Creativity Camp at Soho House!

This past weekend we hosted our first Creativity Camp for Families at Soho House Toronto. It was such a great event. We had kids of all ages, parents, grandparents, twins and sibling groups dancing, playing and collaging together.

Though this weekend’s programming was aimed at kids aged 6-12 we had two super toddlers get in on the action and they were great. They drew and toddled and explored. It was a fantastic reminder that creativity is about having fun first and that age limits certainly don’t apply on that front.

As mentioned we had an awesomely adventurous pair of twins who were bubbly and full of stories about their favourite arts activities as their dad and grandmother shared in the fun. Two brothers and a sister brought their dad  too which was great and not only did they make some amazing sketchpad collages but the boys got straight down to work filling the books with awesome drawings while their little sister showed off some fantastic dance moves.

I don’t know if you know this but Soho House has a great photo booth. One superkid headed straight there and he and his dad took photos which they incorporated into their collages. It was such a great idea and is already inspiring future activities at the Campus!

I had SO MUCH FUN creating and playing with this group and Soho House was a welcoming and supportive venue to work with so hopefully we’ll be working with them again to host future Creativity Campus workshops.

What inspiring or creative stuff did you get up to this past weekend? Care to share?

Happy Wednesday!


The calm before the storm - supplies for our Creative Selves collages before the families arrived.

The calm before the storm – supplies for our Creative Selves collages before the families arrived.

My Creativity Experiment – No Speaking, One Week.

That’s right. No speaking, at all, for one whole week.

Anyone who knows me this is a pretty extreme experiment, I’m nothing if not chatty, but I’m spending the next week in silence so I can explore.

It started with a suggestion from Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, an amazing book that outlines her routine and methods for staying creative over almost fifty years as a choreographer. She is innovative, award winning and incredibly disciplined and has produced more than one hundred sixty artistic works: one hundred twenty-nine dances, twelve television specials, six Hollywood movies, four full-length ballets, four Broadway shows and two figure skating routines.

As Tharp says, we diet elsewhere in life so why not in our creative lives? Her reasoning behind not speaking is that it forces one to look at what is worth saying and what is not. As a starting point that’s fascinating but for me I’ll also be using it as an exercise in discipline, an exploration of what I could be creating but am not because I’m distracted and an opportunity to become a better listener, observer and communicator.

So – the logistics, right? How will I ask for coffee? Order dinner? Make plans? What am I going to do without speech?

Well, I’ve sent around a little email to close family and friends explaining the experiment so they know that I won’t be picking up the phone and that I can only use text messaging to make and confirm plans – not chat. I’ve also printed up a couple of cards to aid me on my journey and help explain for those people who want to hear more.

I’m still going to be working, posting for The Creativity Campus and communicating to keep the business ticking along but, as unless I can’t avoid it for work, I won’t be speaking again until the evening of Friday May 31 when I head out to celebrate the birthday of a wonderful friend.

In the meantime – here are the cards

Happy Friday everyone!

Have an amazing weekend



I'm Not Speaking

May I Please...

Keeping Creative: Fishbowl Inspiration

Creativity is like a muscle, we need to work it out to keep it flexible.

So it only makes sense that there are lots of exercises that can be used to keep you tapped in to your imagination, working out your mind and pushing to create.

One that I use daily and that is incorporated in to Creativity Camp is the idea fishbowl. Find a bowl or basket that you can keep just for this purpose. As you flip through magazines, read books or wander the streets collect images and phrases that inspire you.

They could be happy and light or sad and dark – the trick is to aim for variety as you select them. Obviously if you think of a great line or string of words that you want to work with you should include that too.

From there you need to physically cut them up into small pieces that can be folded away and placed in your bowl. (For an example see the photo below)

Here comes the important part. You need to set aside time everyday pluck an idea out of your bowl and write. Set a timer for 15 minutes and let the phrase or image guide your writing.

Remember don’t stop writing – even if it means blabbing on about how frustrating it is to be unable to write. When I hit a block I often look up and grab a colour or shape from the room then write it repeatedly until it leads me to a new thought or word. (We’ll talk about the power of association another time!)

The key here is that your writing probably won’t be good. It’s not supposed to be. In fact, if it is really good maybe you need to think about loosening up even more!

You are writing from a place in your mind that you probably don’t use very often. It is not about censoring and grammar and word choice but rather about teaching your mind that it’s ok to run free and play. It’s about being as loose as possible and allowing your mind to flow and produce without boundaries or criticism.

No one is going to read this writing unless you want to show it off – so get collecting…

Idea Fishbowl