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  1. *Shared Stories* (3): Juliette Crane and Helen Musselwhite

    sharedstories

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    This week we share the story of mixed media artist Juliette Crane (in the US) and paper-cutting artist Helen Musselwhite (in the UK)

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    Juliette Crane

    To me, to do what you love means waking up each morning and being excited, knowing you’re looking forward to enjoying your day. I’d tried so many different careers- as an arts reporter, photographer, graphic designer, floral designer, editorial assistant, web developer. And I was unbelievably unfulfilled with every one (except maybe floral design because I adore flowers and colors so much). But there was always something about each career that didn’t fit. And, so often, that something just broke my spirit.

    Still, I felt like it must be me. So many others seemed to be fine with going into work and attending meetings and even creating art based on some one else’s’ specifications. That was never me. Yet, I know how very much every one of those careers helped me to learn exactly what I needed to do what I love today.

    This past year has been amazing! I finally dedicated myself to making my art my full-time career. And it has been one of the most wild, fulfilling, wonderful years! I feel like I’ve been able to get in touch with that incredible flow of life and make dreams reality. I meet the right people and things just fall right into place. But a lot of hard work has gone into it all. And when I talk about doing what you love and waking up each day and looking forward to enjoying it, I know that through all of the hard work I put in last year, even through all of the amazing successes, I lost a lot of that every day joy.

    My life got so out of balance. When everything seems to be going in this phenomenal direction and people respond to your artwork and it’s all a dream, it’s hard, for me at least, to stop. Yet I wouldn’t have done it any other way. For me to remember to separate myself, at least sometimes, from that crazy current that can pull you along. That was an awesome lesson.

    Now I know exactly what I want for this year…to enjoy it all! Not just in really celebrating all of the amazing things I’m accomplishing, and not even in making time for myself, my wonderfully supportive husband and my family, but actually being present and loving every second in my every day! To remember all of those little things, those small moments, that are absolutely most important.

    Like the young man at my art opening who made me cry when he looked at my paintings and said he wished he could take every one of them home with him. Like the girl who asked me to teach her and her friends how to paint owls at her 1oth birthday party and who near-pressed her nose for minutes to my snowy owl painting, she loved it so much. Like all of the smiles and gorgeously unique owls everyone goes home with at my painting workshops. I feel so honored to be a part of it all!

    And that, is doing what I love.

    (All images courtesy of Juliette Crane)

    Juliette Crane is a mixed-media artist and writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. Registration for her new How To Paint an Owl E-course is now open.  I’m in!

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    Helen Musselwhite

    I do what I love every day and I feel very blessed that I’ve finally got here.  It took a while and a few incarnations.  I try not to take it for granted though as I realise it could so very easily slip from my tight grasp.

    Doing what I love means I can go off on flights of fancy and fairytale through my work, and each piece of artwork is a world to escape to whilst I’m making it.  I have always known that my working life would be something to do with art.  Drawing, painting and making were favourite pastimes as a child and my parents always encouraged me.  Art school was the next and obvious step. 

    I migrated to paper through lots of other materials including wood, silver and gold and fabric but paper won!  I started making my paper sculptures four years ago when my partner and I relocated to the north of England.  Until we moved I had been doing two part time jobs – one in the art department of a school and the other working with a friend in her jewellery shop.  In the shop my duties included making jewellery and designing the window displays. These I made from paper – and it was then I realised paper had all the properties I been looking for but couldn’t find in the other materials I had experimented with.  My love of paper was born!

    I got together a website, contacted shops and galleries I’d come across in my travels, started an Etsy shop and off I went.  Over the past four years the Internet has been, and continues to be my most important tool.  Looking back to my previous incarnations in the world of art over a decade ago it is clear how the internet has made self-promotion, finding an audience and selling work so much simpler and quicker.

    I work from a studio in my home which I love doing. Each day I’m in my own world only emerging for necessary things like eating, dog walking and spending time with Andrew my partner.  Sometimes I head into Manchester to buy paper – a valid distraction.

    The downside of working from home is that I find it very hard to turn off from work especially if I have a deadline (which happens quite often).  Often the urge to unload the dishwasher or do a bit of vacuuming takes over, and inevitably takes more than the five minutes I intended.

    There is no doubt I work harder, and for longer hours than I ever have before, but I am so much happier and fulfilled in my work.  It is a trade I’m more than willing to make.

    I hope to carry on as I am loving what I do until I’m an old lady, but I’m only as good as my last piece of work so I never take it for granted.

    (All images courtesy of Helen Musselwhite)

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    More *shared stories* here

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    Would you like to share your story on Do What You Love?  Please see here and contact me for more details

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    Are you doing what you love?

    Join the innovative new e-course which will help expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.

    It will help you identify your passion and find a way to do what you love, for life.

    Class begins March 14.

    Register now

    ***

  2. Last chance to join the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap!

    Sign-up for the third Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap closes tomorrow (Monday 28)

    Don’t miss out on your chance to create a lovely stitched postcard and receive one from somewhere else in the world.

    See here for more info and sign up today!

    ***UPDATE March 1: Signup has now closed.  We have people from 14 countries on 5 continents stitching up a storm!  Check back here soon to see what gorgeousness they create and send around the world. If you missed out this time, sign up for the Do What You Love newsletter (over on the right) to make sure you hear when the next one is launched!***

  3. Do What You Love interview: Christine Castro

    Christine Castro of Darling Design is a brilliant website designer. Getting your website designed is a big thing.  It is the face of your business, and it is also a reflection of you.  You want people to be drawn to it, and to stay a while, so the design – both in terms of beauty and usability – is crucial.  And because so much is riding on it, it can be stressful, but Christine was a dream to work with on the first site we created for DWYL and made the whole thing exciting.

    Christine is a veteran blogger, who has been posting about her life for over a decade, first on maganda.org and now on Brunch.  Christine has designed websites for wildly popular artists like Sabrina Ward Harrison and Kelly Rae Roberts.

    Here Christine talks about brunch, lessons and working with artists to help them communicate their work to the outside world.

    1)  What is your favourite way to start the day?

    I love slowly waking up beside my husband Rama with sun pouring through the window and the babbling of  our son Henry in the other room. Ideally, this is followed by a
    leisurely breakfast, complete with coffee or tea, more sunshine and  some conversation. 
    I am not a morning person, so I prefer to ease into the day. Of  course, with a 1-1/2-year-old son who wakes up with the birds, this is  not always possible!

    2)        You have designed some gorgeous websites – can you share some of  your favourites and tell us what you love about them?

    Thank you so much. One of my favorite projects has to be the first website I created for someone other than myself, the portfolio for artist Sabrina Ward Harrison. Working with the artist I had admired for so long was such a  dream, and this project catapulted me into a career, and life, that I could never have otherwise imagined.

    Another favorite is the site I created for children’s clothing line Velvet and Tweed.   I worked with designer Tina Schreiber from the brand’s inception, creating the Velvet & Tweed logo, color palette, patterns and illustrations, and it was a blast. I just adore their classic, vintage aesthetic.

    Finally, the site for You Are My Fave featuring my hand-drawn illustrations is a recent favorite.  Event planner Melanie Blodgett came to me with a clear vision of  something whimsical and delightful, and I had so much fun bringing  that vision to life.


    3) How do you go about trying to capture the image someone has in their head and turning that into a design?

    We spend a lot of time exploring together. I give always give my clients homework, but it’s fun homework! They fill out a questionnaire that asks some key questions about their goals, requirements and aesthetics, and we have many conversations about the answers.  Sometimes, my clients give me peeks into their inspiration. After all of that exploration, I do my own research and a whole lot of brainstorming, sketching, scribbling, scratching out and more sketching! The final step is creating actual design concepts that represent what the final website might look like.

    4)        What do you like best about working with artists on their websites?

    I enjoy working with artists because each has such a distinct point of  view, style and aesthetic. I find that working with artists, rather than entrepeneurs, is much more of a collaboration–an exchange of ideas and inspiration. And that can be rewarding.

    5)        And what are the challenges of doing that?

    Every project has its challenges, and working with artists is no exception. I’d hate to generalize beyond that.


    6)   You recently spoke at the Altitude Design Summit.  How was that experience?  What did you talk about? What do you think people get out of gatherings like that?

    It was amazing!  I spoke on a panel about take the leap to full-time creative work with Chelsea Fuss, Christine Koh and Lisa WarningerI think  the best part about ALT and those types of gatherings is the people.  My fellow panelists alone are such talented creatives, and getting to know them and their work was inspiring. Multiply that times a hundred, and add a hundred more; that was ALT. Not only were these people talented, but they were unbelievably kind. Everyone was so happy and willing to share their knowledge, experiences and stories, which is invaluable. I hope to return next year, and I highly recommend it to other design and lifestyle bloggers and creatives.

     7)        You have had your work featured in galleries around the world, on blogs and websites and even in textbooks.  What is your advice to someone  
    who doesn’t know how to go about getting their work out there?

    My advice is to work hard and stay true to yourself. If you are consistently working hard and creating work that makes you proud, then you are more likely to ignite some interest. Also: Participate in the community of which you are a part. You probably won’t get noticed if you aren’t speaking up! If you’re an illustrator or graphic designer, competitions are a great way to get your work in the public eye. If you want to pitch a product or service to a publication, I highly recommend reading
    Design*Sponge founder Grace Bonney’s
    “Public Relations for the Independent Designer.” You can download the PDF here
      Those are just a couple of ideas.

    8)        What is the most important lesson you have learned in your decade of blogging?

    Stay true to yourself. I know I said that above, but I can’t stress how important it is. I created my first personal website,
    maganda.org in 2000. Those first few years were exhilarating. I stayed up until all hours of the night, writing, designing and just playing. When I wasn’t updating it, I was thinking about it. I was obsessed. But in the last few years, I lost my drive. I just wasn’t inspired by it anymore. I received a lot of pressure from readers, friends and family to update it, and every couple weeks I would. But last summer, I finally made the decision to quit maganda.org and start something new–something that would inspire me again. I began Brunch, and all of a sudden I came alive. I was once again obsessed, and it felt great! Blogging, whether for business or pleasure, should be fun. You need to love it in order for it to be any kind of success, whether professional or personal. If it’s not making
    you happy, something’s wrong.

    9)        Where to next for Christine Castro?

    I have about a gazillion ideas and plans, but I am pregnant with my  second child right now and right now my number one priority is ushering that new soul into the world and being present for my family.



    Find out more about Christine on her blog Brunch, her website Darling Studio, or connect on Twitter.

    (All images courtesy of Christine Castro)

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    More inspiring interviews with people doing what they love

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    Are you doing what you love?  Would you like to expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul?  To find your passion and do what you love, for life?  Join the Do What You Love e-course for tools and inspiration to do just that.  Class begins March 14. Register now.

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  4. Last place available in Flora Bowley’s class!

    If you have been toying with the idea of joining the amazing Flora Bowley’s first ever workshop in Europe, sign up now – there is only ONE place left!  Register now (more about the Do What You Love retreat here)

    Don’t miss out on this opportunity to take a class from this incredible artist in a stunning part of the English countryside!  Register now

  5. Guilty pleasures

    I think Ferrero Rochers might just be the best culinary invention in the world, ever. 

    Have you ever tried them frozen?  Divine…

    What’s your favourite chocolate guilty pleasure?

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    The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap is back! 

    Have you signed up yet? 

    It’s fun, it’s free, and you get some stitched love in the mail.  Sign up here

    ***

  6. E-course feature: Kevin Carroll, acclaimed author, big ideas man, all-round inspiration

    I am so excited about the stellar line-up of inspiring people whose interviews will feature in the upcoming Do What You Love ecourse.  If you haven’t signed up already, register now!  Class starts on March 14 and this is not to be missed.  Over the next couple of weeks I will introduce the incredibly inspiring people who are going to share their thoughts, insights and advice in a series of juicy interviews for the Do What You Love e-course.

    Today I am excited to announce an interview with Kevin Carroll, acclaimed author, big ideas man, champion of sport and play, all-round inspiration.

    Join us to hear Kevin talk about the importance of nurturing your playful spirit, to help you do what you love.  Class starts on March 14 for six weeks. Register now!

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    Other exclusive interviews on the e-course include:

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    About the e-course

    This online adventure will take you step-by-step on a path to discovering your true passion, and finding a way to make it a greater part of your everyday life.

    In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and use this to feed your creative soul.   You will travel this path with a community of like-minded people from across the world, sharing your stories, forging new connections, and inspiring each other.

    Based on the principle that adventure fuels creativity, a rich combination of thought-provoking posts, juicy interviews and stories will be shared, along with journal prompts, photo exercises, tools to explore your path and fun weekly missions.

    If you throw yourself into it, you will emerge more confident, more curious and much more likely to end up doing what you love.

    Do What You Love. Register now!

  7. *Shared stories* (2): TJ Goerlitz and Andrea Schroeder

    sharedstories

    Are you doing what you love?

    In this weekly series, we highlight stories of people who are determined to do just that.  Some stories talk of triumph, others despair.  They all involve bravery, belief, courage and hope.  They are real stories about real people chasing their dreams, and making choices and sacrifices which allow them to do what they love, for life.  Every Monday this will become a space for sharing those stories.   It takes courage to share, and I hope you will read them, relate to them, be inspired by them, and leave a comment about them.

    The stories shared here are our shared stories.  “Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams…”  WB Yeats

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    Today’s stories are from TJ Goerlitz of Studio Mailbox, an American artist living in Germany, and creative dream coach Andrea Schroeder of ABCcreativity

    TJ is an American artist living in Germany.  Even though TJ is married to a German national and settled in the country, she still finds that the feeling of being a ‘foreigner’ still influences her life and art.  TJ made a special video for *shared stories* which you can see at the bottom of the post.

    Andrea Schroeder is a creative dream coach, healer, artist and all around magic-maker.  Her mission is “to help remind you that you are a creative genius and that you can create and do *anything*”.  For more see her website ABCcreativity.

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    Tari ‘TJ’ Goerlitz

    Doing what I love means exploring my surroundings and then expressing my reaction to it through photography, blogging and artwork. 

    Studio Mailbox was born on leap year 2008 after I moved to Germany and my attempts to build a website were an epic failure.  Blogging was a way that I could have an internet presence and be able to administer it myself.

    Over time the site has given me a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s a record of my creative adventures as a foreigner. Now it’s grown into something that needs to be managed and hopefully in time will become a platform for generating income. 

    The most important thing to me is creating a style that’s original and recognizable.  When I started blogging, I only used my own photography and artwork.  It never even occurred to me to go find imagery somewhere on the web.  It’s been a ton of work but the end result is a site that’s truly mine both in stories and content.

    In hindsight, I wish I would have known sooner how important it is to connect with others online.  A huge mistake I made in the beginning was to neglect linking and interacting with other artists.  I just didn’t understand how the whole blogosphere worked.  Not knowing the etiquette made me feel very vulnerable and insecure.  Germany is quite a way behind the curve when it comes to blogging. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was actually blazing a trail by German standards!

    One of my biggest worries is somehow creating a controversial on-line presence that will hinder my chances at future employment or opportunities.  What I’m slowly learning is that surrounding yourself with a tribe of like-minded people is your best defense.  That way when you do mess up most people will hopefully display compassion and support you.    

    I have lots of dreams but the ones I’m currently chasing are avenues to exhibit artwork in Germany as well as investigating publishing and licensing opportunities. 

    Because I’m creating work in response to German culture, I worry about offending people.  Sometimes it’s tricky to know how to speak my truth. Although I’ve experienced a lot of pain as a foreigner, I’ve experienced even more love. I’m nuts for all things alpine.  I swoon over traditional clothing.  Don’t even mention German hats!  It would be so meaningful to me if I could use my foreign eyes to create the kind of designs that Germans could be proud of. 

    If I could ask one thing of the universe to help me along my way, I’d ask for a creative mentor.  I’ve been out here alone in my wacky creative brain long enough. 

    TJ created this special video for *shared stories* to show the inspiration she finds all around her in Germany:

    YouTube Preview Image

    All images courtesy of TJ Goerlitz.  For more information see TJ’s website, Studio Mailbox, or connect on Facebook

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    Andrea Schroeder

    I am doing what I love.  It is the most soul satisfying, glee-inducing thing EVER.

    I have been doing what I love for some time.  Well, I always have been, in a way, anyway.   I mean through being a “starving artist” or juggling a job and my creative life – I’ve always found a way to be doing what I love, in the best way I could at the time.

    But seven months ago I came to a point where I needed something different.  I knew I needed to quit my part time job and have the thing I love be the way I live.  I set a clear intention to leave my job in six months.

    And those six months were a bumpy ride.

    I started to examine everything about my work.  I had been doing my art, as well as leading Creativity Workshops, Healing Meditation Circles and working with clients one on one for years already but everything about it was set up to be part time, to fit around my job.  I had to look honestly at what needed to change for me to be able to make the income I wanted to have.  I had to look at what I needed to learn and where I needed to grow to be able to create and sustain the kind of business I wanted to have.

    The more I learned about business the more exciting it got, seeing how I can fit everything I love into one beautiful sparkling entity.

    At the same time, the more I learned and grew my business – the louder my fears became.  The parts of me that really like the comfort and safety of income and benefits let me know they were not happy with my choice.  Self doubt began to creep in.  Sure, I put on great events and make art that inspires people – but can I really produce enough for it to be a full time job?  Can I really make enough money to pay the mortgage and insurance and keep the car running and and and and and…

    And then, if that wasn’t enough I did have people questioning me “Are you sure you can really make enough money?” “Isn’t this too big a risk?”  “I can’t believe you are quitting your job!  You’re so lucky to have it!”

    My intuition was always clear.  YES.  You are ready.  This is the time.  You can do it.  You have everything you need.  Oh.  But you do have to deal with these pesky fears.  There is no other way to get there.

    So my time became stretched by learning about business, applying my new learnings to my ever-growing business, doing the work of running a business, interacting with fears – both mine and the fears of the people around me and going to work. 

    Looking back I’m not really sure how I did all of that.  But I had that clear intuitive knowing.  I was ready.  It was time.  And there was a lot of crap to move through in order to get there and the best way to move through, for me, for that time, was to just plow through and not stop no matter what.

    And that’s what I did.

    I left my job a month ago.

    I do the things I love as my full time work.  I live my creative dreams and I get to help others do the same.  This is the best!

    Andrea’s studio [All photo credits: Andrea Schroeder]

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    Would you like to have your story published on Do What You Love?  See here for more details of how to get involved and share your story with the world

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    Are you doing what you love?

    Join the innovative new e-course which will help expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.

    It will help you identify your passion and find a way to do what you love, for life.

    Class begins March 14.

    Register now

    ***

  8. Do What You Love interview: Hannah Nunn

    Hannah Nunn is a designer/maker who owns a gorgeous lighting shop in the arty town of Hebden Bridge, in Yorkshire, England.  Hannah built up her business from scratch whilst being a very young mum.  Now her children have grown up and her business is flourishing, both offline and online.   The shop doubles up as her studio, where she crafts beautiful hand-made lamps from paper.  I am delighted that Hannah will be joining us at the Do What You Love retreat in May, to share her extensive knowledge of design, manufacturing, production and retail from a small business perspective, in one of the retreat’s creative enterprise sessions.

    1)    You have established a strong reputation in the UK for your beautiful handmade lights.  Do you remember the first one you ever made?  What inspired you to make it?

    I do remember it well yes. It was made out of cheap lining paper from the decorating shop and had little squares cut out of it with coloured gel squares behind it from my friend who worked in theatre. Then it was laminated with a glossy laminating pouch, held together with paper fasteners and the inside the bulb sat on top of a milk bottle! Quite makeshift and not really that pretty but it held such massive potential. I took it home and stood it proudly on the piano and it quietly whispered encouraging things to me all weekend (it’s going to work…keep playing…buy a laminator…source some nice paper….look how it glows).

    I was inspired to experiment with lamp making after having made paper cut greeting cards for years. They made great silhouettes and I was always holding them up to the light. It was my studio mate Hilary who suggested I made lamps. As soon as she said it my future flashed before me! I knew how I wanted them to look but I had no idea how to make them. It took a good year of experimentation (and some funding from the Arts Council) to bring them into being.

    2)    Can you tell us a bit about the process involved in making one of your lamps (if it’s not a trade secret!)

    Well nowadays it’s a little more sophisticated than I described above but basically the same! I cut my designs from paper – some by hand and some are cut and engraved with a laser cutter. Then I laminate the paper and roll into a tube or whatever shape and fasten together with strong plastic clips. I have had special tripods made for the bulb to sit securely inside and not create any unnecessary shadows.

    3)    Many of your lamps feature images from nature.  Where do you go to seek fresh inspiration for your designs?

    We are very lucky living here in Hebden Bridge because it is surrounded by nature. Whichever way you go out of your front door there is a lovely walk to be found. You do have to be prepared to climb a hill first as it’s a very steep sided valley but it’s worth it! There is lots of woodland with great footpaths and far reaching views. I like going out with my camera. 

    We also have a beautiful florist’s called The Willow Garden which is a consistent source of inspiration. It’s hard to go in there with coming out with a handful of blooms and an urge to get back to the studio!

    And I love this library of botanical studies and biological drawings. It’s an endless source of inspiration.

    4)    You own a gorgeous shop in Hebden Bridge, a very arty town in the Yorkshire countryside.  How did the dream for such a creative business come about, and what were the most important steps you took to make it happen?

    I had had a little dream about having a shop of my own with a studio attached.  You see, when I took my lamps to trade shows I always noticed other makers who were working with light and making beautiful glowing work. We all sold our work to craft galleries up and down the country but as far as I knew there wasn’t a gallery which specialised in lighting. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do. I kept a little sketchbook of ideas (I found it the other day and it’s so lovely to look back on and see how it turned into something real) and kept an eye on shops that were coming up for rent. Fortuitously a shop that was just round the corner from my house became available and suddenly my little dream was becoming a reality. I was lucky because I knew the owner and he gave me a good rent and was really supportive. I did it on a shoestring. I borrowed a bit of money from my Dad and worked really hard to set everything up. I was terrified I have to say and the night before I opened I remember saying ‘I have never even worked in a shop and I have no idea what I am doing’! My friend said ‘just do it in your own way’. That was very good advice that I still draw on!

    5)    Did you have any setbacks along the way?  How did you deal with them?

    There have been some setbacks along the way usually in the manufacturing side of things! Like last year, the company that I used to buy my plastic lamp fasteners from changed the type plastic that they used to make them. These poppers had been working completely fine for eight years and suddenly they just wouldn’t hold my lamps together anymore and the poppers were popping off all over the place. They said they would sort it out but weeks turned into months and my ‘good’ poppers were dwindling. I had to take old lamps apart to salvage the parts just to get orders out. In the end I had to get my own popper manufactured. It was very costly but absolutely necessary.  

    …now my fairy light paper has been discontinued …there’s always something to work out. It’s just part of it!

    6)    What made you take the decision to also stock other artists’ work?

    It was other artist’s work that inspired the idea in the first place. That’s really what it was about. There was (and still is) so much fantastic crafted lighting out there. It is my pleasure to bring it all together.

    7)    What do you love most about having your own studio and shop?

    This week I had a new idea for some designs and I have been very excited and at times thoroughly absorbed in the creative process. I love that feeling and I love that this is my job! I also love working in a beautiful glowing environment surrounded by things that have been made by amazingly talented artists and makers.

    8)    What are the main advantages and disadvantages of selling from a physical location versus selling online?

    I considered once just having Radiance online but it just didn’t feel satisfying. I would miss showing things to people and seeing their reactions face to face. It’s lovely to get direct feedback from people even if that’s just people walking around the shop saying ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’. I have made some good friends from having the shop too. There’s always a sense of possibility. You never know who’s going to walk in through the door.

    The disadvantages are that you HAVE to be there always. This is quite good for discipline I guess, it keeps me in the workshop but sometimes it can feel tying.

    9)    What is the single most important thing you have done (or piece of advice you have been given) that has helped grow your creative business?

    Julia Cameron who wrote ‘The Artists Way’ says that you have to ‘show up at the page’. These things, our creative dreams are not going to do themselves. They won’t just happen on their own. You have to go there – to your studio, or your computer, or your empty shop that needs fitting, to the scary blank white page, and that is where you give things the chance to happen.  

    10)   What is your next big dream for your business?

    I guess the big dream is to keep being able to do this for many happy years to come. I haven’t any major plans at the moment, just lots of little things. I have lots of ideas for new designs which I am excited about. I’ve just taken on full time staff at Radiance to free me up a little and give me more development time. We are planning a new Radiance website for later on in the year and I’m in the throes of researching and writing book on Contemporary Craft Lighting. It’s busy but it’s all good!

    ***

    All images courtesy of Hannah Nunn.  For more information on Hannah see her personal website, shop site, Etsy or blog, connect on Facebook or Twitter (@hannahnunnlamps), or join us at the Do What You Love retreat and ask Hannah your questions directly!

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    More inspiring interviews with people doing what they love

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  9. E-course feature: Lara Schlotterbeck, UN worker, world traveller, celebrity media liaison and yoga teacher

     

    I am so excited about the stellar line-up of inspiring people whose interviews will feature in the upcoming Do What You Love ecourse.  If you haven’t signed up already, register now!  Class starts on March 14 and this is not to be missed.  Over the next couple of weeks I will introduce the incredibly inspiring people who are going to share their thoughts, insights and advice in a series of juicy interviews for the Do What You Love e-course.

    Today I am excited to announce that we will have an exclusive interview with Lara Schlotterbeck, UN worker, world traveller, celebrity media liaison and yoga teacher. 

    Join us in class to hear Lara talk about how our dreams grow and expand, about the importance of constantly stretching yourself, and how to tune into your passion.   Class starts on March 14 for six weeks. Register now!

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    Other exclusive interviews on the e-course include:

    • Holly Morris, the original adventure diva.  Holly is executive producer of award-winning PBS documentary ‘Adventure Divas’, correspondent for ‘Lonely Planet Treks in America’ and author of  ‘Adventure Divas: Searching the globe for a new kind of heroine’.  Hear Holly’s thoughts on living a life filled with adventure, doing what you love. 
    • Christine Mason Miller, artist and author of ‘Ordinary Sparkling Moments: reflections on success and contentment’.   Hear Christine talk about cultivating awareness, and noticing the beauty all around, to help you identify your passion and ultimately do what you love. 
    • Clare Mulvany, author of ‘One Wild Life: A journey to discover the people who change our world’

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    About the e-course

    This online adventure will take you step-by-step on a path to discovering your true passion, and finding a way to make it a greater part of your everyday life.

    In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and use this to feed your creative soul.   You will travel this path with a community of like-minded people from across the world, sharing your stories, forging new connections, and inspiring each other.

    Based on the principle that adventure fuels creativity, a rich combination of thought-provoking posts, juicy interviews and stories will be shared, along with journal prompts, photo exercises, tools to help you on your path and fun weekly missions.

     If you throw yourself into it, you will emerge more confident, more curious and much more likely to end up doing what you love.

    Do What You Love. Register now!

  10. *Shared Stories* (1): Clare Mulvany and Cara Tilson

    sharedstories

    Today is Valentine’s Day and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all the love in the world than launching *Shared Stories*, a new series of guest posts which shares the stories of people determined to do what they love.

    Some stories talk of triumph, others despair.  They all involve bravery, belief, courage and hope.  They are real stories about real people chasing their dreams, and making choices and sacrifices which allow them to do what they love, for life.  Every Monday this will become a space for sharing those stories.

    It takes courage to share, and I hope you will read them, relate to them, be inspired by them, and leave a comment about them at the end.

    The stories shared here are our shared stories.   “Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams…”  WB Yeats

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    Sharing their stories today are Clare Mulvany and Cara Tilson.

    Clare is author of ‘One Wild Life: A journey to discover people who change our world’  , which she wrote after a year travelling the globe seeking out extraordinary people.  She now lives in Ireland.

    UK-based Cara is artistic, and creative, but (in her words) ‘too busy doing nothing to do what she loves’.  It sounds like this is the year that all that will change…

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    Clare Mulvany


    There is a phrase which holds me to account, and it goes like this: ‘The work we are called to do is a place where ‘our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet’”. This is where I call home.

    For as long as I remember I have been looking for that place. My search has brought me on incredible adventures, inwardly and outwardly. By asking tough questions and seeking viable, real solutions, the search has taken me around the world. From China to Tonga, from Zambia to New Zealand, I’ve visited schools and hospitals, slums and settlements, people’s homes and people’s hearts. Along the way I’ve discovered more about this place which I believe we are all called to: the confluence where ‘deep gladness’ and ‘the world’s deep hunger’ meet.

    Here, in this place, ‘win win’ is written all over it. When we give, we get. When we serve, we are served. When we embrace deep, delirious, delectable possibility, we are given deep, abundant and rich opportunity. It is a lesson which keeps repeating itself. One day, I hope to live it.

    My search for this place has carried a momentum that has pulled me towards my own centre. When I am there, I have learned I have more to give. There, I have been my happiest, most hopeful, most creative and authentically compassionate self. However, this place is not always easy or comforting. It can unsettle and jolt, move and alarm. I have been confronted with my own fears and failures. I’ve witnessed poverty that just should not be, and injustice which is so far from humane it is falling off an edge, sometimes nearly sending me with it. But still, my search has continued. Whatever the conditions, the journey has remained a constant adventure, rich with insight. And I know there is still so much more to learn.

    You see, setting out to find this place, there is no path. There is no set route. There is no one telling you the easiest way. There are no maps. Yet, by tuning into my own navigation system (gut instinct) and trusting in my own longings, I have found lighthouses, beaming out beacons of direction. When the light shines, I have learned to follow.

    Lighthouse one: My first real teaching experience was as a volunteer in a school in Tonga when I was 18. The school had just opened and was experimenting with new teaching methodologies. They had hired a progressive principle who wanted to incorporate an interactive, multiple disciplinary learning style (based on the Multiple Intelligence work of Harvard professor Howard Gardner). Wow. I loved it. I loved seeing kids learn maths through music, and English through art. The experience in that school lit me up.  I knew that education was going to be a part of doing what I loved to do. I listened.

    Lighthouse two: The other thing about living on Tonga was this: here was I, on a remote Pacific Island, learning that just because a country may be deemed as ‘third world’, it does not have to be considered ‘third rate’. I learned that quality is a matter of seeing, not a matter of resource. And with that a spark for international development was lit and the seeds of my interest in social entrepreneurship sown. Deep inside I must have been listening.

    Other lighthouses have appeared along my way too. When I first took up my camera, my hands and eyes came alive. I started to see the extraordinary in the ordinary and beauty and wonder at ever twist and turn. My camera gave me a new lens, a new way of making sense of the world. What’s more, I realised that I could engage people in a bigger picture when I turned my lens to bear witness to the world’s deep hunger. When people started responding to the images, I knew photography and documentary would be part of my journey .So by tuning into my internal ‘excitement’ radar, I new I was getting closer to the place. I listened.

    (‘Elini’ by Clare Mulvany, taken in Tonga)

    Right now, as I type this, the light is on. The place feels close. The contribution real. Words and stories I know are elements of doing what I love, and so I am listening.

    I could go on. There have been many guides and beaming lights. There have been teachers and friends to support and challenge. There have been tough lessons, misunderstanding, uncertainty, doubt and setbacks. But through them all I hear that place calling again, and I somehow find a way through.

    Luckily, we all have an in-built navigation system. Learning to tap into it is key. The two elements in particular that help to steer the course are our gut instinct and sense of trust.

    When I have trusted, I’ve got there safer and faster. When I have trusted, I’ve turned up at the right place, at the right time, with the right words in the right way. When the path has not been clear but I have listened to my gut, I have been supported to clear my own path.

    So listen. Listen to where the light shines, and you will be called to that place too; the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

    I’ll meet you there. 

    All images courtesy of Clare Mulvany. For more info on Clare see her website, One Wild Life.

    NB: An exclusive interview with Clare will be featured in the upcoming Do What You Love e-courseJoin us in class to hear Clare talk about her journey, the risks of the road, and the gifts she came back with

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    Cara Tilson

    Do what you love. Do what you love.

    Words that rang through my ears all afternoon at work.  I kept going back to this blog, ‘Do what you love’.  And was I doing what I love?  Was I heck!  I was sat stuck in an office typing letters, dreaming of a better day.

    In reality, it’s all there in front of me.  I’m artistic, creative, full of weird and wonderful ideas.  I have a kind of ‘away with the fairies’ attitude.  I’m a feisty Leo, full of fire in my belly and heart.  But I just don’t know what to do.  Where do I start?

    Baby steps…

    As with everything in my life, it has always been all or nothing.  Because I struggle to do it all, I tend to do nothing.  I fill my days with being soooo busy with doing nothing it frustrates me.  When I say I’m busy doing nothing, I really mean that.  I get to the end of my day and I’ve been on my feet for most of it, flitting around, but seriously….I have done nothing.

    So, again, baby steps!  This is where I am right now.

    1. Connected with more artistic people I’ve met through social networking
    2. Trawled the net for workshops, ecourses, retreats .  Finding some wonderful inspiriation along the way.
    3. Meeting with a bunch of strangers this Saturday coming to lunch, chat and snap pictures in London (Now this is a huge brave thing for me!)
    4. Agreed to my parents that I WILL make the trip to Australia early next year (even though the thought of flying that distance petrifies me)
    5. And seriously considering spending the 4 days away on the Do What You love Retreat and attending Flora Bowley’s class.  This would REALLY, like seriously, be the most brave, cool thing that I could imagine doing right now.

    I WANT IT ALL AND I WANT IT NOW!  <stamping my feet profusely>

    But the above list will do for starters…

    All images courtesy of Cara Tilson

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    Want to share your story on Do What You Love?  Please contact me for more details

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    Are you doing what you love?

    Join the innovative new e-course which will help expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit and feed your creative soul.

    It will help you identify your passion and find a way to do what you love, for life.

    Class begins March 14.

    Register now

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