My background & calling : A Short Story

Once upon a time…

…over 20 years ago, in the beautiful spa town of Harrogate, there lived a young art student.

Me.

I was there studying an Art Foundation Course. (Aka; A year of blissfully exploring various disciplines of art and design.)

In the final days of the course, I’d completed all my coursework and, high on a wave of creativity and expression, I’d decided to enter the competition to design the flyer for the End of Year Show.

It was optional: no pressure, no tutors to impress or curriculum to follow. It was that rare and beautiful thing; an open brief.

Total freedom of expression.

The night before the deadline, as I sat on the floor of my tiny room, I cut and pasted and played in the happy realm of paper, ink, collage and colour.

I remember that Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were clowning around on my portable TV (which was balanced dangerously by the sink. It was a really tiny room).

And I remember feeling free and happy. Aware of the of sheer joy of creating for its own sake. It was almost a trance – what I’ve since learned is called the flow state.

So absorbed was I in my creative bliss, that I was actually quite surprised when I finally emerged from it and reviewed my handiwork.

It was – as the tutors liked to say; a creative and original solution. (The kind of thing they liked to see.)

harrogate art college exhibition flyer 1993

I wasn’t sure how I’d managed to produce such carefree and playful work. I hadn’t planned to, I didn’t even remember being conscious of the process.

In fact, it was so much less restrained that any of my previous work, I even felt a bit nervous and vulnerable about putting my name to it. (Oh, the fragile creative ego…)

But I found the nerve to submit my entry, and to my amazement, it was selected to represent the entire college.

I christened the piece, my French & Saunders design, believing that it was so fun and irreverent because I’d been watching their TV show and must have been ‘channeling their vibe’. Or, at least been inspired by it.

But it got me thinking…

I began to wonder about the different ways and places and times that we create, and how all those things effect the final work, as well as the many different moods and mindsets that we live through as we create.

Cut to 20 years later and I’ve never stopped analysing the creative process.

I’ve learned much from my own experience. With over twenty years spent working in the creative realm as a designer, copywriter, blogger, author, publisher and entrepreneur –  my roller coaster creative journey has made me a great Guinea Pig.

And in that time I’ve also read hundreds of books and articles about artists, writers, creative genius, the flow state, inspiration, and all aspects of the creative process, from the mundane to the divine.

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Yet this study is still a work in progress – and I’m glad it is! It’s my favourite puzzle. And there are always new revelations to find.

But in the meantime, I want to share what I’ve learned so far;

that there are ways to make the process easier, more enjoyable and more inspired.

I know because I’ve found them and used them with great success – for myself and my clients.

And as I learn to ease my own creative struggles, I feel increasingly called to share this wisdom with anyone else brave enough to explore a creative life. 

Because the more I learn about our minds, our nature, our potential, our natural inclinations and the creative process itself – the more peace I find.

Not only in my creative work, but across my whole life.

And so I’ve come to believe that creative expression, and finding joy in the journey, are vital keys to the good life.

So not only have I learned a huge amount that can soothe the creative soul, I feel it’s my mission to share it, and help other soul-seeking creatives find more joy and ease in their creative journeys, and more peace, meaning and fulfilment in their lives.

I think Dawn & Jennifer would approve.

• • • 

Danielle

• • • 


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