How do you keep your creative mojo and positive mindset during difficult times? Times when there's many distractions, not-so-good-news isn’t new, and so many of life’s comforting routines are well, just not happening?
It’s a good question, and for what seemed like forever (it was more like 3 weeks), I lost mine.
Recent months of isolation, team at home, brought plenty of time for reflection. It was essential to look inward & find a way to nurture my creative spirit, to keep things going and make sure our retail partners & brides don’t get let down.
Here’s some real talk from my journey of creativity in quarantine:
(If you’re mainly interested in the 5 tips to fuel your own creativity, feel free to scroll toward the end :)
Here in Toronto, lockdown came fast and furious. Between March 12-18, things quickly escalated. The NBA season got suspended, our NBA World Champion Toronto Raptors went into quarantine. A wave of cancellations and closures started, seeming to only gain momentum each day.
A Pisces, I’ll forever have that milepost around my birthday marking the line where normalcy ended and this unknown new world began. Postponements, cancellations, closures. Waves of emails from bridal salon retail partners advising they were in lockdown.
The wedding & event community went on prolonged pause; unsure of when and how things would proceed from here.
As reality set in, it was a time of shared pain with so many in my community of wedding professionals and retail partners; most are indie businesses like us.
Most of all, it was a time of heartfelt compassion for our brides struggling with decisions and uncertainty about how or if to move forward with the celebration of their marriage.
Days became weeks, and each brought a roller-coaster of emotions, humbling moments, times of frustration as I desperately tried to understand what we’re meant to make of this. In a way, though overwhelming at the time, it was good to have lots to do. Something to focus on forces you to put one foot in front of the other and “make it happen”.
I assembled a new mini team and reconfigured our space to operate in safety. There were myriad supply chain issues as vendors were in stages of lockdown & couriers unable to meet normal timelines.
So that got me through the day, but, what about the things that give you life, light you up, provide the white space and spark for ideas to hatch? How does one find those joys in isolation when everything, from getting groceries to sending a parcel is just.that.much.harder?
Yes. It’s been a time of all that. But also one of incredible, catch-your-breath inspiration.
A time of resilience, resourcefulness and innovation.
It's also been a time of immense gratitude, love and hope, for our health, our loved ones, for all the hearts and things we've missed during this time, and the promise of brighter days ahead. Most importantly, it's been a time of renewal in my faith of the gift of creativity and its ability to lift our spirits, heal our hearts & nourish our souls.
Despite the many challenges and setbacks, I’m heartened by the spirit and resolve of people to get their art out, keep creating, find different ways to do things, and generally keep on, keeping on. Virtual concerts (how cool was it to see the Rolling Stones perform alone together, complete with air drums)? People singing from their windows, Zoom conferences, fashion designers moving their production to home sewing teams, virtual and drive-by weddings and celebrations.
As I was head down working, taking things 1 day at a time, somehow this energy of resilience and positivity fueled my own in a profound way.
Love is definitely not canceled, and true passion can never be postponed, it simply finds another way.
The artist with music in their heart finds a way to set it free in the world. Couples in love realize that their wedding may not be what they thought it would be. They can still celebrate their commitment to each other or, their marriage In this spirit I decided to create a new mini concept to help foster community & conversation within my own community of wedding professionals and couples affected by this crisis; and also for any and everyone who needs a reminder of positivity during these times.
The first designs in the capsule are the Love Is Not Canceled T-Shirt with a bride shirt vibe in a slim fitted women’s cut and a relaxed fit that’s great for knotting. I thought these would be fun gifts for a bride-to-be, who may be waiting a little longer right now to move from nearlywed to newlywed.
I also designed a sleeker print version, Love Isn’t Canceled , because hey, love is universal and we all know someone who can use a reminder of this right now, right? It’s a fun design for the modern, minimalist bride, but also I love that anyone can enjoy this style and wear it any time. It doesn’t need to be for an engaged person to wear to a bridal shower, engagement or bachelorette party- it’s timeless.
Ditto the Passion is Never Postponed tee, inspired by the global creative community who’ve inspired me in recent weeks, finding ways to keep pursuing their passion that fires their creative spirit. Their energy fed my own, and I hope the positive message in this design will help fuel more of the creative movement that’s so vital to us as humans.
These are not products I’m known for, it's truly a passion project for me during this extraordinary time. Like everything in lockdown, it took a little longer to come to fruition (I hoped to launch in May, right after Victoria Day), and I plan to evolve this concept more.
Hopefully you will follow along with me on this journey, and this message of positivity reaches you at a time when you need it most.
This project is also about giving back. I’m donating a portion of proceeds from this collection in July to food bank networks in Canada & the US; as time goes by I will be looking for other causes to support, ideally some that foster creativity in their local communities (if you have ideas, love to hear from me, hit up my DMs over on Instagram).
As they say, it takes a village, and creativity is all about community.
Thank you so much to friendors who helped get this fledgling concept this far, including Angela from Angela Nuran Shoes, who helped brainstorm initial concepts for graphics and gave lots of great feedback. Shop Angela's gorgeous shoes right here in our shop.
Trish from Wreath and Rose Photography who generously shot the collection for us on a moment's notice, Kim from Valencienne who art directed our shoot, and Alexandra Mole our model, who’s positive energy was exactly what this little collection needed! Thanks also to Monica from Sweets That Sparkle for creating our adorable sugar cookies to match the t's.
5 Ways to Boost Your Creative Spirit During Quarantine
Now you know my journey, let’s focus on yours. If you scrolled to this point, I’ll catch you up by saying in summary: I passionately believe to my core that creativity is a gift.
Why? If we boil it down to the simplest level, the creative process imagines something that isn’t there yet. By nature, creativity is optimistic and hopeful, and those are two great things for the mind.
Tip #1: Create Something
Fuel your creativity by creating something, anything. You’ll find it builds on itself. It doesn’t need to be special either. Create a new way to do something that’s routine or ordinary (make a new recipe for dinner, take a new route walking the dog, do a re-org of a space in your home) and soon you’ll find more creative ideas sprouting.
Tip #2: Fuel your spirit with the creativity of others.
Spend some time “consuming” creativity. There’s so many places like galleries, cooking classes, concerts, museums, that are offering virtual experiences right now, even if it’s not possible to go out and seek creativity, you can still experience it. During lockdown, I gained the most inspiration from seeing how others were managing to pursue their art and design in creative ways.
Tip #3: Make space in your mind.
That can be difficult right now with work from home taking away so many of those transition times in our day where we can “cleanse the brain’s palate” and have a clear line on when workdays end and begin. It’s essential to give the mind breathing room so creative ideas can bubble up. If you’re into it, try a meditation app, it’s amazing what you can accomplish in 2-5 minutes of focusing your breathing and being present in the moment, allowing all the thoughts to settle. A quick walk, a moment or two of journaling, find ways to get a few minutes before, after, and mid-day to give your mind some space to re-set.
Tip #4: Recognize your past creative accomplishments and how they fulfilled you.
That may sound woo-woo, but we often create so much and never even think about it. If creativity is important to you, take a moment to embrace that and recognize what it brings to your life. Leaning into this is energizing and helps fuel more creative thought.
Tip #5: Bask in gratitude for small joys.
It’s easy to focus on what isn’t "normal", what isn’t present in our life that we wish was there. Still, there’s always so much to be grateful for, even the smallest comforts that make the day a little better.
Go on a gratitude rant about everything around you…the mindset boost is amazing, and the perfect foundation to see things with new eyes, those same ones that have hope and can imagine something being that is yet to be created.
I hope these tips help you in your creative journey. Even before I truly knew what they were and recognized them as tools, and long before COVID, I know they helped me.
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