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!

L

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.

Navigating Changing Winds…

Dolly Parton once said, “You can’t change the direction of the wind but you can adjust your sails.” Those of you who registered for our summer camps will have received your email this morning letting you know that we’re adjusting ours.

Though we’ve received great support and interest in our summer program it’s become clear that the costs aren’t lining up quite as expected and, as a result, The Creativity Campus is changing tack.

Instead of focusing on the daily camp this summer we’ll be honing in on our weekend workshops for parents and children and our Harnessing Creativity events for adults.

I’ll also be coaching entrepreneurs as a corporate culture mentor at one of Toronto’s leading technology incubators.

In keeping with the passion behind The Creativity Campus, we’re exploring, creating, inspiring and connecting.

Our first parent and child workshop will be on July 20th at a particularly fruitful space (more details to come!) and many more unique events are on the way.

Just as I began writing this, trying to come to grips with sharing the news and feeling a little disappointed, Oprah’s 2013 commencement speech at Harvard crossed my desk.  She encountered her hardest professional moments after she launched OWN last year and in the speech talks about how she intended to turn her ship around.

No surprise, it’s an inspring address. Thank you Oprah, for the reminder that life is just trying to move us in another direction…

Today’s a day to remember, those who succeed see challenges as opportunities for innovation and growth. We’re taking this as a chance to focus in, to get more specific and deliver even more valuable strategies to kids, parents and business people.

Where’s your opportunity today?

A Smooth Sea Never made A Skilled Sailor

My Creative Experiment – 7 Days of Silence

So – seven days, no speaking.

I woke up in the middle of the night to turn on the air conditioning and fend off the inevitable Toronto humidity and realized that I was technically allowed to speak.

I had no desire to do so.

One would think I’d have hummed a little song, made a big noise or at least tested out a sentence but in this week I’ve realized that for a person who speaks so much I really do enjoy the quiet.

There’s something in the stillness, in the discipline, that brings a sort of peace and steadiness that I’ve never experienced before. It brings a calm that is foreign to my overactive mind and mouth.

Though it’s been frustrating and at times lonely it’s also been a gateway into my own passions, communication and relationships.

The inability to speak leaves limitless space for others to express themselves. Sitting back and watching another inhabit that space, occupy a verbal place that is shared but that they are the only actor in is actually quite beautiful.

It seems that the small nuances are magnified. In myself all of the little reactive noises that I make are amplified and my actions and expressions are bigger and more dramatic. Yesterday reconnected me with my love of acting, of physical excitement and creation. But in others I witnessed other amazing characteristics grow larger and more evident.

My mother’s generosity, warmth and kindness exploded as the week passed. Her fierce love was still ever present but, typically quiet and subtle, her support was more expressed.

On Wednesday I went for tea and a movie with my best friend and realized we didn’t need language. Only a few moments in we were laughing and joking and she too was communicating mostly in gestures. It felt so good to know that even without words we have so much and can spend hours together loving the company and laughing from our bellies. Our friends, as chosen family, are such an incredible gift and it was amazing to have this chance to really witness the power of our friendship in small but significant glory.

Last night was spent with someone new(ish). I think both of us were quite concerned that it would be awkward, spending hours together when I couldn’t speak, being so close to the start of our friendship but it was really wonderful.

Not being able to verbalize responses, leaving more space for his expression and focusing our interaction outward brought out a side of him that I’d not seen before. It brought out mutual silliness, new forms of expression and shared stillness. It was so much fun.

I’m not sure that this is doing such a great job of explaining my experience of silence. Maybe I’m still too close to it or maybe it isn’t meant to be expressed in words but I am proud that I made it through and I am happy that it’s over.

As a creative exercise it’s been deeply valuable and I’m excited to start creating – to paint, to sing, to write and move with this in my physical and experiential memory. I already feel it lending fresh energy to my life and my perspective.

I’ll definitely do it again, but maybe next time it will be outside of the city. I get the feeling that being surrounded by nature, by quiet and earthly beauty will bring a whole new experience to the fore, allowing for more active creation, for the work to be the focus rather than the result.

Happy weekend beauties, I hope you get out in the sunshine and remember to play…

xx

What’s Your Shake? Limitations & Creativity

Embracing limitations can open up incredible creative horizons…

Here’s a great TED talk from an artist who used a physical ailment expand his artistic expression instead of crushing it

Also – Doors Open is on today in Toronto, maybe you should explore in the sunshine??

 

Embrace the Shake

 

Creativity in Action – Liu Bolin, The Invisible Artist

Liu Bolin is a mixed media artist from Shandong Province in China. He uses paint to make himself invisible as an exploration of civilization and its development. He travels around the world and paints himself into real world scenes creating vignettes filled with social commentary .

The photograph below is part of his supermarket shoot which looks at the way that foods in the supermarket are harming the people of China.

Bolin is an incredible example of how we can use creativity to draw attention to those aspects of life that matter most to us, how we can use our art to better the world.

Watch his TED talk for Bolin’s explanation of his work, process and motivation.

Liu Bolin

Friday Fun – Stop Motion Videos

It never ceases to amaze me the incredible, international talent and creativity that can be found from my desk…

All it takes is a little hunting and you can find some amazing stop motion animated videos online.

Here are some of my favourites – Why don’t you share you favourite stop action videos in the comments section?

Happy Friday!

(Notes on) Biology, Ornana Films

Benigni, Elli Vuorinen

Change: The Happiest Stop Motion Video Ever, Samian Chow, Sean Dougherty and Chad Colby

Frictions, Steven Briand

Creativity in Action: Malcolm London

Last week TED, WNET, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting hosted an on air forum on how we can better inspire both students and teachers.

Among the many esteemed educators was an incredible poet, Malcolm London. His poem, High School Training Ground  takes a beautiful, critical look at what high schools give students – the dynamics of poverty, society, empowerment and education in Chicago.

London recently won the Louder Than A Bomb poetry contest. He is also a passionate advocate and activist for youth education. He’s this week’s Creativity in Action subject for his brave and beautiful use of words.

Enjoy…

 

Malcolm London