When we are faced with political and financial turmoil it brings up many questions about where to put our engergy, what we have to offer, what our purpose is. I have certainly been asking myself these questions, I know Jordan has too, and I suspect we are not alone in that.
Our society can be so dismissive of the value of creativity and it would be easy to start believing it, but now we need creative minds to give us something to live for and new ways to see the world. To bring us together, to make us feel, to remind us what beauty is and that we are capable of it. It can be easy to feel that you are an imposter or the only person finding the journey difficult, especially when you see so much beautiful work out there on socials. But beyond the overwhelm, I wanted to get into the realities of what it takes and how we designers tackle things differently, or perhaps, in many ways, the same.
Here are insights from Eny Lee Parker, Sophie Sellu (Grain and Knot), Amechi Mandi and Sam Klemick. Chosen because they have been key to our journeys in the past year and/or have inspired us from afar. We asked these 4 gentle souls about their approach to keeping productive and moving forward with creativity this year. At the foot of the mountain, how do you begin the climb? How does it feel? What are the tools you choose to employ? What drives you forward?
"You won’t be able to fix all the problems in the world, but if you can focus on your community and pick another that can use your support, that is a great start."
Eny Lee Parker
Eny Lee Parker:
I do love to reflect, I think it’s a great reminder for the things you accomplished, things you’ve missed, and how to move forward. The days are still the same as always, but I enter the new year in my feels.
I’m more pragmatic than conceptual when it comes to my practice. I believe creativity creates more jobs. That is usually the drive and core of my business.
I like participating in the local economy. I like choosing small family owned businesses, and funneling the money in communities that need more spotlight. I believe that is my way of supporting the world, especially in challenging circumstances. You won’t be able to fix all the problems in the world, but if you can focus on your community and pick another that can use your support, that is a great start.
I tend to ACT on my creative side very quickly because I can over analyze and then I lose interest. To me, the creative side becomes more realistic when we try to materialize the project. I like being creative in the process of making something…
Right now, I’m taking a month “semi-sabbatical” in Costa Rica to organize my life admin and plan out a little bit. It’s a privilege and I hope to get back with more energy to pour into others!
"I used to put so much pressure on myself to keep up the pace after being really busy, but it’s a necessary period of reflection and recovery."
Sophie Sellu – Founder of Grain and Knot:
January is always overwhelming for me, I try to go in with optimism but often end up just making sure my space is somewhere I’m happy in. Lots of sorting / tidying and refreshing after a hectic festive period. As soon as my workspace and home are feeling refreshed I start the process of working on a new collection. I used to put so much pressure on myself to keep up the pace after being really busy, but it’s a necessary period of reflection and recovery.
I get out into nature, a long walk to blow out the cobwebs. When I get back I usually get some books out, sit down with my notebook and draw / plan and write out my thoughts. Getting them onto paper makes it easier to understand for me!
I’m currently in the tidying phase and finding clarity sorting through timber. really looking forward to sitting down and getting to designing but I know I can’t force it, it will come when I am ready.
"The world is constantly challenging, has always been"
I’m kinda always working on myself all year round so January is business as usual while staying optimistic for the year ahead.
When I notice I have hit a rut, I simply move away otherwise it will just be a headache. I find something else to do – a distraction, something exciting or just calming, depending on how I feel.
But I don’t think that optimism is a requirement. It is entirely up to the individual or their type of work. The world is constantly challenging, has always been. If one is affected by it one way or another, then it is their choice to use it as material.
"The world feels very heavy and there is a lot of sadness and loss. I use my creativity as a response to challenges, and then in turn I hope to create something that offers optimism."
I love January, The coming of a New Year is the only “holiday” I subscribe to. I see it as a clean slate and a gift to myself as a moment to check in and evaluate the past year but also spend some quiet time mapping out the coming year, with work things but also personal things that I want to focus on and prioritize. I use this as a moment to dream without boundaries, if that makes sense.
The world feels very heavy and there is a lot of sadness and loss. I use my creativity as a response to challenges, and then in turn I hope to create something that offers optimism. I do hope to bring joy or calm through the work that I make.
This year I want to find balance, I want to push my work further than ever, but I also really want to find time to be with the people closest to me. I have a full time job along with my design practice, i think the solution is trying to sort that out and go full time with my design practice…. but its scaryyyyyyyy.
Recently I had a project come up that I physically had no time to give proper thought to, for this I went back into my archives of images to get my wheels turning. I always go back to the same things Margiela’s duvet coat, surreal films with beautiful imagery, listening to the Pixies, and thinking about dreams and comfort. It might seem weird, but I find I can continue to pull ideas from these places.
"To hold on to a glint of beauty,
to remain gentle in the face of brutality,
to keep space for playfulness when no one feels like playing,
to create when it feels hopeless,
this is power."
Russell and Jordan, 2LG Studio