From Sky to Water: Uncovering the Roots of Creative Fuel

Aside from designing and making jewellery, running is a big part of my life. I begin almost everyday by lacing up my sneakers, and heading out for an early morning run. There are many reasons why I have made running part of my daily routine, but the most prominent is to find clarity. Through running, I have learned how to quiet my mind and gain focus, and to achieve a sort of inner calm from being present with each stride. Over time, I came to realize how powerful an influence the surroundings of my running routes play in my creative process.

Sunrise over Lake Ontario, winter 2016.

“I am (or, my work is) inspired by nature” is a statement I have made on numerous occasions. It is a proclamation I have also heard again and again from other individuals who participate in some form of creative expression. Although I have said the statement myself, I have come to see how cliche it truly is in the way it is completely vague and unspecific. 

Seven months ago, I moved back to Halifax after living in Toronto for over four years. The way I experience nature in Halifax vs. Toronto is different, and very much reflected in the work I make. I’ve only recently begun to tune into how I have been subconsciously fuelled creatively by my morning runs.

Sunrise in downtown Toronto, Fall 2015.

In Toronto, I would try to get up as early as I could in the mornings to hit the pavement before the city “woke up” (in other words, I would try to run before rush hour). I loved to indulge in the quiet moments of the early morning in the city when things felt more still, less intense, and the vibrations of city life hustle seemed less overwhelming. I would watch the sun rise down by Lake Ontario, and see it reflect off the glass of the taller buildings of the dense core of the downtown where I lived for two years. I was fascinated by the colors of the sky in the morning, and how rapidly shades of intense pinks and oranges spread across the sky before giving way to daytime. It is a mesmerizing yet fleeting experience, and one I became obsessed with. At the time, I was focused on making sculptural objects and wallhangings, and this sense of movement, and cyclical flow became the forefront of my work.

Components for a wall piece. Copper and paint, 2015.

Untitled sculptural object, copper and paint, 2015.

Untitled sculptural object, copper and paint, 2015.

Sunrise on the waterfront, downtown Toronto, 2015.

"Eternity" bronze, brass, paint, 2015.

"Eternity" bronze, brass, paint, 2015.

When I returned to Halifax, I continued my daily running practise, but without the urgency to beat rush hour traffic. The mornings here are quieter in general, whether or not you get up at 6am. I have been lucky to experience a few memorable sunrises over the Halifax Harbour, however, my focus shifted from sky to water when I returned to the coast. My run almost always includes running along the water, whether it is on the city boardwalk, or at the park that gives way to a full view of the ocean. Some days the fog obscures the horizon line, and the water seems to disappear into nothingness. The gusting wind over the water, the rippling effect of water, and the way if scatters the intense light of the morning sun -these provide inspiration, and are where I find my creative fuel.

Halifax Harbour, fall 2016.

Sunbeam earrings, sterling silver, 2017.

I am one to get lost in my creative outlet, and it’s often not until I take a step back to reflect upon my work that I begin to understand it. Instead of citing nature as inspiration, dig deeper, and see what’s there. Striving to pinpoint what drives you to express yourself creatively may lead to a deeper sense of connection to your surroundings, and to how and what you create. No matter how you choose to engage with creativity in your life, it’s an interesting exercise to think about who or what is the root of your inspiration.

Thanks for reading! :)

Horizon Line Necklace, sterling silver, 2016

View of the Atlantic Ocean, winter 2017.

Wispy earrings, sterling silver, 2017.

Horizon Line Earrings, sterling silver, 2016.