10 creative things you can do on a walk

  1. Notice shadows
  2. Notice sounds
  3. Take photos of flowers
  4. Look at doorways
  5. Notice tiles
  6. See how many birds you can see
  7. Walk each block with a different posture and see how that feels
  8. Keep your eyes peeled for bees, beetles, butterflies and other insects
  9. Notice different shaped leaves
  10. Imagine your feet are creating a mark in the ground. What shape would your walk make from above?

Adding awareness and PLAY to our day doesn’t have to take oodles of extra time.

And if you want to go deeper and be supported every step of the way, join us for two hours a week of deep dive creativity in my online Women’s Creative Wellbeing group on Friday mornings 10.00-12.00 AEST. Next group begins in January 2018 and I’m taking expressions of interest via email.

Who wants to play?

Who needs an an infusion of deep, soulful, playful creativity at their next face to face event!?? I’m open to fresh collaborations in Australia in 2018 (or Europe May/June 2018). I would love for the right fresh fun collaboration plans to wing my way.
🌟A visioning session before your content master class, to connect people deeply with their what, why, how and who
🌟A break out group at your conference with gentle art therapy based processes unleashing new ways of seeing old problems
🌟 A creative morning session each day of your wellness retreat

I am flexible, practical and creative when it comes to planning events and collaborating.

I create a safe, sacred, well bounded group experience.

I am a qualified transpersonal art therapist and coach and experienced group facilitator.

Who wants to play!?

Drop me a line via my contacts page to start a conversation.

Press pause and make version 1.0

When we are creative it can feel like we have never ‘arrived’ at the structure of the thing we want to work on. The big picture decisions keep shifting and changing – so how are we ever meant to knuckle down and make the thing when we haven’t landed on the design yet?

This happened to me recently when I was working on a complex report. I kept coming up with new ideas for how to structure the report, new content, the headings and lay out and structure of the document kept changing. I knew if I continued I would have a half done outline and nothing written, all my hours of thinking invisible in the previous versions of the structure I had worked on and discarded as my thinking had evolved. At one point I had to say to myself ‘just stick with this structure, even if it’s not the best, just stick with it and write a draft of every section’.

It can be painful to press pause on the creative process and knuckle down to start making within a defined structure. What helps me is to think of these stages as different types of work.

I think ‘hmm, ok I’m getting carried away with design right now, when what I need is content. I need to flip into making content, and later and can revise the big picture again’.

My creative brain needs to be acknowledged, and to know it’s not getting sidelined on the project, even if I am pressing pause on that kind of big picture thinking. I know that I can layer the approach so that sometimes I am assessing big picture, and sometimes I am working to that vision and filling in the details.

I think this can happen in our lives as well. We get paralysed or lost in the depths of dreaming up possibilities for our lives, but sometimes forget to press pause on the idea generating and actually fill in the details to bring one vision to life. And that’s shame, because bringing one vision to life doesn’t mean we can’t rearrange it later, can’t redesign, restructure. Only this time we have some juicy content to move around as well, and sometimes in the doing it helps highlight new things that we want to consider in the design or big picture.

So whether it’s writing a document or thinking about your next career or life move, remember to pair thinking with action. At some stage press pause and make version 1.0, you can always rearrange things later.

Need help getting started? Get in touch and book a free QandA to see whether coaching might be a good fit for you. 

You don’t need to ‘know how’

Rather than needing oodles of technique, sometimes what is needed is to just open up the flow of expression.

You don’t need to know ‘how to make art’ to make art.

If you can hold a pencil, if you can write your name, you can make art.
Make marks, choose colours, create shapes, doodle, explore, express.
Rather than needing oodles of technique, sometimes what is needed is to just open up the flow of expression.
How do we do that?
By feeling safe.
By giving ours selves permission to play.
By having some structure and purpose.
By reorienting our relationship to art as something from our deepest places rather than something to do with pleasing others.
The more we allow creative expression to unfold without harsh judgement the more confident we are in letting it out.
The more we let it out the more our range of expression grows.

The more we let it out the more our skills and knowledge of techniques develop.
But first we need to give ourselves permission, create space, meet whatever comes out with curiosity and respect.

It matters! Arts and culture for kids

The arts and culture are not an add-on, or a nice-to-have, but are part of the fabric of our society, and that young people have a right to experience the best, and to be given the opportunity to make their own contribution to the continual reshaping of our civilization. We must celebrate our successes, build best practice, and learn from each other; in challenging times, it is up to us to be the champions of young people’s hopes, talent and ideas.”

Let your kids make art! Let them study arts subjects at school! Support a school system that includes the arts! It will help them learn, stay healthy and be active members of civic society.

And here is some evidence to support that claim…

1. Participation in structured arts activities can increase cognitive abilities by 17%.
2. Learning through arts and culture can improve attainment in Maths and English.
3. Learning through arts and culture develops skills and behaviour that lead children to do better in school.
4. Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.
5. Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.
6. Students from low-income families who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer.
7. Students from low-income families who engage in the arts at school are 20% more likely to vote as young adults.
8. Young offenders who take part in arts activities are 18% less likely to re-offend.
9. Children who take part in arts activities in the home during their early years are ahead in reading and Maths at age nine.
10. People who take part in the arts are 38% more likely to report good health.”

Source (of the 10 points and the quote above): ‘Imagine Nation, the Value of Cultural Learning’. Cultural Learning Alliance. 2017. Download full report here: http://www.culturallearningalliance.org.uk/images/uploads/ImagineNation_2_the_value_of_cultural_learning.pdf?mc_cid=c8b74fb7b5&mc_eid=cb33862c36

Read the Key Research Findings in full at:

Creative Project – Barbara talks about making creativity at the heart of her life

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.

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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.


How to get your art into the world

So you have LOTS of artworks. Maybe yours or your kids. Some are great and you love, some are ok but you don’t feel like pinning them to the wall, and hey the fridge is already crowded. You don’t know what to do with them but you love them and don’t want to put them in the recycle bin. Here are 15 ideas for ways to share your work (even if you’re not ready for an Etsy store, market stall or exhibition):

– Take photos of each of them and share them on an art group on facebook
– Take photos of them and get them printed on nice glossy photo paper (hint try Kmart, officeworks or electronics stores) then stick onto folded coloured cardboard to make all your birthday and holiday cards for the year
– Cut up the originals, punch holes in them and use as gift tags
– Cut up old pieces on paper and do a stencil or Lino print over the top to make a new artwork
– Cut artwork into stripes and use them to create a new HUGE artwork. Everything looks great turned into stripes
– Use them to cover mixed media journals or day planners or blank notebooks with them – apply a layer of varnish to seal it
– Frame them and hang them as a group on your wall
– Upload them to Redbubble or similar and get some cushion covers made for your grandma or mum
– Make a step by step tutorial showing someone else how you did them. Share it on you tube
– Wrap them nicely and give them away to strangers as part of ‘Art Abandonment’ (see the group on Facebook for more info)
– Donate them to a school fundraiser
– Give one nicely wrapped with a Thankyou note to 5 people who helped or supported you last year
– Photocopy them on A3 paper at a copy store and use it as funky wrapping paper
– Scan them and offer them as screen savers to friends or clients
– Glue the originals or copies to flat pieces of particle board (you can buy from craft shops) and turn them into placemats for home

Your artworks will create much more joy being enjoyed and looked at than hidden away in boxes and folders. And even more importantly it will open up something in you to take – even tiny- steps to share your tender creations with world. You may find that you feel safer, more connected and more joyful when your gifts are out in the world rather than hidden away out of fear or shyness. Or at least that’s been my experience.

You might also find that as you step forward to share your work in this way you hit some resistance. Resistance is sometimes called procrastination, and sometimes good old fashioned fear. It can take many shapes; you might see it come up as ‘oh maybe that was a bad idea, I’d better go eat ice-cream and sit here and do nothing instead’… it can come up as ‘actually I’d better not do that, people will think I’m silly/ arrogant/ stupid/ indulgent/ crazy…(whatever else)’. Barbara Sher, my coaching teacher and all round muse, is sometimes called the resistance whisperer. She says that it is completely normal to feel like this – your body is trying to keep you exactly where you are and any change that somehow is exciting and important to use because it aligns us with our dreams, can also feel terrifying.

I know this first hand because when I first wanted to make some of my paintings and drawings into greeting cards I was TERRIFIED. It seemed like a giant leap, a huge step out into the unknown that I couldn’t quite explain. It felt like I would be altering the shape of reality in a way that made me feel exposed, anxious and unworthy. To someone else it might seem like a ‘simple’ almost no-brainer task. Something to tick off the list before lunchtime and then get on with something else. To me it was Mt Everest. I worked with a creativity coach to get support to explore the fears and dreams behind my stuckness. Eventually I made my cards.

And I was right, my sense of self and what the world was like did shift a little. You see it wasn’t just some cards I was making, it was my sense of myself and what I was capable of, and my sense of the world and how safe and kind it was that I was making afresh. And that’s big work.

So you if you need some company on your journey, a friend and ally with you as you move towards a creative goal consider getting in touch! From starting that book, to getting back into a long lost craft again, the reasons why we don’t move forward are often deeper and more significant than we think. Trying to do it alone, in isolation while telling ourselves off for our weaknesses rarely helps us move forward. Try a new way – where you are accepted as you are, we make the project safe, you move at your own pace. Get in touch and see if coaching might be for you! 


Making something new

This week I was introduced to the ‘Dotee Doll’. So named apparently after the woman that invented the pattern. I came across her in an art swap group that I am in and an online art friend Roz called the swap.

I made one on Wednesday night and found it very do-able even in front of the tellie and while chatting with my family. I used a fat quarter that I had bought just because I loved the patterns and colours, even though I don’t quilt. I stuffed it with normal cushion stuffing, and used a vintage button, some fluffy wool and some beads as her accessories.

You can also see the picture below of one half way through (before being stuffed and before her face is stitched on), and afterwards, with her hair sewed down and little pom poms along the hem.

they are quick to make, simple, and deliciously fun.

Have a go! Share what you make!


Some links here for more info and videos:

Cloth Doll Makers Diary 

Video by Shauna Altman 

Wendy Ramos 

(A little rant) What about daily art?

What about daily art?

The music we sing to ourselves. The songs we could sing at our gatherings. The artworks we could make to mark transitions and stages in our own lives and those around us? What of the weaving of cloth, the designing of clothes, the making of our own furniture, the amusing of our children, the brightening of our surrounds? What about the expression of our own emotions and the celebration of our own delight?

Where is the daily art that is intrinsically connected to living? The daily expression and celebration that belongs to us all and is the birthright of humanity? Wait about our hands’ right to making and joy?

Have we been relegated to consumers only?
Has art been stolen away and put in glass cases only?
Are we only allowed to make art if we brand ourselves as artists and stand in the camp of an artist movement?
Must we pledge allegiance to a discipline, to a teacher, to a movement, to a theory?
Do we believe that only culture teaches us art, that we must be filled like obedient children with knowledge and technique ready to regurgitate it?
Why can’t we all make art, delight in art, celebrate with art as our voice?
Why can’t art be part of everyday not just for special times?

Why can’t we trust our own voices rather than wait to sing on a stage and be judged before we dare to sing?
Why can’t we sing for joy and the joy of those around us rather than being selected to be the special ones that sing for many?
Why can’t we all claim art?
Why can’t art be like eating or shitting or brushing our teeth? Something we all do and don’t have to make a full time career from? Something we don’t need to be selected as special to do? Something that we don’t wait around for others to deem us worthy enough to do it? How can we make art making and appreciating an integrated and part of the daily movement and rhythm of life? A basic function that keeps us healthy and sane and free of excrement?

How can art making become like speaking – something we do, we just do, to be heard, to hear ourselves to communicate. Whether we lisp or orate, whether we have one person who listens or thousands, whether we do it for the cat or to ourselves in the car – we can all speak, we all speak, we use words to help get the feelings out and chrystalize our thoughts and we don’t expect a medal or permission to do it. Why can’t singing, making music, making art be the same?

I do it. I do it for me. I do it for life. I do it for freedom, I do it for honesty, I do it for relief, I do it to find companionship. I do it for humour, I do it for beauty, I do it for anger, I do it to honour sadness. I do it because it comes from me and falls from my hands like leaves fall from an Autumn tree. I do it to be alive and connected to life and sometimes to be distanced from life far enough that I can see it more clearly.