“There is a juiciness to creativity, a succulence, or a sensuality which both produces and is soothed by creating something. I think that creativity is pleasing to women on a very deep level, whatever form it might take – whether it’s the feel of clay in our hands, the colours that work on us as we knit, the meaning that we find in the words that we write, or the energizing feel of movement as we dance and the music moves through our bodies.”Lucy Pearce in Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted (2019)
I had the unexpected pleasure of a working staycation at the Folk Tree Lodge in the foothill town of Bragg Creek, Alberta a few weeks ago. Invited to bring my scribing skills to a women’s creators retreat, I packed a few requisite mountain weather layers of clothing , and with my writing pens, paper pads, and camera, “caught” women’s words as we sat in circle to learn about, talk about, and play about living a creative life, about being creators.
Yes, one of our hosts, Theo Harasymiw, an established mosaic artist, invited us into activities and stations to experience different forms of creative expression – foraging, mosaic, collage, print and stamping, writing. But her constant, consistent message throughout was that of giving value and making time for the creative process as a way of living – a way of life.
So, prepare an area, make it accessible,
easy to invite Creativity into.
The product is the product. The process is the gift.
“At its most basic level, of course, creativity is about making stuff. Taking something like wool and turning it into a sweater. Or creating less tangible things, like taking the germ of an idea and turning it into reality. But more than all of that, creativity to me is a way of thinking and problem-solving, an imaginative approach to living. Creativity helps us to be more fully alive on every level, asking that we engage with life in a visceral and interactive way.”Lucy Pearce in Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted (2019)
Each of us around the circle had plenty of experience creating – both in the traditional ways of making of art and writing, photography, crafting within cultural traditions – and in the less obvious ways of choices made in our professional and personal lives – the work we designed, ways we care for others, and serve our communities.
The healing question of one who cares,
to create in the voice of theirs.
If I could, I’d ditch this for that,
make the changes with my confines
choose quality, longer lasting imprints
beyond just the task.
Aware of children’s Souls and that
Souls need attention.
So, the constraints and confines in which
stoke an internal fire that’s unstoppable.
I write. I photograph. I dabble, especially when travelling, in pen and ink, water colour sketches. I collage. I call myself a kindergarten knitter. I stitch and sew, though not so much so. I cook with a self claimed specialization of making one-off silk purses from leftovers. Yet I know the extent to which I question and compartmentalize creativity, asking does sewing count? Or cooking if it’s not gourmet? It’s still something I do – if and when – and not yet always, a way of understanding “this is who I am.”
I “caught” that same struggle in the words of the women sitting in circle:
Not the visual art, but the Soul’s art:
Do we see it?
Can we be it?
Do we show it?
Do we value it?
Does it have to be just one thing?
Can we make our life a collage of it all?
The clarion call of Creativity:
I see it outside me.
I feel in inside me.
The obligation to hear my Soul’s calling
to live it out loud.
When our fear becomes our greatest obstacle
the offering from one who listens deeply
between the words
within the spaces
brings us all a peace.
“Reclaiming our own particularly female forms of creativity is a critical part of reinstating the undervalued feminine principle in the world, but it’s not as easy as it sounds to do that – the societal conditioning which pushes us in other directions can be so complete.”Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted (2019)
How life as we’ve been taught, lived, worked, earned
pushed and pulled
squashed and beat
creativity into submission
imagination into flat line
Insists on a blue sky, a yellow sun, green grass, a red wagon.
“Stop playing.” “Get real.”
“Consciously or unconsciously we know that to be a creative woman can entail huge risk. And this is what we have to overcome…this is why my driving passion is to empower women and inspire them to get their work out there, so that the world is full of our vibrant voices, creations, dreams. Our world needs all the colour and innovation we can give right now.”Lucy Pearce in Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted (2019)
This was the driving force behind the retreat – a response to hearing the yearning in women’s voices to reclaim that which through their lives had been lost. To invite a small group of women into a care-fully designed and lovingly hosted experience to playfully welcome back their vibrant voices, creations and dreams.
We’re in a new future
finding the strength
being the support
to innovate our way
to co-create a new space
to let our Souls soar.
We lift the veil of our beingness
to make the invisible visible.
That’s the voice of our Soul
when we let our Souls soar.
I never dreamt it could be so good
a pivot to a promise
the flow into what can be
when women pull together.
Such a sweet pleasure for me to witness, to play, to catch our words and weave into poem stories…to be and bring my creative self in service of this gathering.
My love made visible…one of a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the earth.
Much love and kindest regards, dear friends.