Multiple passions = unlimited potential

A few months ago I received a message from one of my students who was really excited:

Student: AMYYYYY!!
Me: YESSS?! WHAT’S UP? (I obviously don’t write in caps often, but his enthusiasm was infectious!)
Student: I SAW YOU IN A TED TALK!!
Me: What? Oh yeah! I was in a TED Talk! I didn’t realize you caught it!
Student: When I heard your name, I was like no way, but then your face appeared and I jumped out of my chair!!
Me: LOL
Student: SO COOOOOL!!
Me: Thank you!

Then I realised that in the midst of me puttering around on my projects, I never did mention much about me being in Emilie Wapnick’s TED Talk on why some of don’t have one true calling. It was a huge honour of course – being a part of a talk was amazing; I was thrilled that others could identify with what it means to have lots of different skills that they could put to use in their daily life as a multi-potentialite. Heck I even learnt about the term from Emilie! I also know that I don’t toot my own horn enough, and therefore you would sometimes miss out on the crazy things I’ve been doing (sorry guys!) I’m posting the video above for you so you can catch the brilliant talk, but it’s also great for those who are keen to know what a multi-potentialite is.
Reminder to self: be less modest, include more chest thumping. Nailed it!

To celebrate multi-potentialites, I am thrilled to be a part of Emilie and Michelle Ward’s Multi Passionate Must-Haves bundle again – where they’ve gathered together digital products that were designed specifically for people who have a LOT of different interests, projects, and creative pursuits in their life. I’ve received a lot of great response to the Good to Know project zines and so they’re in there again this year, with issues that deal with fear, envy + jealousy, plagiarism and more! And as if that’s not quite enough, you can watch me geek out about what I do through this interview that I did with Emilie (savour it guys, because I rarely go on video often, and if I do, it’s mostly hidden away in a secret corner because I’m shy that way):

Did you see me sweat? I get nervous when my face is up on a screen for all to see, and I have to admit it’s hard for me to watch myself! But when I start talking about Pikaland, my classes and projects I lose myself completely. Talk about being in the zone!

The Multi-Passionate Must-Haves bundle includes 14 hand-picked books, courses, and resources that addresses three broad topics: work, creativity and fear, it’s a great kit to help you (or someone you know!) build a life and career around their many passions. Here’s the complete list of things you’ll get in the bundle:

Multi-Passionate Must-Haves

  • 78 Cards, All of the Things: Tarot for Multipods, Projects & Planning by Beth Maiden ($29 value – EXCLUSIVE)
  • Artist Websites that Sell by Cory Huff ($47 value)
  • Best of Productivity & Team + Best of Artists & Makers by Jennifer Lee ($274 value)
  • Branding Basics for the Highly-Creative Person by Tiffany Han ($97 value)
  • An Effective Escape by Michelle Ward ($57 value – EXCLUSIVE)
  • Figure Out What Fits by Scott Anthony Barlow ($397 value)
  • The Freelancer Planner by Michelle Nickolaisen ($15 value)
  • The Good to Know Project, PDF Issues #6-10 by Amy Ng ($16 value)
  • How to Clone Yourself by Amber McCue ($149 value)
  • Jump Start Your Podcast by Paula Jenkins ($37 value)
  • Life is Messy Planners® 2016 Edition, by Mayi Carles ($40 value)
  • The Niche Master Class by Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden ($194 value)
  • Renaissance Business: Make Your Multipotentiality Your Day Job, 2nd Ed. by Emilie Wapnick ($49 value)
  • The Ultimate Recharge and Renew Kit for Your Creative Life by Jen Louden ($198 value)

The total retail price for all of these products comes to USD$1599. But for 72 hours starting Tuesday, May 17th, you’ll be able to snag them all for only USD$97 right here.

And not only that, USD$10 from each sale will go to Michelle Ward’s team for the Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk in NY. Michelle was diagnosed with Stage One breast cancer in November 2011 and Stage Three breast cancer in September 2015. This will be the 5th year she’ll be walking 39.3 miles with Avon over 2 days with her mother and bestest friends.

All awesome things do come to an end though, and this is no different. You’ll only have 3 days before the sale ends, so if you’ve ever eyed any of the resources listed above (of if you’re a big fan of any of the authors) now’s the time to get the most bang for your buck. It’s all delivered digitally online too – so there’s no waiting for a package in the mail (or the probability of it ending up lost for that matter). It makes a perfect gift too for the person in your life who has a multitude of passions and skills and who doesn’t quite know what to do with it all.

But don’t just listen to me ramble on about it – you can check out all the fantastic resources in detail over at the Multi-Passionate Must-Haves website!

A reminder about growth, learning and taking small steps from Sarah K. Benning

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I was reacquainted with the work of Sarah K. Benning yesterday through Instagram, and I was floored. And you can see why. The subject matter at hand combined my two interests – gardening and craft in the beautiful, intricate embroideries that remind me a little bit of 8-bit pixel art (also my favourite). All three of my favourite things all rolled into one? Yowza.

It’s easy to think (and I can almost hear gasps going) – wow – her work is amazing. Her skill is amazing. OMG plants. I have plants. Why didn’t I think of that before?! And yet, hers is a journey that is familiar to a lot of artists out there. She didn’t start out doing the kind of embroideries that you now recognise as her handiwork, plastered all over blogs and magazines. Like everyone else, she started out by experimenting, and taking small steps.

I first knew about her work when she hand embroidered greeting cards and art cards and sold them on Etsy back in 2013:

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Her work evolved to include embroideries in hoops in 2014, and as you can see from her pictures below, her embroideries also started to evolve in intricacy:

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Towards the end of 2015, she started to experiment with more complex patterns in her embroidery, using her plants and cactuses as the main subject of her work:

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While Sarah is trained in fine arts, she is self-taught in the art of embroidery.

From her About page:

Originally from Baltimore, she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her BFA in Fiber and Material Studies.  Shortly after graduating in 2013, Sarah discovered her love for embroidery, a relaxing hobby she could enjoy while working as a full-time nanny. She approaches each piece as an illustration rather than a textile, often abandoning traditional stitches and techniques in favor of bold shapes, playful patterns, and contemporary subject matter.

Sarah’s embroideries often depict potted plants and her newest works position these potted gardens in interior spaces and pairs them with other textiles.  She approaches these pieces as illustrations, creating drawings in pencil directly onto the fabric before filling the image in with thread.  In this way, the thread become more like ink or paint than traditional embroidery, which accentuates the bold shapes, patterns, and color in the compositions.

While her earlier works (2013-2014) already showed a love of plants, cacti and landscapes, her continuous experimentation in embroidery has allowed her to be able to execute more intricate and detailed compositions, such as more recent ones below:

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It was gradual, and organic – as laid out in her FAQ page:

Where do you get your patterns and how do you transfer them to fabric?

I invent them! Drawing is a major part of my practice, so I keep sketchbooks of ideas, composition thumbnails, plant details, and textile diagrams to aid in the creating of my stitched works.  These sketches then come together as final designs by re-drawing them directly onto my fabric with pencil.  The under drawing gets completely covered up with the stitching.  This process allows for a lot of revision and experimentation before I get down to sewing.

What stitches do you use and how can I learn how to do this?

I don’t always adhere traditional embroidery stitches and techniques, thinking of the thread more like ink or paint and inventing or adapting stitches as I go.  The one common embroidery stitch I do use is the satin stitch, which is how I achieve the fields of color that create the foundation of each element in my compositions.  The final and most fun stage to every piece is the surface pattern that creates all the detail in the plants, textiles, and pots.

My advice to anyone wanting to learn is to go get the basic materials (hoop, fabric, thread, needle, scissors) and just start experimenting!  My work has evolved over the past 3 years and is my full-time job.  Believe me, I didn’t start out sewing complicated things.  Be patient with yourself and have fun!

It’s easy to look at an artist’s success and think that they knew what they were doing right from the start. Looking through Sarah’s work, I’m not sure if she had any inkling that her work would evolve to be where it is right now. But what I see is persistence, evolution and a constant challenging of her craft. Her love of subject is already apparent even in the beginning, and they run like threads interwoven in the fabric of her progression. They’ve always been there, and it’s exciting to see where her experimentation will take her.

You can purchase her work from website (they sell out fast!), and follow along her journey on Instagram.

[All images from Sarah’s Etsy, Instagram and website]

Why it’s time to ditch your new year resolutions

Philip Giordano

 

The new year (as it so often does) brings with it renewed optimism, hope and with it, the best of intentions.

Great intentions, all lined up neatly in the form of new year resolutions.

Ah, the long line of promises you make at the beginning of each year to be a better version of yourself than the year before. To eat healthier, to move your body more, to be more present. To read more, draw even more, and to be braver when it comes to asking for more.

It’s a good thing really, resolutions. So why can’t we stay on track past February?

Because it’s hard to break 10 – or for the more ambitious among you – 20 habits in such a short time.

Let’s face it. That long list of things you’d like changed or improved? They’re there because in reality it’s something you feel that you lack or aren’t paying enough attention to. And that’s really awesome because acknowledging them is half the battle won. The other half though, now that’s a real tough nut to crack.

It’s easy to write down faults you have and what you want to do to improve it. But faults, like habits, are hard to change. So what works?

I’ve stopped making resolutions 10 years ago. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t grow or change. Far from it. I quit my job, I took on freelance jobs, gave talks, taught at a university, learnt coding (among many other things), read more, and traveled more, etc.

Wanting to make changes to your daily life isn’t just filled with affirmations on how you pledge to be different. It’s about taking concrete steps, little by little, day by day to reach your goal. It’s unsexy. It’s tedious. It’s hard work. New year resolutions on the other hand, can be like bursts of positive emotions and hopefulness, Instagram photos with random inspiring quotes, and stuttered promises made when you’re drunk. Guilt and hopelessness sets in not long after.

So here’s what I recommend instead: make a to-do list.

Not some fancy schmancy list of life-changing resolutions that you tape to your fridge on January 1, where it stares at you every day when you wake up in the morning when you grab your milk – only to be taken down, tattered and stained with failure and regrets of not being able to tick them off at the end of the year. No more.

Figure out what you want to achieve, then write down what you’ll do to get there. Heck, you can even omit writing out the big goals. Just write out what you’re going to do every little step of the way. I’m talking about the most boring, mundane things that will trick your body/mind to complete it. Don’t just throw up a big life goal without a plan on how you’ll get there – we all know when we don’t know where we want to go, we’ll just stay where we are. It’s comfortable. It’s nice. Change is hard. And we also know that if you don’t pencil things down (and subsequently tick them off), nothing is going to happen. Step by step is where it’s at.

So if you want to make a new resolution this year, do yourself a favour and start a to-do list.

You can thank me on 31st December.

Illustration: Philip Giordano
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