Posts Tagged ‘creation’

Onward, Ho!

Monday, November 26th, 2012

For my 600th blog post (whoa.) I would like to share with you an excerpt from a text that has hit close to home with me, as I continuously struggle with the questions of:

  • What the hell am I doing with my life?
  • Where am I going to live next year?
  • Why do I bother trying to be a writer/creator/sock creature maker/lino-printer etc when I am clearly lacking any real skill/talent/ability etc?

I found this excerpt in an article by Oliver Burkeman on the School of Life website and it just makes me feel so much better about EVERYTHING. I suspect it will ring true for a few other people as well.

The bookshelves heave with advice on how to feel confident in social settings, or motivated to take exercise, how to get inspired for creative projects, etcetera. But what if you just accepted that you felt afraid, or unmotivated, or uninspired, and went fearfully, unmotivatedly, uninspiredly onward?

‘Give up on yourself,’ wrote the late Japanese psychologist Shoma Morita, whose deadpan approach provides a refreshing respite from the legions of grinning positive thinkers. ‘Begin taking action now, while being neurotic or imperfect or a procrastinator or unhealthy or lazy or any other label by which you inaccurately describe yourself. Go ahead and be the best imperfect person you can be, and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.’

Sounds like a good plan to me.

Hello Etsy <--- Said With Dutch Accent

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Last night I returned home from a four day trip to the Netherlands. My travels were dual-purposed:

  1. To attend the Hello Etsy 2012 conference
  2. It was a good excuse to visit my family.

I always feel very at home in the Netherlands – perhaps it is because all of a sudden I am surrounded by people who are tall, blonde and rosy-cheeked like me instead of the short, skinny Frenchies I hang out with these days. I can’t speak Dutch although from growing up listening to my Grandparents speak to one another I seem to have an ear for the language. I can’t tell you exactly what is being said but I can follow very basic conversations. The human brain is an amazing thing.

Maybe it is these red shutters, but I feel at home in Holland

Anyway, I spent most of my time with my family in Gouda (it’s pronounced Gggccchhhh-ow-der not G-oo-da), visiting the city, driving to the apparently mountainous ‘dunes’ (they was slightly raised patches of ground) near the coast, and eating gevulde koek. On Sunday we went to Delft where I didn’t buy any blue and white porcelain but I did watch people sail boats around and around a course in a small area in a canal. My cousin, Judit was one of the organisers of the event and she tried to explain to me the complexities of the event. It certainly looked technically difficult and I definitely couldn’t have done it. Crazy Dutch.

Delft canal

You can’t get more Dutch than this – canal, boats, houses, Vermeer clouds.

On Saturday I woke up very early and caught three trains to Eindhoven for the Hello Etsy 2012 conference – a day of talks by small creative business owners run by the good folk from Etsy. It was linked with Dutch Design Week and there were many interesting events happening in Eindhoven. None of my family could understand WHY it was in Eindhoven, but that’s where it was so that’s where I went.

Hello Etsy

Hi there.

The conference was attended by lots of fellow crafters who sell their products on the Etsy website. There were about 200 of us and we listened to various speakers including Janine Vangool from Uppercase Magazine; Satish Kumar, a former monk who now travels the globe encouraging peace and environmental responsibility (he also walked from India to America via Moscow, London and Paris (yes, walked) carrying boxes of tea to give to the heads of government to encourage them to drink a cup of tea and have a bit of a think before starting nuclear war); and Piet Hein Eek, a Dutch designer whose atelier the conference was being held in.

Piet Hein Eek workshop

The AMAZING workshop at Piet Hein Eek

While all of the speakers had something interesting to say, I gained the most insight from Janine as she spoke about the processes and changes she has gone through throughout her life in order to get to her current position as a magazine and book publisher. It was reassuring to hear that it isn’t an overnight occurrence and that she has changed jobs and directions many times throughout her career to be where she is now. It made me realise that over the past two years I have been telling people about this book I am writing about Paris (yet honestly haven’t really started yet) and am trying to attempt various other projects instead. But the idea of having my words printed in a beautifully bound book with nice typesetting and photographs makes every inch of me tingle with excitement.

Janine provided the advice of doing what you love and the fact that you can’t succeed or fail unless you try. This is a significant pitfall in my current way of doing things – I don’t try. I sit around hoping that some magical fairy will make something happen for me on my behalf instead of getting out there and making things happen. This has to change.

She also said that there is always room for quality which I think was a lovely thing. You can tell from Uppercase that she has a great eye for quality and that the work she produces is made from the heart. This is something I aspire to do.

An overall feeling I gained from all of the speakers was that they were simply following whatever their heart and soul was telling them. Instead of producing products with a specific market in mind, they would make something that they liked, loved, wanted and the market would find a place for it.

Hello Etsy conference

Lots of interested listeners

The most popular speaker of the day was Satish Kumar – a cute, little, 70-something Indian ex-monk who made the hearts of the 90 per cent female crowd go gooey. He is a very impressive man with a strong will, amazing intelligence and a determined agenda to spread the idea of peace. He was also very human and approachable, not preaching to us but presenting the facts and encouraging us to follow our dreams and to focus on making the world a better place. One of the things he said that stuck with me was that everything in life has a place, including fear and doubt. It is just a matter of keeping these things in their place and not allowing them to control us. Very true.

I came away from the conference not having ‘networked’ as much as I set out to do but with a better understanding of creative business. It is a long journey and requires a lot of effort and work, all of which I believe I am capable and willing to do. I just need to get my butt into gear and do it.

Hello Etsy bag

Why, hi!

Mucking Around

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The last few days have been fairly experimental – yesterday I spent a few hours attempting to make flowers out of paper. I eventually gave up when I accepted that my flowers would be better off being used as mulch. I then saw Martha Stewart’s versions and have decided to leave paper flower making to the professionals.

This morning I have been fiddling with Adobe Illustrator and discovering what I can do with it. I am in love with the “Blob Brush” tool – it makes EVERYTHING I draw look cool! I decided to draw a series of BoBos (the hipsters who hang out in my neighbourhood) as they are a source of inspiration for me and will one day feature in my book. Here is my favourite so far.

Paris Bobo

Hmmm.

I’m not sure what I will do with him but it has been good to get some lines on a page.

Need Some Inspiration?

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I watched this today while eating cheese and baguettes and suddenly felt a lot better about doing what I am trying to do. Cheers, Neil.

Second Amazing Exhibition for the Week

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Yesterday I cancelled plans at the last minute (very rude of me) to catch a train to Rouen to see an exhibition. My friends and avid exhibition visitors (they have seen EVERY exhibition in Paris in three months. They deserve medals.), Viola and Enrico, invited me to go with them to see XYZT, an exhibition by Adrien M and Claire B at Hanger 23. The week-long exhibition was closing on Sunday so it was our last opportunity to see it – and WOW.

XYZT exhibition

XYZT

XYZT exhibition

XYZT

Unfortunately only half of the exhibition had been brought to Rouen but what was on show was brilliant. There were four different spaces where light, projections and sound moved, changed, or created patterns through interaction with the viewer. You could walk on waves of light that created new shapes with your steps, blow into holes to make projected letters fly through the air, and watch your projected image curve into positions you never thought your could achieve without years of intense yoga.

There is also a theatre performance that sits alongside this exhibition that I would love to go and see. I think it may be going to Lyon next month so I might have to make a weekend trip to see it.

40 Day Challenge

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Lots of changes have been happening recently and I am taking the opportunity to expand my skill set, take up some new challenges and experiment, experiment, experiment. I have become aware that I have put a bit of a self-inflicted roadblock on some of my inner creativity and I think it is time to let it out. Watch out world!

As a result, I am taking up a challenge – to create 40 different ‘pieces’ over a 40 day period. It can be anything – painting, drawing, knitting, découpage (because who doesn’t love découpage?), stencilling, baking etc. Yes, I’m including baking because it is a delicious form of creativity.

Yesterday was Day One of the challenge and to be honest, my creativity levels were not particularly high. I was more inclined to go outside and visit an art gallery (I went and saw an Art Spiegelman exhibition at the Pompidou Centre library) but I was determined to make something. The search was on for inspiration. Come on, Paris!

It was the weather man who eventually delivered – his insistence on producing grey, rainy weather day after day after day for the past two weeks has certainly been the topic of conversation and was now my inspiration.

Cloud

It is kind of a strange looking cloud, but I'll just say it is "French"

Now Gary has a reason to feel it is too wet for ducks as he lives under a cloud. A pretty, stripy cloud, nonetheless. It is a reasonable first attempt but I am keen to add some rain drops that hang from the bottom of it. Call it a work in progress.