Welcome to the Creative Project! This is the third interview in a series I’m doing with people who are working on a creative passion project in their lives. By ‘creative project’ I don’t mean just things related to the arts – but anything that is about bringing something fresh into the world, creating something that wasn’t there before and drawing on your own creative energy to make it happen.
What is the difference between people who get behind their ideas and make them happen and those who are swimming in ideas but never get moving on them? How are people making time for their creative projects and weaving them into their lives?
What can we learn from others who have backed their ideas with action?
I want you dear reader to be able to glean any gems from their experience that might help you with your own creative projects. I’ll even share stories about a couple of my own creative projects, and some of the learning I’ve done myself along the way. So let’s get started!
Today I’m speaking with Barbara Courtille about her art making practice: how it fits into her life and how she recently approached developing a website to share her work. I’ve known Barbara for a number of years and her consistency in her art making practice, the way she weaves the threads of what is most important to her into her life, and the pragmatic way she approaches work really inspired me. She also once told me about her regular practice of giving away pieces of her art stealthily in a public place… which inspired me to do the same and led to me discovering the Art Abandonment movement.
Tell us a little about your journey with art making? When did you start? What have you done over the years?
I’ve been making art as far as I can remember. I was one of those kids who could stay quiet and absorbed in the creative process for hours.
After high school I worked as a graphic designer for a few years, at the time I thought it may be a creative job but it wasn’t so eventually after a set of synchronistic events I found myself at art school in my mid 20s. I really thrived in that environment, it was so liberating to be surrounded by other artists and to be making art each and every day. After art school, a group of us got together and set up a studio space from which to work and we began to exhibit as a collective and separately. It was a very fertile creative time but eventually we all wanted to broaden our horizons and went our separate ways moving to different cities. I continued to paint full time and exhibit until poverty and the tax office prompted me to find a ‘real’ job. And so like many artists, I continue to juggle the work/art balance, always looking for ways to increase my ‘art’ time and to reduce my ‘work’ time. It’s a dance that I continue to refine.
What does art making do for you? What is your relationship to your creativity?
It’s a huge part of my experience and I really can’t imagine life without creativity. It’s an integral part of my being, I don’t view it as an external thing that I do, it’s just a part of who I am.
Art seems intimately linked to your spirituality and emotional wellbeing, specifically your yoga practice. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Art, yoga, spirituality and wellbeing for me are intrinsically linked and one of the same. I experience asana practice as an art form using breath and body as the medium. I bring creativity and ritual into my teaching of meditation and making art is a form of meditation in itself, it’s being totally absorbed in the present and in the process. It’s the best place to be!
What do you hope to communicate with your artworks? What ripples do you hope they make in the world?
I like to inspire people to make art in whatever way they enjoy whether it’s the traditionally recognised art forms of painting, music, dance, writing etc. or in the endless ways that humans are creative such as cooking, gardening, dressing up etc. Many of the activities that we partake in can be approached with the intention of creativity and that makes all the difference between a fulfilling (and for some spiritual) experience or one that is routine and mundane.
Let’s talk about about your recent projects: creating a dedicated website to share your work. Were these challenging steps to take? What were your fears, or what challenged you about these steps?
It was never my plan to have a dedicated website for my work, it’s something that happened slowly and organically.
I resisted having my own website for many years as I feared that it would be yet another admin task that would use up too much of my creative time. As it turned out, I really enjoyed designing my website (yoginithreads.com) and instead of seeing it as another to-do task, I approach it as a creative project in itself. The website remains a work in progress and I enjoy tinkering with it. I have lots of ideas for its growth in the future.
What did you have to learn to get these steps done?
For me it was about removing limiting beliefs (I don’t have the skills to do it, it’s too hard, it will take up too much time etc. ) Like all big projects, it’s a good idea to take it one small step at a time, focus on the one task in the present and try to not get too overwhelmed by the enormity of the desired outcome.
Any final words to leave us with? Anything else you’d like to say?
I believe that if you bring creativity into everything you do it can significantly transform your experience. Treat each moment with reverence, learn, grow, be brave and most of all, be yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, you have your own unique essence which makes you special. By being yourself and allowing your creativity to shine, you can also inspire others to do the same.
About the interviewee:
Barbara Courtille is a French born artist working in Sydney Australia. She is a dedicated yogini, meditation teacher and founder of Yoginithreads. Her work is heavily influenced by yoga philosophy, feminine power and ancient wisdom. See her work at: www.yoginithreads.com
About the interviewer:
Jade Herriman is a Sydney-based transpersonal art therapist, Barbara Sher coach and facilitator. She works with clients to help bring more creativity into their lives, plan for their professional development, manage big life change and go after their dreams. She works with groups, individuals and online to deliver workshops and help support people work towards their dreams. She brings a playful, flexible and creative approach to serious issues, and draws on many years of experience working in organisations in project management, policy and research roles to bring practical solutions to her clients. To work together one on one or find out more about future workshops contact her HERE.