opportunity to 'in person' connect a handful of times, but every time I am struck by her joy, her passionate nature and her easy humour.  

How would you describe yourself?

 

Passionate, funny, loyal, creative, spiritual


What role does creativity play in your life?

I grew up in a household with a musician and a painter, so creativity was a central pillar for me then and continues now as an adult. I may not have skills matching my parents respective talents, but I value my time either playing and writing music, or doodling for fun! It brings a necessary balance to my life!


What are you currently working on?

I’m currently on the road, taking Neptune Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia to the Savoy theatre in Glace Bay, and I am starting work on the sound design for an upcoming production with Theatre Baddeck called Pocket Rocket.


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

I am transcribing interviews for a PhD student on the topic of social justice in our city, and I have learned more from those interviews than I expected!


What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

Always make the time for your creative outlet. It should always be a priority, cause that’s the thing that seems to drive us the most.

 

WORK | Writers Room
writers.room.byamygrace

This room has been a work in progress.  As a family, we call it "The Creative Room".  Personally, I call it "My writers room".  This is where I write, muse and make it all happen.

DESK

This desk was a labour of love for me.  I saved for two years to be able to afford it.  I saw it on Pinterest one day and promised myself that I would find a way to buy it.  I adore it's simplicity and it's ability to store my materials.

TROLLY

Another Pinterest find, I noticed that many bloggers were using this IKEA trolly for their art supplies.  IKEA was not yet in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the time so I again, had to set aside the money for shipping (which can be absolutely ridiculous considering the cost or sale of an item) Currently it holds all of Z's creative supplies I am okay with her having anytime access to. (markers etc are stored on shelf)

CHAIR

From IKEA.  My family blessed me recently this year with the perfect chair support.  Being that I have a unique desk, chairs have been hard to match with it.  This chair is perfect for my back, trendy, comfortable and has the adjustable height I need.

POSTERS

From the two shows I have written and produced.  Hanging them above my work space is a reminder that I have written impactful work, that I am capable of excelling and improving with each project and that it is worth the work it takes.  I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished and I think we should all aim to encourage one another in the dreams and visions we aspire to.  

ACCESSORIES

Twinkle lights, photos of my best friends, a hidden 'Peter Rabbit 'A'' from my mom, a vintage key, a soft mat for my feet, a compass for Grace, seasonal scented candle  are all elements that create an atmosphere for me that boost me, motivate me and embolden me,.  

 

flatly.amygrace
UPDATE | Celebrate Because You Did Something
celebrate.byamygrace

Part of my job as a writer is to be okay with the parts in-between. 

In truth, I am not the biggest fan of waiting.  Of editing, of asking, of risking.  Can't someone else do that for me?  

Maybe one day, I'll have a life where I can just sit and focus on the creation and let others deal with the 'making-it-have-a-life-off-the-page' stage, but for now, I have to be a leader in that process.  Which means facing fears and being okay with the waiting.

So I wrote a letter to myself over the application I am waiting to hear about.  Knowing I should have an answer soon, the anxiety is rising.  What will I do If I don't get the money I asked for to do this?  What will I do if I don't feel that the association I believe is my only chance, doesn't believe in me?  

And thats when I heard it.


You celebrate. 



You celebrate if you got the funding, and celebrate if you didn't.  Because in the end, it's not about where the funding comes from, it's about the fact that I did something.  I tried.  I put together the best proposal I could, and I know that what I have to offer is worthy despite the results.  

I celebrate either way.  Because I didn't just sit and wish, I got up and I risked failure and I risked disappointment.  

That is worth celebrating as much as any perceived success.

UPDATE | Courage & Creativity
courage.creativity.byamygrace

COURAGE


Any creative driven person knows that in order to be creative, one has to have a certain amount of courage.

Especially in the culture and society we live in today, we are only honoured in our work as creatives if we have done something spectacular and are known for it.   It can be daunting to take the time away from the other aspects of life to 'create', let alone try to tell ourselves and others that we have something worth saying/showing.

 

THE BATTLE

 

It's an unspoken truth amongst creatives that in order for us to create we must prepare and go into battle despite our fears in order to get to our creative inspiration.  Some days, this is easier than others.  Other days, this is an uphill battle  

Sounds dramatic, but it remains true.  

From a personal experience, I can say that if I am working on anything and making anything it means that my discipline and my courage are in full use. 
 

HOW?


IDENTIFY FEAR EXISTS

I acknowledge that fear wants to drive me and then I don't give it space to.  I say no to negative people, thinking, music anything that brings up dread and self-doubt.  I shut it down and focus on the calling. 

KNOW MY FLOW

I work when I know I am in my best energy.  For me, early morning and early evening.  If I am working, I block off time to transition from my other roles.  I cant simply go from handling a screaming toddler to writing my next best scene.  I have to allow my heart, spirit and mind to align themselves and this needs time.

STAY IN CONTACT WITH BOLSTERING PEOPLE

Whenever I am about to go into creative battle, I message my best friends.  I tell them I am about to battle and am going to accomplish these specific creative tasks and I know they are covering me with prayer, support and often send me those little emojis, words, images I needed.  And they do because they are warriors themselves. 

SET THE ATMOSPHERE

Atmosphere is one of my biggest motivators.  The right playlist the right beverage, the right outfit, lighting and I can sit keeping the creative oil burning for longer than my bladder wants to hold itself.

INSPIRATIONS

Surrounding myself with inspirations.  Media that is empowering, articles fo other women like me doing it, images from the internet that encapsulate a feeling I am trying to grasp.  The right desktop wallpaper... I find it everything that surrounds me.

 

STANDING MY GROUND



The truth is, when I am working on a project, I am highly suseptable to the negativity of others and the world around me.  I am working double time to quell that fear on my shoulder to have courage enough to write and when I feel that negative presence, be it a persons outlook, an expectation, passive aggressive behaviour, a negative article, facebook rants, or even just my own battle with resentment I will run in the other direction.  Figuratively and spiritually I see it as running and taking my imaginary pen in my hand and striking the ground and saying "NO!  I am capable.  I am strong, I can do this and I have a calling to do this and that negativity is not from the One who made me." 



It's like working double time, but what comes out of pressing in and pursuing the call is a strength and joy I absolutely need and want more of in my life.  That is why I stand my ground.  

 

 

SPOTLIGHT | Michelle Ethymiadis
Michelle.efthymiadis.byamygrace

I met Michelle years ago while in high school and have always loved her presence, sense of self and tenderness towards others.  I am thrilled to be able to see how life has evolved for both of us and share in the joy of our daughters.  Michelle has a beautiful way of encouraging others and I am so blessed to be getting to know her better as an adult. 

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a lover of nature, one who is energized by a breath of fresh air and the warmth of the sun. A lighthearted spirit who seeks joy and laughter wherever I go. A wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter. I find beauty and wonder in the simple things. A lover of story, curious to know others and discover truth. Seeking adventure without needing to go far. A disciple of Jesus, in whom I am made whole.

What role does creativity play in your life?

Creativity to me is a way of solving problems I may encounter, a way of using space and time to maximize productivity and resourcefulness. It’s a way of thinking that seeks new territory and a way of doing that doesn’t always fit the mold. In my work with children, creativity leads my planning, the activities and materials I facilitate in my program, and how I engage and expand their play.

What are you currently working on?

Currently I am working on my new business, The Owl Tree, which is a home-based childcare program for children aged 2-4 years. My passion for child development and my desire to contribute to our household income after my maternity leave, led me to this business creation. I seek to provide a space where little ones can engage in a play-based and child-directed environment in their own community. Although I have education and experience within this field, I have had to stretch myself in many ways to take on new challenges as a first time business owner.

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

A book that I read in the last year that left an impression on me was Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg. What I felt from this book was an encouragement to look creatively at your life, to not expect that the way things have always been done, have to be done the same way going forward. We can develop new ways of time management, create new business ideas and structures and engage in new methods of learning so that our passions and dreams can be followed and achieved. Although I didn’t relate to the corporate work style she discusses often within this book, I was inspired to go after the things that pull on my heart with more boldness and confidence.

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

I have a heart for those people in this world (myself included) who wouldn’t label themselves as “creatively driven”. Even in describing myself, I shy away from these words. Sometimes when we discuss creativity, it can be loaded with expectations, or even limiting to certain groups of people or activities. I truly believe that all people are creative, but their avenue to create vastly differs from one to the other. I want to encourage those that doubt their own ability to be creative, because chances are they have a creative skill being used already in their life and may not label it as so. Perhaps it’s in the kitchen, where you can peer into your day-before-grocery-shopping fridge and create a great meal. Or your ability to rearrange furniture to maximize the space you need in your living room. Creativity can drive you to find a way to save those few extra dollars for date night when planning out your budget. Appreciate your gift, call it creativity, and find a way to expand upon it and share it with others.

 

 

SPOTLIGHT | Christine Giles
spotlight.christine.giles.byamygrace

I have known Christine almost my entire life and throughout that time I have been in consistent awe of her creativity, her individuality and her abundance of love.  This woman has impacted my life in major ways and I credit her with passing on to me self-confidence, bravery, freedom to belt songs out because I have a voice and can use it, writing words on walls, and even just to let loose and think outside the box.  Christine continues to dig deep and create along the way.  I am THRILLED to share her words with you!

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as classically edgy.  I love wearing ultra short hairstyles, wearing chunky-bling jewelry and looking like no one else.  I love tattoo's you can't see, and being the cool mom who writes notes in lunches everyday.  I am lover, a supporter, a confrontation avoid-er, a survivor and a fighter.  

What role does creativity play in your life?

It plays a HUGE role in my life and I credit my creativity with saving my life.  I am able to think on my feet, I have a solution for everything.  I've succeeded in my career for unique ideas and creativity.  I am a super cool mom because I am creative, Best Halloween Costumes, homemade pencil cases, wicked teacher gifts, and tutus for every occasion fun lunches and Pinterest shaming birthday parties.

What are you currently working / focused on?

I am currently working on some birthday shirts, home reno's, and a matching dress for me and my daughter for an up coming wedding.  I love to use water color at night to relax which watching TV.  I just need to be doing something creative it is a great outlet especially for my mental health

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

'What the Health' on Netflix scared me and I didn't know what to buy in groceries for a week. 

What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

Creatively driven people need an outlet.  I suffer with a Mental Health Issues, this is the first time I am admitting it publicly. I need creativity in my life to relax and center me.  I get enjoyment and health from being creative.  Pick up the brush, grab the pen, dust off the sewing machine just let your creative juices flow.  You'll never be upset you did it. 

SPOTLIGHT | Gillian Hannah Berry
gillian.hannah.berry.spotlight.byamygrace

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. 

 

UPDATE | How to Start a Collective
Looking for inspiring notebooks after a meeting...

Looking for inspiring notebooks after a meeting...

I have begun to collaberate with a group of women on a potential project.  It means we meet together on an almost bi-weekly basis and come together with our skills.

It's quickly being revealed to me, that this collective process is a vulnerable one.  Where you have to relinquish your understanding of yourself into a group mentality and allow your thoughts to be witnessed by the whole.

So far I have learned:

 

Be Humble.
 

As much as we are all experts in our own fields, talents and previous experiences, coming together for a 'new' idea, requires the ability to set that aside and see what a 'collective' of these skills brings forth.

Be Open.

It's easy to be resistant to what we aren't good at, or perceive to be skills we don't have or aren't interested in.  Coming together often means being open to grow in new areas and taking on something we might not find easy or natural to us.

Be Imaginative.

Thinking outside the box and realizing that in the beginning stages anything can go.

Be Constructive.

It's important to bring constructive thoughts to the table.  Thinking and communicating in a way that brings unity, depth and understanding is important.  Especially in the beginning stages, how we interact and honour each other in ideas sets the tone.

Be Yourself.

Ultimately, be your glorious and unique self.  You wouldn't be at the table if you did not have your qualities and skills backing you up. A collective is about how each individual brings something to the table and that is your job, to be equally confident and humble enough to know what that is.

 

*I'll be posting on and off about the journey of my own collective experience over time.  
Stay tuned!!

UPDATE | Finding Collaborators
IMG_9810.JPG

In the world of female creative entrepreneurs it can be hard to find and create an atmosphere for coming together in work.  Be it working in different mediums, being in different life stages or how many projects each are balancing.  The struggle is often finding a way to create a space to honour each others work and skills in a productive manner.

I am in the process of learning how to embrace and honour the women around me whom I have fallen into, chosen to and seek out work relationships with.

Honour and grace are two themes I feel have taken root into my heart for these relationships.  I want to honour the skill set of these women.  I want to pass grace when I feel misunderstood or I have mis-stepped.  I want to enter into partnerships that are about depth, growth, building each other up and giving insight into the work we do on a creative and inspiring level.  

It can be a scary journey.  To begin to align yourself with others and combine your skills to make something collaborative or even just to support each others work, but I think thats where the real stuff lies.  Building each other up and not feeling intimidated by the intelligence and creativity of another.  That we all have room at the table together.  

SPOTLIGHT | Megan Piercey Monafu
spotlight.meganpierceymonafu.byamygrace

Megan and I met in High School where we bonded over our love for theatre, writing and our little posse of friends.  Megan not only has developed her passion for theatre and writing into her professional adult life, she is a living example of what being a woman dedicated to the love of her craft is.  She is passionate, and stays true to herself and that has been and still is something that moves me.  Make sure to check out CSArt Ottawa and anytime she has work in your area.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a playwright. I also like to write non-fiction. I’m a theatre director. I also started a small art business called CSArt Ottawa, which I guess makes me an entrepreneur. I’m a creative facilitator who specializes in adapting drama activities to diverse settings and groups.

This is a hard question. There are so many ways I would like to describe myself. I’m a person who, through profession, curiosity, and luck, has ended up in many very interesting rooms with fascinating groups of people. Businesspeople, statespeople, politicians, government workers, artists, activists, academics, people with disabilities, people who work in social services, faith leaders of different religions. Very rich people and very poor people, people with a huge amount of privilege and people who are severly underprivileged. I end up in very interesting conversations, and I switch hats a lot. I like to think of my artistic work as a condensation of these experiences, as a poetry that comes through me from the accumulation of the stories I hear and witness.

But that’s probably not the whole truth. It’s only poetry on the very best rare occasions. I end up writing about myself a lot more than I intend to. In some ways, you are only really writing about yourself.

What role does creativity play in your life?

It’s everything I do that is in any way worthwhile. Loving takes creativity. Getting up in the morning and finding a way to make yourself useful in the world takes a huge amount of creativity.

What are you currently working on?

I am writing a play right now inspired by my experiences working in social housing. It is my MFA thesis, due in 3 weeks(!). I am sure it won’t be truly finished for a while though… the theme is help, and how complicated it is to give and receive help. It takes a long time to think it through… I’m looking forward to taking a break from it because it makes me sad to sit down and write it, every time. Once it’s passed in, I’m going to go back to writing my play about virtual reality and the corporate tech world, because reading and writing about the crazy VR/AR technology and AI stuff going down right now makes me happy.

I’m also working on getting the second season of CSArt Ottawa launched! That’s a completely different creative task, curating and producing other people’s work. I’m enjoying it even more than I thought I would. It’s quite satisfying to find artists I believe in, give them resources for their work, and promote them. There’s very little ego in it for me, just the joy of gathering people and showing work.

And I recently took a day job in pursuit of a ‘parallel career’, a place to use my skills in other worthwhile ways while also taking the financial pressure off of my art work. I think there’s a real stigma around artists having day jobs; that it’s somehow an admission of defeat, or that your work suddenly becomes a hobby rather than a vocation. I think that’s terribly unfair. I have no regrets. I’m working with cool people on a cool project, learning new things, meeting new people. It is having a positive effect on my art work and my life.


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

I’m over halfway through reading The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoyevski. I had to stop for a while because it was breaking my heart.

It’s amazing that a 46-year-old Russian man from the late-1800s wrote something that a 27-year-old Canadian woman now can feel so connected to. That’s magic. It gives me hope right now when to me the world feels like it’s going to fall apart at any moment. I read the news almost every day, and then I read novels as an antidote to hopelessness.


What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

Find your people. Collaborators whose work you believe in, and who believe in your work, are incredibly valuable. Honour those relationships.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make from your work, only how much heart you put into it, how hard you work on making it as perfect as possible, how much you try to learn, how honest you are with yourself, and how well this all connects with other people.

LIFESTYLE | Bullet Journal

Being a writer and a task oriented person planners, journals, notebooks, pads of paper... they make me drool.

My problem?  Too many options, layouts, designs, covers, sizes, brands, etc.

I came across the concept of bullet journaling either through youtube or Pinterest.  I am not sure how it happened, but when I did... I was hooked.

Heres the link to the main website.

Heres how I do it.

Every New Year:
1 Journal for Day Planner purposes (Dotted paper)
1 Journal for personal journaling (Lined paper)

Both journals must be of similar size and compliment each other.
For this year?

A Leuchtturm1917 Taupe
A Kate Spade Rose Gold

I peruse my Pinterest board for saved bullet journaling images for the formats I believe would work for me, and then I play.  I have fun and I end up getting a more refined idea of how I want my life to be and feel as I progress throughout the year.  

Here is how I have formatted my bullet journal for 2017:

Introduction Page with Word and Vision Quote of the Year.

Introduction Page with Word and Vision Quote of the Year.

Year 2017 Overview

Year 2017 Overview

Wellness Wheel Map with inspiring quote

Wellness Wheel Map with inspiring quote

Month to Month Layout 'Migration'

Month to Month Layout 'Migration'

Spring Layout with Goals and Wardrobe Planning

Spring Layout with Goals and Wardrobe Planning

Month of April Intro Page.

Month of April Intro Page.

A typical day to day layout.

A typical day to day layout.

Week Vs. Weekend Lifestyle Goals/Habits

Week Vs. Weekend Lifestyle Goals/Habits

byamygrace.bj.8

2017 Check in Goals

Book/TV Shows/Movies/Podcast Tracker

Book/TV Shows/Movies/Podcast Tracker

SPOTLIGHT | Tasia Craig
Tasia Craig 2016.

Tasia Craig 2016.

Tasia and I have known each other for six years and over that time I have watched her work develop and grow and have loved it in it's entirity.  She has one of those laughs that makes you laugh along with her.  Here are her words on herself, creativity and beyond.  TAISA CRAIG WEBSITE

1. How would you describe yourself?

Passionate. I’m a whole heart in, everything or nothing, kind of gal. I don’t know how to do things without meaning. If it has no meaning to me I have a hard time forcing myself to do it. I spent many years wishing I were more robotic, because that’s easier and more efficient, but I have learned that life to the fullest is a life with highs and lows and feelings and messiness and emotions.

2. What role does creativity play in your life?

I was raised by an incredibly creative woman who saw budgets and meal plans just as much a creative endeavour as her weekend projects. And I am in love with a man who is an incredible artist but does not identify as creative, but rather as hard working. I dance on that line of believing every task in life is a creative pursuit and yet realizing that creativity ultimately is achieved by simply putting in hard work. Life, to me, is a series of challenges and puzzles, games that can be trudged through to “mediocre” or can be approached from every possible angle until one unique solutions feels more right than the others. This is true for me solving a math problem or designing an object. I have to explore and that is both creativity and mundanity in one.

3. What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on designing and making a line of small household objects. It is fun and exhausting and full of trial and error like any creative pursuit. It involves doing it wrong as many times as I need to before I do it well enough. There will always be a way it could be better and as I learned all too deeply in architecture school: nothing is ever done, there is just “done enough.” I’m not there yet with this line, though I expected to be by now. Other than the housewares, I work on smaller things like a blog, design projects, and dream up wild and crazy schemes with you, Amy.

4. What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?

The person of Cheryl Strayed. Her book Tiny, Beautiful Things is my devotional. Her words make life make sense and I consult them often. I also recently rewatched her Super Soul Sunday episode and was reminded that her life was simultaneously as tiny as struggling to pay bills and as huge as have a national best seller and being on Oprah. She balances the absurdities of life in a raw way and it really speaks to me. Also Abstract on Netflix, beyond being fascinating I think it is a designer’s paradise to soak in how different disciplines approach design. All of it is useful and applicable to our own practices. We are more alike than we are different.

5. What advice would you give other creatively driven people?

Only pursue the things that make you happy, because life is too short to be an accountant if you hate numbers or a painter if what you really prefer is sculpture. Money, or fame, or stability are useless if you are not in love with your life. You only get one, fall in love with its past, its present, and its future possibilities. Love is a choice and is worth it, work hard to stay in love because being creative isn’t exclusive to people who recognize their creativity. I believe everyone is creative, some have just been blessed enough to embrace and pursue it. Remember to love that.

THE CREATIVES | Evolution
The Creatives 2014

The Creatives 2014

We evolve.  We know this.

At least, we should be evolving.  Evolving shows growth, adapting to the life around us and depth inside us.  

Over the past year I have been sensing a change and a needed shift for The Creatives.  I have struggled to identify how to create that appropriate change.  We still need each other, that never changes.  And yet, how we interact and communicate needs to change.

Most of the women who began this group with me were students.  Together we faced our lack of knowledge and we levelled up in education, projects and facing fears.  Then we graduated and began the journey of 'now what'.  We rallied, we traveled, we moved, we life shifted and then we were left with those who were still in the area to meet.
The truth.

We have evolved.  I have evolved.

It's time to acknowledge this.

The Creatives has a place in the now and I have to admit that it's place is not in the same format.  It's time for a new and fresh place for this project.  How?  I am not sure yet.

notebook.byamygrace

And thats okay.  It's a bit exciting.  To know that the world is wide open for the creatives again.  That in truth there is a wide open space and there is a corner out there for it.  

I need to raise my glass to the women who came around me for this in the beginning.  Jasmine Alexander, Nicole Payzant, Tasia Craig, Breanne Bandur and Danielle Doiron just to name a few.  And those that joined along the way and graced my home and tinkled wine glasses as we encouraged eacother through the fears, the unknowns.  I honour them.  I respect them.  I am in awe of them.  I truly believe that it was those friday nights at the end of every month that allowed me to gain awareness of myself and my craft.  

And to the next phase?  I raise a new glass and pray that I will be able to stay humble, grounded and sensitive to those who will journey alongside with me yet again.  

Stay shiny, stay vibrant and stay tuned.  

For there is always more where this came from.  

 

THE CREATIVES | January 2017
thecreatives.jan.17.byamygrace

In all honesty, showing up to "The Creatives" is a rebellious act towards fear.  I see it on our faces as we gather around a table and silently admit to each other that our fear almost had us not here today, but something inside each of us said, 'showing up is worth more than what fear would have done to me tonight'.

That is what I aim to see cultivated with us even more this year.  It's a silent but 'actions-speak-louder-than-words' type of battle cry.  The battle cry of women.  Women who are creative.

Truly, that is all of us.  For those of us who show up, it is something we dare to embrace.

Hosting these events, I admittedly feel clumsy, awkward and an imposter.  It's the nature of the beast.  "Don't let them see my nervousness, because they might catch on I have no idea what I am doing." 

Thats the truth of it.  I don't know how to host the Creatives.  I rarely ever feel strong in this role.  But it's important.  It gives us life, and so I press on, and I believe and trust that what God puts in my heart to do, will have a place in this world.

And it does.  
The joy we discussed this night was lovely to behold and the struggle to move past our fear was a beautiful part of us that needed us to be tender with it, to hold it gently and give it honour to the energy it takes to be fearless, even for just one minute of one day.

Out of anything for 2017, I sense those who attend The Creatives will deepen in their inidivudal awareness of their own creativity and in doing so we will discover another layer to The Creatives Collective that hasn't existed before.

Stepping into the territory that is ours one day at a time.
 

SPOTLIGHT | Ellie Knaus
spotlight.ellie.knaus.byamygrace

I have listened to Ellie on her podcast 'Atomic Moms' ever since I gave birth to my daughter almost two years ago.  This woman is the real deal.  She is everything real, raw and fun.  Ellie and I have been in touch off and on over the past two years and I have always enjoyed how she is consistently herself and a grounded human being.  Find Ellie and her work : on iTunes & the Atomic Moms Website

How would you describe yourself?

My toddler would describe me as her personal assistant, my husband would call me his "manic pixie" pain in the butt, and I would describe myself as a sloppy perfectionist.  (But hey, aren't there studies out there saying that messy types are more creative?) I have to admit I spend a lot of time in negotiations with my critical thoughts, or what I like to call the Tribunal of A**holes in my mind.  And as much as I struggle with self-judgment, I am extremely empathetic towards others.  I am learning to accept that I'm definitely at my worst when I'm "over-prepared" and at my best when all my ducks aren't in a row, when I just have to let my instincts kick in.  Also, I'm pretty goofy and I laugh a lot. 

What role does creativity play in your life?

Excuse me while I get melodramatic for a moment: without creativity, WHAT IS THE POINT?!!! Creativity is the magic of life.  I love creating my podcast every week but never have I ever had to be more creative than in my role as mother.  When you forget to bring diaper wipes on a cross-country flight, you've got to get creative.  When it's been raining for three days straight and you're home with a kid who can't read yet and who shouldn't watch hours of television, you've got to get creative.  When you realize that you've been so consumed by the other creative aspects of your life that you haven't gone to the grocery store and now you have to pack a school lunch at 11pm, you get creative.  

What are you currently working on?

atomic.moms.promo.byamygrace

I'm in the middle of researching, recording, and editing our upcoming episodes of Atomic Moms Podcast.  On the show, we explore the joys and complexities of caring for our children and ourselves.  I interview best-selling authors, parenting experts, and moms around the world.  It's really important to me that each show feels fresh and honest.  Celebrating the messiness of motherhood is a very big deal to me.  And our international tribe of mom listeners keep us accountable.  If it were just up to me, I'd spend my whole life writing and never showing anyone any of it.  It's imperative that I be accountable to others and have a deadline.  That's when I'm most creative.  

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

I have a New York Times magazine clipping taped to my desk that I'll slap on a vision board if I ever get around to making one.  Sarah Jessica Parker says: "I have always loved to read for the same reason I love to act, which is that other people's stories are more interesting than my own."  While I think there is enormous value in exploring one own's story, this quote always propels me forward when I'm feeling a bit self conscious about sharing on the podcast.  It reminds me that the process of creation is so much bigger than any one of us.  And it reminds me of the Meisner acting technique:  "Put your attention on the other person."  When we do that, in acting, or in conversation, we drop our self-consciousness and end up revealing a much more authentic part of ourselves in the process. 

What advice would you give to other creatively drive people? 

Fill your creative tank every single day.  Befriend artists in different creative fields.  Some of us "creatively driven" types are so damn serious.  Use every excuse you have to PLAY.  And take more showers than is good for the environment...That's where I get my best ideas. 

 

Spotlight | Nicole Payzant
Nicole Payzant | Photographer

Nicole Payzant | Photographer

I met Nicole as a child and we rekindled a friendship in our early twenties.  Nicole is one of the most lovely women I know.

1.How would you describe yourself?

I am a lover of love... and maker of things. 
There enters wedding photography. 
I am introverted... a bit of a hermit, even... a proper cat lady even at 26. 

2. What role does creativity play in your life?

Since I was a child I have been labeled with the word "creative". I think that label has evolved in my lifetime. 

My mother is a creative. She thrives on making and creating. In my home, tole painting, scrap booking, puzzles, cake decorating, and other crafts were a normal sight. I remember painting with shaving cream on the bare kitchen table as a young child. It has always been a part of who I am, and what "play" is for me. I've never known anything different. 

To many people, "creative" was a way of saying "artistic". 
In THAT context, it became both a source of pride and also pressure to perform. I think it still is. I was good at creating because as with everything I gave it my full attention. My desire to excel meant I continued pushing my abilities. There became an expectation, a standard, that I had to meet--or surpass--before I'd be happy with a project. 

In the last couple of years, with "the creatives", I am reclaiming the label of "creativity". Removing the pressure. Focusing on the pull towards creative play. 

Even if it is simply colouring with crayons. Learning to crochet a scarf. Teaching myself basic embroidery. 

3. What are you currently working on?

Professionally, I am finishing up my 2016 season with a few engagement sessions for next years' couples. I will have a few weeks before picking up the camera again.. I'm looking forward to that break. 

I have also been creating a list of little things to make and do this November/December, for the sole purpose of bringing me creative joy... recharging my batteries. 

I'm going to try making my own air-dry clay. And figure out some outdoor winter decor on a budget. 

Also baking. I am making Christmas baking happen this year. 

4. What was the last book/movie that left an impression on you?

I am not much of a reader anymore... but Eat, Pray, Love. Read on my trip to Sri Lanka this past April. Would read again. 

5. What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?

I don't feel comfortable advising just anyone, as each persons experience is different. But I can share advice I have learned or been told over the last six years:

Keep making. 

If making feels like work, (as will happen when you are a professional creator), try something new. Make room for creative play. Even if it is just colouring in front of the t.v. 

Be conscious of the expectations you set on yourself, and their validity. Use  expectations to drive you--not crush you. 

Learn to say no, and be selective in your creative projects so you are still able to find joy in what you are doing.  I have kept my waitressing job on the side, so I am able to be more selective in what I take on as a photographer. 

"Comparison is the thief of joy".