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'me on her'
at the end of december a card came in the post. a print of a cherry tree in bloom growing atop a whimsical creature. ephemeral and calming in palette. romantic and endearing in scene. a kind of creation that uninhibited imagination would conjure up. on reverse she wrote neatly in black ink that i inspired her to 'be a big dreamer, never stop being creative and also sometimes just stop and admire small things’. i smiled. grinned even. because that is exactly what she inspires me to be and do. and none more so than when she herself feels uninspired. she starts up conversations of raw, vulnerable and honest kind. she is hard on herself seeking, yet gentle on those seeking alongside her. we have not yet met in real life. i hope one day our paths do cross. till then, her card is safely tucked into my notebook, one i scribble in when i want to understand what it is that i am feeling. quietly inspiring me between the pages to seek and create
'on what creative living means to her'
i can’t recall a day when i wasn’t creating. for me living on this earth in the first place is creating. it doesn’t really matter if this is something huge or small. the feeling of something that was born in your imagination appearing in real life and becoming tangible is giving me the energy. i never think too long before plunging into a new project or new ideas - if my hearts starts feeling faster when I think about it - i go for it
when I was a kid i used to do all kind of things - as mostly all kids do. i was growing older and even being a teenager i didn’t feel myself without making. i was embroidering, knitting as my mom taught me, writing poetry, prose, painting and designing clothes. i have a very good friend and we always were spending summer days at the huge balcony in her house. it was our sanctuary and all the craziest ideas came out of that place. we hid from the whole world and let our imagination work. i once created a big piece of poetry about my classmates. i wrote some words about them i loved all of them sincerely. they read it and they made me read it aloud, how embarrassing it might sound. then the teachers heard about it and i had to make copies of that notebook on xerox machine so they gave it to other teachers and so on. it was a piece of funny, sincere and wholehearted poetry that i am afraid i might not be able to write again. such things can’t be repeated
that how i imagine my creative living - making something for myself in the first place but then it will help people, make them happier and more fulfilled. there was a period in my life when i was studying in university and i had to work, no time left for creativity. that were the hardest times for me. i didn’t feel alive and whole without making, so at the end of my studies i started photographing everything with my phone. i didn’t have instagram yet and i didn’t know anything about photography, but there was some inner desire to show people how i see this world, how it is reflected in my eyes
at this moment i am in a constant search for myself. it feels like creative living now is creating myself. trying all kinds of arts, fitting different crafts on myself, looking for things that would fit my image of the world and also help other people. creating vehemently, self-obliviously, disconcertingly - until i find the thing that would feel absolutely 'mine'
'on why she creates'
for a very long time i was thinking that i am creating because it can somehow change the world. now i also believe this but from the other perspective. i do it because it helps me to change. when i create i grow. when i grow i can help other to do the same. i do it to break the walls that i once built for myself and hid behind them. i do it to show myself that i don’t need to follow the ridiculous rules that i made for myself alone. i do it in order to tackle that terrible self-doubt and some distorted image of how i should be and what i am supposed to achieve. it may sound nonsense, but i create in order to destroy. i want to destroy that hard shell around true me that i
have made through the years. and if i fail in my creativity - that is even better. because it will show me that being perfect is okay. being light-hearted and not always so responsible is fine. being a human and not an illusion of a perfect daughter, wife and sister is absolutely great
'on how she feels when creating'
it has been one of the most powerful emotions - the feeling of butterflies in my tummy that lasts since the moments when ideas comes into my head until i start making it. i think i have it from my father. when he has an idea he just can’t wait. he goes all in. spends money, time and energy and he loves it
the same with me. when i want to do something it’s so hard to wait. i need to go buy materials for my sewing, or write a poem right in the middle of a workout - no matter where i am - there is no such thing as patience when it comes to creating
the same with photos. when i have an idea i want to do it right away. it’s a pain sometimes because in photography there should be a combination of many things to make it work - light, time and circumstances. one day i did a stupid thing while being on a work trip. i so desperately wanted to take a photo with a mirror in a hotel (it was a really nice vintage one) that i took it from the bathroom into a room. i took a photo, it was nice, but i dropped the mirror after that. sometimes i have to pay for my impatience and creative rush
the main thing in my creativing is not a result, it’s the process. it is the moment when i do it that gives me most satisfaction and energy. i tend to get lost and the outer world can’t reach me at those moments. for example when i am working on some new piece of sewing i forget that i have to do work around the house, i have to go eat and stuff like that. i know this is not always right but i just can’t stop. it makes me feel so alive
'on her earliest memories of creating'
my family is not working as creatives but they are certainly very talented and creative people. my mom was knitting beautiful sweaters at the time when there was barely anything for sale in ukraine at the beginning of 90ies. she was looking for some foreign knitting magazines and doing brave designs that other people would never think about. my dad does everything by his hand. he can build a city by himself. they taught me that anything can be done by your own hand and mind if you really want it
but some of the earliest memories of some crazy creativity was me embroidering. i loved cross-stitch so much that i spend all my summer holidays doing it. i had a blanket and pillow that i took outside the house; i was sitting in the cherry garden and embroidering for many hours in a row. my grandma showed me some basic stitches and i made a piece by piece. they are still hanging on the wall in my parents’ house. those summer days were the best - a nice shadow of a cherry tree, a cup of tea and i am sitting there all covered in tangled threads, trying to finish the piece of embroidery until my parents come back from work so i might show it to them and they will smile
'on what inspires her'
my biggest inspiration is people who are not afraid to go against the stream. i have always been lacking courage and do something that might not seem right. strangely may it sound but i am inspired by rebels - people who do things that society would expect them to do. people, who drop their jobs to create their own small business, people who don’t get discouraged when they fail. i look at them and they give me strength, because they are living, they don’t waste their time. even if they fail, they tried - and it takes up some guts to do it
and my other source of inspiration is nature. i grew up in a small town, lived in a big house near the forest, lake and we had a big garden. it was very simple life, with a lot of work outside, helping around the garden, having dirty nails and heels, running barefoot in the morning and touching the grass wet from dew. me and my brother spend all the free time outside, so now i try all my best to get the most from the nature which surrounds me here, in a big city i live in now. my heart is longing for a backyard with trees and grass, and most of my ideas come when i go for a walk in the field or in the forest
nature is simple, and at the same time very mysterious. all the plants, insects, animals live in harmony. yes, the world of nature is also not very perfect but at least you can see how all parts of it fit together, i love seeing the change of seasons, contemplating on it. i love the change in how the air smell in all different parts of the year. i am totally a countryside person and hope soon enough i would be able to spend more time outside of the city
'on what creating taught her about herself'
i have learnt that i can do much more than i expect. people started saying me many things that i can never believed - that i am talented, that my work helps them. i learned that i am much more worth that i thought. and i am still struggling with these self-worth issues, but with creating it’s becoming easier. diminishing my value was a normal thing for me. with opening up to people and showing my work i learned that i have been way too harsh on myself. accepting the fact that i matter was the biggest thing for me
i am undergoing a very interesting and at the same time vulnerable period in my life. the struggle between old me that is afraid and new me who want to be brave and making a leap. when i don’t know what to do - i create. even if it not something great, i just do it for myself. i paint, i write, i photograph. it’s me first who needs this to move forward. and at the same time creating gives me a chance to slow down and feel
sometimes i think what is my WHY - what is the purpose. and i came up with an answer that the purpose should not be huge. it can be as simple as that. because creating is ME. the same as i have brown hair and green eyes, i can’t live without being a maker and creator, and it doesn’t matter what exactly i create, but as long as it is not harmful for me and the world - it is my way of saying - i love this life and this world. saying every day, each minute and hearing as the world says it back
'on how she lets herself know she is loved by her'
it’s interesting, because i chose 'balance' as my word for 2018. but it’s been three months since then and haven’t thought thoroughly about how i can make my life more balanced. one of the areas that definitely need some 'balancing' is my online/offline life. i try to limit my time on web, because it’s eating up all my free time and i have not so much of it at the moment. when i feel overwhelmed (and it happened often recently) i just go for a walk with my dog. i don’t bring my phone with me. other way is to go for a run outside
walking with a dog requires my attention because i have to look after him and play with him, so i forget about all other things. when i go for a run, my body feels so good and mind has some time to rest and become clearer. i often forget that first of all i have to be kind to myself and only then hear this from other people. and in most cases its other people, like you, who remind me about that. being in the loving community, talking to people and taking some downtime give me that valuable balance
'on three things that are part of her everyday'
- my black notebook: i love paper more than any other objects. i have so many notebooks but this is the first one that i use every day for my notes. it is made in ukraine by one very talented brand and it’s simple and practical, but at the same time very beautiful. i love writing in it in the morning - what i am grateful for, what do i feel, some poetry. i always carry it with me in a backpack, and soon the clear pages will be over. i am glad that the inner part can be replaced and i will start it all over again. journaling is one of the habits that i want to build and do it consistently - writing had a very good effect on me - calming down emotions, bringing mindfulness, clarity of mind and sticking the stickers is so much fun
- my vintage coffee grinder: i was strolling along the flea market on a sunny summer day and i have seen it - a perfect old and rusty outside, but new and working inside, this austrian coffee grinder. every morning i put the handful of coffee beans in it and turn the handle. it produces the most ridiculous loud sound - scratchy and old, but it’s like a music to my ears. it wakes me up better than coffee itself and all my neighbors probably feel the effect too. i like freshly ground coffee with a hint of nutmeg, cinnamon stick and sometimes even ginger. my hand-made mug serves well for slow sipping and hand warming. one of the quietest times of the day
- old table: when we moved into this rent apartment, there was only one piece of furniture in a room - big old table. its legs were shaky and it was full of pots with some dead house plants. my husband fixed the legs and now i can't imagine my days without it. it’s a place for my work and dreaminess. i move it almost every day, and we moved it to different rooms at least four times. it’s not an expensive table and it’s falling apart but so many projects were done thanks to it. i love when it’s clean - there is so much space on it. when i have a clean table and only pen and paper - inspiration is visiting me more often because it knows that i have space for it. i know that when one day we will move to our own space we would have to leave this old table here. and i already feel nostalgic about it
'on how hearing a song she listened to when she was thirteen makes her feel now'
first, 'the nostalgia machine' just sucked me in. i already created a queue of songs and i will be listening to them all day long. second, my choice felt on a song 'you and me' by lifehouse. that was a legendary band when i was a teenager and my romantic soul responded to all their sweet lyrics and guitar melodies
the words that struck me today were:
everything she does is beautiful
everything she does is right
how much I want that 'everything i do will be right', but of course you never know what exactly is the right choice. the only way is to stick to the first line and strive to do everything in my life in a beautiful way