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  1. Creative Connection people

     

    (Left: Jo Packham, right: Leslie Shewring)

    For me The Creative Connection event was all about the people.  It was a huge event with over 700 creatives gathered from across the US and futher afield, each with something to share and a curiosity to learn from others.  It was a fantastic opportunity to hear from and meet some truly inspiring women from this community – people like co-founders Jo Packham and Nancy Soriano, Holly BeckerLilla Rogers, Janine Vangool (Editor of Uppercase), Kathy Cano-Murillo (Crafty Chica), Karen Walrond, and Stampington Editor-in-Chief Christen Olivarez

    I was privileged to host two panels which ignited lively discussion and provided valubale insights – with Kelly Rae Roberts, Leigh Standley (Curly Girl Designs), Kathy Hanson and author Linda Ellis on one panel and foodie business owners Celeste Shaw, Laurie Crowell and Marie Dwyer on the other.

    It was also so much fun to spend time with friends I have made through the blogosphere, like Liv Lane, Catherine Just, TJ Goerlitz and Petra Kern.

    So many people, so little time…  But it was wonderful!

    ***

    Today is the last day to sign up for the Do What You Love e-course.  It will not run again until 2012!  More details here – don’t miss out!

  2. Final call: Work placement opportunity with Do What You Love

     

    I am opening up the doors of Do What You Love for a four-week work placement beginning Monday October 24. (***Please note this is a local opportunity for someone based in or near Leeds, UK). 

    Do What You Love is a young, dynamic company at an exciting stage of growth. This is a rare opportunity to contribute to a number of pioneering projects and see behind-the-scenes of a creative start-up.

    Do What You Love offers tools and inspiration to help others do what they love for life. This includes luxury creative retreats and online education, including flagship e-course Do What You Love which has been described as ‘life-changing’, ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘transformational’. I am currently collaborating on a number of groundbreaking projects with British and American artists, including The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design featuring Rachael Taylor, and Hello Soul Hello Business with mixed media artist Kelly Rae Roberts.

    You will be encouraged to take the initiative and be creative in the way you work. New ideas are always welcome at Do What You Love!

     

    Do What You Love is looking for someone who is friendly, motivated, creative, design-savvy and keen to learn about running and growing a creative business. Ideally you will have the following skills and experience:

    • A solid grasp of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
    • A good understanding of WordPress (or experience of blogging which would allow you to pick this up quickly)
    • A background or strong interest in art and/or design
    • A solid grasp of social media (Facebook, Twitter etc)

    If you are interested please contact me for more details at: beth [at] dowhatyouloveforlife [dot] com. Completed applications are due by Friday October 7 latest. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested!

    NB: Although some work can be carried out remotely, much of it will be at the Do What You Love office in Leeds, UK.

    ***

    The Do What You Love e-course is underway for the last time this year!  You can still just about squeeze in – register here!

  3. Hanging out with Jesse Reno

    Do you remember I told you about an explosive painting class I took back in February with the one-of-a-kind self-taught creative fireball Jesse Reno

    Well he kindly invited me to his studio in Portland and I spent some time learning more about his life as a painter, playing with his dog and marvelling at his raw unique paintings.  It was a blast! 

    I went along with Flora Bowley (see below) and here are some of the photos from our visit to his fabulous airy studio, which he shares with his talented wig-maker/fashion designer girlfriend Lara.

    If you ever get the chance to take a class with him, do it.  It will blow your painting mind!

     ***

    The Do What You Love e-course has just got underway for the last time this year. 

    If you sign up now you can just squeeze in – don’t miss out! 

    Register here

  4. *shared stories*: (31) Sue Ann Gleason and Nicole Docimo

    sharedstories***

    Today’s *shared stories* come from artist Nicole Docimo and nutritionist Sue Ann Gleason

    ***

    Nicole Docimo

    A funny thing happens when you become an adult.  All of the things you imagined for so long as a kid come along, but they’re nothing like you though they would be. I’m not sure I had a completely specific idea about what being an adult would be like, but when I began to arrive there at the ripe old age of 22, I knew I didn’t imagine my life to look like it did – a college graduate with a seemingly direction-less degree (English), jumping from one miserable job to the next. “This can’t be my life!” I would exclaim to myself as I railed against another dwindling weekend, feeling physically ill about the coming Monday morning call to the office, or shop, or wherever I happened to be working at the time.

    Six years later, I’m writing this from a quiet second story room that is my art studio and office. My favorite poster hangs on the wall declaring, “Make Art, Not War.” This has become my motto, and I get to live by it every day doing art as my career.

    Perhaps the difference between childhood fantasy and reality is that in real life there is no moment of arrival—when I look back over the past six years I don’t find any decisive moment that took me from nowhere to here, instead I find some luck and magic, some hard work, many fears and frustrations, and a lot of questions.

    It is a stroke of luck that 5 years ago, I was in a writing group and someone shared a chapter from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and I bought the book and read it a year later.  It changed me.

    It is also a stroke of luck that I was so miserable at work that I felt desperate to find something else, and so I looked back into my past and remembered that the one thing I had always wanted to be was an artist. It was an act of defiance and hope for me to sit down and start making art, and to keep doing that over and over again for months, wading through the fear and mental objections. It was an act of dreaming when I decided to start an art blog four years ago just to see what would happen, and then later a stroke of magic when one sweet woman asked if she could buy one of the drawings I posted, which then convinced me I could start an online art shop.

    Since then, every day has been an interweaving of miracles, and hope, and longing and fear, and overcoming fear, and just making it, and flying on the wings of art, and peace and delight and exhilaration. In short: every day is an adventure.  And this is the part I really never could have imagined or understood as a child—that there would be no ‘there’ (in terms of ‘getting there’), and that every day I would be asked the question “What would you like to make your life about today?”  And I that I would get to choose my answer.

    It’s easy to say “Do what you love,” but what does it really mean? To me it means choosing over and over again to let your heart sing every day through what you do, in any way you can (big or small). It can’t be contained in any box – like ‘artist’, ‘doctor’, or ‘coach’ -but it lives in your heart like a little fire that you tend to by choosing one thing over another. You know you have begun to find your way when you feel the vast expanse and the play of it, the endless possibilities—the sense that there is no bottom.

    For me, it means getting up every day and asking myself, “What would I like to make?” and looking out into wide blue infinity for an answer. In my latest adventure it means getting a printing press and playing around with wooden letters.  It means staring out the window at birds and photographing clouds, or scrawling across pages with my trusty black pen.

    It doesn’t always feel easy.  Some days I would rather stay in bed or watch old silly romantic comedies all day.  But this is the other part—it will challenge you to look into every part of yourself. Art has nudged me along every day through miracles and trials, and I’ve trudged uphill, swam across rivers and rolled down hillsides full of wildflowers. And I keep going one footstep at a time. The journey continues.

    [Images courtesy of Nicole Docimo.  Find out more about Nicole on her blog, or visit her shop.]

    ***

    Sue Ann Gleason

    I am a food lover, food writer, and food-based healer. (aka: culinary nutritionist) I started my business because I wanted to create a delicious approach to radiant health. But the road has been a little bumpy.  You see, before I set off to study every form of mind-body-health and nutritional science I could get my Type-A hands on, I was simply a happy, “healthy” food lover.  Or so I thought.

    And then, I lost my health and found it again through a deep, introspective look at the food I was eating, or not eating when I was on one of my extreme diet or exercise regimes.  And when I found the courage to dig a little deeper, I discovered it wasn’t only about the food. My beautifully complex life needed more than just the application of glorious greens and fresh vegetable juices.  Non-stop, copiously compulsive Type A overachiever.  That was me. I used to shave one leg in the morning and one at night to save time. My calendar was color-coded. Even “spontaneous” moments had a color—blue.   I was proud of my resourcefulness. I was an accomplished multi-tasker and it even earned me the distinction Teacher of the Year.

    Taking on a health crisis was, for me, just another project. I attacked it with tenacity. I started studying things like cellular rejuvenation through raw food nutrition. I climbed into bed with The Autoimmune Epidemic instead of my favorite memoir.  My body became a human laboratory. And I healed.

    But old habits die-hard. Even in healing mode, I found a way to live life in the extremes. It started with my raw food journey. Instead of reveling in the vibrant colors and textures of homegrown tomatoes, ravishing red peppers, crunchy cucumbers and glorious greens, a meal became a contest. Anything less than 100 percent raw somehow became less nourishing than its cooked counterpart. 

    There I was—immersed in my new career with more degrees, studies, certifications, awards, and endorsements than I knew what to do with—surrounded by healthy, like-minded nutrition gurus and healers, when I came to the striking realization . . .  I WASN’T HAVING ANY FUN.

    I found myself longing for the companionship of food-loving friends who appreciated beautiful, wholesome meals, and . . . CHOCOLATE.  One blustery weekend, I attended an Integrated Health Symposium in New York City. You know, the kind of conference that fills both your brain and your CEO bucket.  The presenters were brilliant. The information was cutting-edge. But the exhibit hall was filled with powders, potions, pills, bars, and supplements. I was trying to find my way out of the tangle, bumping into voracious vendors hawking their wares, when a bright-eyed gentleman blocked my path,

    “Our products come from whole food botanicals, optimally cultivated, fair trade and sustainable, rich in human compatible/absorbable vitamins, minerals, EFA oils and antioxidants, especially vitamins C and E. Do you use super food powders with your clients?” he asked.  “No, I use food,” I replied.  Though, admittedly, I was impressed with the number of words that spilled out of his mouth in just one sentence.  That was a pivotal moment. I knew it was time to reclaim my relationship with real food, all food, fun food, and start hanging out with people who actually ate it.

    So, I tried a little experiment. What happens when you take away all the fear-based notions around food and health and you just focus on the blissful benefits of consuming colorful, vibrant meals?  What happens when you slow down and enjoy what you’re eating?  What happens when you shift the pace of your life and make a commitment to engage in at least one delicious activity each day that makes you laugh?  What happens when you start eating chocolate for breakfast?

    I can tell you, ‘my’ life changed. I didn’t throw away my credentials or the gazillion books I had collected on biochemical imbalances or nutritional theories.  But I did create a shift in my life and in my practice. I discovered that I have a unique gift. I can transform even the most contracted eater on the planet. I know how to laugh. I know how to use my creative powers to get to the heart of their nutritional stories because I’ve explored the shadows and contradictions in my own story. And I am passionate about my work as a culinary nutritionist, because embedded in this work, is a heartfelt mission: that we take back our plates, one luscious bite at a time. 

    [Image courtesy of Sue Ann Gleason. Sue Ann, founder of Conscious Bites Nutrition, is a Washington DC-based culinary nutritionist, dynamic eating psychology coach, speaker, and writer. Find out more about Sue Ann on her website or her blog]

    ***

    See here for more inspiring *shared stories*

    ***

    The Do What You Love e-course starts TODAY!  This is the last time it will run this year.  If you want to identify your passion and find a way of making it a bigger part of your life, join people from all over the world and register now!  It could be the most influential six weeks of your life…

     

  5. Work placement opportunity with Do What You Love!

    I am opening up the doors of Do What You Love for a four-week work placement beginning Monday October 24. 

    Do What You Love is a young, dynamic company at an exciting stage of growth.  This is a rare opportunity to contribute to a number of pioneering projects and see behind-the-scenes of a creative start-up. 

    Do What You Love offers tools and inspiration to help others do what they love for life.  This includes luxury creative retreats and online education, including flagship e-course Do What You Love which has been described as ‘life-changing’, ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘transformational’.  I am currently collaborating on a number of groundbreaking projects with British and American artists, including The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design featuring Rachael Taylor, and Hello Soul Hello Business with mixed media artist Kelly Rae Roberts.

    You will be encouraged to take the initiative and be creative in the way you work.  New ideas are always welcome at Do What You Love! 

    Do What You Love is looking for someone who is friendly, motivated, creative, design-savvy  and keen to learn about running and growing a creative business.  Ideally you will have the following skills and experience:

    • A solid grasp of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
    • A good understanding of WordPress (or experience of blogging which would allow you to pick this up quickly)
    • A background or strong interest in art and/or design
    • A solid grasp of social media (Facebook, Twitter etc)

    If you are interested please contact me for more details at: beth [at] dowhatyouloveforlife [dot] com.  Completed applications are due by Friday October 7 latest.  Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else you think might be interested!

    NB: Although some work can be carried out remotely, much of it will be at the Do What You Love office in Leeds, UK.

  6. Captivated

    (image by Kevin Balmer)

    A magical forest, a fantasy land.

    Chaotic and wild in places, serene and dreamy in others.

    A magenta and orange bird sits majestically on a twisted branch, surrounded by teal, gold and snow white leaves.

    A river of dreams rushes beneath – a private Shangri-la.

    As I watch Flora Bowley paint before my eyes, the canvas erupts in an explosion of colour and light. This is painting at its most pure. I have seen every layer of this creation emerge, and have been both thrilled to see beauty blossom across the canvas and shocked to see other parts painted over, where Flora keeps on pushing through to find where the painting really wants to go.

    For me the magic is in the realisation that Flora truly does not know what a painting is going to become when she sets out to create it. This is talent. To have the deep belief that it will become what it will become, and that what it becomes will be beautiful.

    Layer by layer she builds, a rhythmic dance back and forth to coax beauty from the simple materials laid out in front of her.

    Magic is in the air and I am completely under her spell.

    ***

    I have been so privileged to hang out with Flora in her new studio in Portland, OR for the last few days. She is one very special, inspiring lady with an incredible kind of uplifting energy. You can see more of her gorgeous work here

    ***

    The Do What You Love e-course starts on Monday! This is the last time it will run this year, so don’t miss out – join people from all over the world and register now!

  7. A dream collaboration

    Do you ever find yourself wondering how something really good happened?  That is what I am asking myself today, as I sit here in a cafe in Minnesota with internationally renowned mixed media artist and author Kelly Rae Roberts putting the finishing touches on a collaboration which has the potential to rock your world. 

    As someone who has had a huge impact on my own creative journey, the idea of a collaboration with Kelly Rae was for a long time just a distant dream.  But then we talked about it and realised that together we could create something really powerful and important.  After months of hard work, many hours of Skype calls and hundreds of emails later, I am beyond thrilled to announce our pioneering collaborative project, Hello Soul Hello Business.Hello Soul Hello Business was born out of a shared belief that our souls – the essence of who we are – are what make each of us extraordinary, and that if you nurture the soul of your business, no matter what you are selling, it too can be extraordinary.  We share a belief in a refreshing new approach to business that turns traditional practice on its head.  And through inviting you in behind-the-scenes of our own businesses we will explore where passion meets profit, and share that approach with you. 

    We believe an exceptionally successful business connects deeply with its audience – and is the secret of generating profit that you can be proud of.  Just as our individual lives become soulful when we infuse purpose and passion into their existence, we believe businesses are also living, breathing things which thrive when infused with purpose and passion.

    We believe in abundance: that you can get your dream, and when you do, you’ll inspire every inch of your life and all those touched by it.  And we believe that nurturing a successful, soulful business will transform you into an influential leader – however large or small your enterprise – and make you a force for positive change in the world.

    We believe there is another way. One which can result in more beauty, more profit, more genuine joy. And we believe it can work for you and your business.

    We have joined together to start a business revolution, and we hope you will be part of it!  Find out more here

  8. *shared stories* (30): Miriam Miller and Valerie Weller

    sharedstories***

    Today’s *shared stories* come from artists Miriam Miller and Valerie Weller

    ***

    Miriam Miller

    I would say I am on my way for doing what I love in life. I have loved being a mom-which included being a volunteer, a gardener, a friend, a wife, a counselor, a housekeeper, a seamstress, a ‘chef’, a tutor and not last or least an artist. My girls are now in their teens and I feel more free to set time aside to explore my creativity.

    As a child I would draw and sketch and copy pictures. I could spend hours contently by myself in a make believe world of princesses and fairies. The problem was that no one else in my family had any inclination for artsy things. I did not have a support group to help me along and to encourage me to go for it. I struggled with self-doubts on my abilities and waited for anyone to say “you are an artist!”. This has been a lifelong struggle.

    Not until many years later did I try again to draw and sketch and explore. I would make cards and give them away to my close family. I would try new techniques but it wasn’t enough to satisfy my desire to create. I did design a line of rubber stamps and a craft newspaper cover  for a couple of businesses and even went as a far as several prints and some cards. I barely broke even and just felt that I could not do it all on my own. The internet was not a source to start up my venture yet and I was frustrated. I wanted to be inspired! I wanted to be happy!

    The yearnings came back last year stronger than ever. I took Kelly Rae Roberts’s online class ‘Flying Lessons’, I took other classes locally, I bought books and magazines, I researched, I set up a blog,  I searched through other blogs, I painted, I sewed, I rug hooked, I explored jewelry techniques, I drew and kept a journal. I realized that it is what I am and I cannot stop. Right now it isn’t so much the fame and fortune for me but the contentment I get creating. Eventually I would love to find my balance of producing, selling and becoming known. I would love to teach, to write a book and maybe have a line of products.

    The most important thing I have learned is for myself to be happy with what I make. There are no mistakes, just learning, trying, experimenting, trying again and most important loving it!! On my blog I wanted to show my explorations of techniques, my learning and growth. I hope that in a small way I can be there for another creative soul and give encouragement and friendship too. We are all unique!

    My goal is to overcome my huge fear of failure and get noticed!

    I am an artist!!!

    [All images courtesy of Miriam Miller]

    ***

    Valerie Weller

     

    For me, “Doing what I love” is simply about always being in a creative process… When I think about it, I realize that there is no beginning and no end, to the idea of “being creative” for us artsy types. I’ve been told (by my mom) that I came into this world with a crayon in my hand, and therefore assumed, that everyone had one. For as long as I can remember, drawing my own paper dolls, making my own clothes, and creating magazines and newspapers for class projects, were just what I did. Learning about the “joy” of creating along the way, has given me a huge appreciation for art, artistes, and that fabulous process we are so gifted with knowing.

    Today, it’s not so different.  The crayons are now paint, the paper dolls & clothing are now collage, and the magazines and newspapers were years of graphic design.  After many years of building my own freelance graphic design business, I decided it was finally time to take a deep breath, leap, and start persuing my own “art”.For years I painted in watercolor and oil, did decoupage on glass with paper and words, and took workshops to fill me up, while I was working at creating all types of graphic materials for others. (It kind of reminded me of lovingly caring for another’s child, while mine was at home being lovingly cared for, by someone else). I felt a strong yearning to make changes.

    Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s timing… but I started to look at everything I was doing, differently. I felt that I was at that transitional point in my life where I HAD to step out, take that fearful flight, and challenge myself to “create my own body of work” and truly find “the creative path designed for me”. That inner voice was saying, it was time to develop all that I had been dreaming of, while raising the kids, building a business, and living life.

    Painting and creating art has always brought me to a spiritual place of joy~I am at home when I am working with color, and I am full, when I am creating. The greatest lesson I have learned is to “believe”. This process has been slow and steady, but I know that determination, and belief, is what will make it all come together. I am seeing the glimmers in every step.

    Building up my etsy store, doing local shows and art events, creating a website, blogging with the intention of sharing and giving back, are all what I have been focusing on, to get this artistic endeavor started. The financial sacrifice, the confidence building process, and learning how to put myself out there in a different way, is so very challenging. Every step taken, yields a new lesson. I am humbled by, the many talented artists I see reaching for and achieving their dreams. It inspires and makes me hopeful.

    My BIG dream, is to develop a body of work that is representative of my own unique style and will lift the spirit. I know I will be fulfilled, if I can continue creating and seeing “artistically”, while sharing with other’s, a process that can encourage and inspire! This quote seems to define that process… because that process gives me incredible “JOY”! “into the house where JOY lives, happiness will gladly come”~ japanese proverb

    That is where I am at today… striving to “do what I love” in a whole different way.

    [All images courtesy of Valerie Weller. Find out more about Valerie on her blog]

    ***

    See here for more inspiring *shared stories*

    ***

  9. From The Creative Connection

    I’m at The Creative Connection in Minnesota and the energy is fantastic.  I have so much to share, but for now I just wanted to give you a peek into a fantastic class I took with Leslie Shewring yesterday – Crafting with Washi Tape (possibly my dream crafting class!)

    (the postcard used is one of Leslie’s gorgeous photos)

    More soon…

    ***

    The Do What You Love e-course starts very soon…  are you in?

  10. Early bird discount ends tomorrow! Join The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design…

    Just wanted to pop in to remind you that the early bird discount (£20 off) for The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design featuring Rachael Taylor ends tomorrow, so be sure to sign up if you want to benefit from this special launch offer!  Find out more and register here….

    You are going to LOVE it!