Friday, November 4, 2011

The Creative Beast Interview - Amelia Critchlow

Hello dear blog readers! I'm very happy to share a new interview with you all today. It's taken me awhile to prepare this interview for publication due to the recent Blogtoberfest, but I can tell you that this interview is well worth the wait! It's an interview with the creator of two wonderful e-courses and a really lovely blog...

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Interview with Amelia Critchlow of the blog 101 Bird Tales

I wish I could remember exactly when I discovered Amelia, but I can say that it was through a link at a blog post and I was fascinated by her blog. I love that she is helping people with her art, as I hope to do...

When she began her "Journal Your Dreams" ecourse, I was inspired to join but concerned about the cost. You can imagine my delight when she announced it was "pay what you can"! What I was unable to pay in cash, I made up in sending some special handmade goods to her...

A hand-made book marker sent to Amelia in gratitude...

I learned some great new techniques in that ecourse that I now incorporate in my collage artwork and vision boards. I love visiting her blog to catch up on her projects and find new ideas to get my creativity juices flowing. I realized that Amelia would be an excellent interview subject for my series and she is just as passionate about Creativity as I am. I was so thrilled when she agreed to be interviewed! Thank you Amelia for being here - let's begin!

The lovely and talented Amelia Critchlow

Who first introduced you to creating? Was it a family member - a teacher? How did that person influence you?

I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a family of makers and artists . . . My father is an artist who has gone to write books in his specialised field and my mother was a dressmaker by trade and always made clothes and is now a patchwork artist and quilter. I was surrounded by books, artists, conversations and inspiration from an early age and often taken to art galleries and museums - which funnily enough I hated as a child! Now I love visiting them of course!

LOL! It's been my experience that children are not often keen on going to museums, but it's clear those trips have been an influence in your life path, Amelia.

What were your first creative actions that you remember? (Sewing, Dancing, Painting, etc?)

As a child I remember wanting to create little houses (that I could walk in to) and stages and treehouses, clothes outfits, as well as making little shops out of wood and all the things that go in it out of coloured fimo clay. I also used to copy illustrations in books that I loved Tin Tin being one of my favourite set of books. I once copied a cover exactly and people asked me to do some for them too!

One of Amelia's mixed collage art works

Do you have a favorite medium to create in? If so, what is it?

One challenge I have ALWAYS had is that I love doing absolutely ALL of it. Even listing out the above makes me realise I had that inclination from childhood. I would probably build my own 'world' if I could. Hence the fact I can see my own work going in to installation art with as many things in it made by me. I love painting, collage, textiles and stitching as well as ink and pen etc etc and the list goes on. That was one of the most delightful things about creating the experimental art e-course: I took everything I loved and would like to have done on a course and wrote my own course. It's full of all the wonderful, inspiring, unusual mediums I've ever used with experimental ways of applying and trying them out.

"Morning Bird" by Amelia Critchlow

How do you feel when you are creating in your chosen medium?

I feel happiest when I'm creating ANYTHING, but I also feel really happy when I challenge myself and what I've been shown how to do. I always think "Right - there's got to be another way of using that or doing that" and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE coming up with unusual ideas. So sharing with others is key and probably explains why I did a teaching qualification when I was doing my Art BA and why I taught and continue to teach . . . or maybe 'share' what I know and have discovered, is a good way of putting it! It's so exciting when people can see their own potential and share in the excitement of art's possibilities . . it spills over in to life I think: ie, if you can create and experiment like that in art, then you/we could try the same in life. This is when creating gets most exciting!

I absolutely agree with you on that Amelia! It's my firm belief that creativity is not just for Art, it can be applied in virtually ALL facets of Life!

*Mixed media collage artwork by Rachel Nixon, a student from one of Amelia's classes

What is the greatest joy you derive from creating? Accomplishment? The process? Sharing it with others? Please explain…

Oooooh, I think I may have just gone off on a tangent and answered that in the question above. Process is key for sure. Life is one whole process so I'm always thinking of ways to deal with and come up with ideas for a fulfilling, exciting, creative process . . . .

Do you think a creative life comes from ideas, doing or being?

I think a creative life comes from all of those things. Ideas come from exercising our 'imagination' muscle in my view. I totally avoid TV because it thinks for me and I prefer to think for myself. On that front I feel that TV can stultify imagination and creativity, not to mention put people off as it always shows a polished 'end product'. But life and art are ongoing creative processes ebbing and flowing and so it's about having your own idea/s in my view and trying it out and if it doesn't work, it's not failure, it's an experiment that you would inevitably have learned something from.

 You can find more details about this ecourse at Amelia's blog, 101 Bird Tales

Something I emphasize in my e-course - its NOT about the final image/object/product it's about all the feelings and discoveries you made along the way too. Ideas though may not come to much without the action of doing and this is the exciting part. We all know that an idea in one's mind, frequently doesn't look the same once it's 'out' but that's okay because maybe something different emerged and who knows maybe something more magical too, but you have to 'do' to find out. Oh and being . . .well that's an art in itself. I often long to just 'be', but that seems to be one of the hardest things to do as we often have stories going on in our heads about what we should be doing or keeping up with societal obligations such as work. I long to empty my mind and just do whilst just 'being' if that makes sense. ie. lose the inner critic and just 'play'; another thing I advocate on the course and in life! Go PLAY today! I try to practice this too (am running off to play now! :)

Another beautiful collage created by Amelia...

I think I will have to join you in running off to play Amelia...at the end of this interview, that is!

How do you express your creative life? Is it integrated in your daily life or is it a separate part of your life?

I made a decision last year to fully integrate my working life with my art. ie I make art, I sell art, I teach art (online art course) and I still teach and run art workshops and courses face to face too. I don't regret this decision for one minute, although a precarious up and down income can bring it's own stresses but that's a choice I made.

I really admire your choices Amelia and I love how you have truly crafted a life doing things that make you happy: art, helping people and sharing great ideas. I am working toward the same goals and you have been a great role model to watch =-)

Can you think of a time when someone else’s creativity fed you? What was that like?

Some-one else's creativity feeds me every time I walk in to a great art exhibition. I love art exhibitions and am lucky enough to live in London and have some great shows to visit. I just found out the Gerhardt Richter is on at Tate Modern here in London so I will be going to that soon. I also have a thing about art books. They feed me in a big way and that feels great as I get inspiration for my own art practice.

An early work-in-progress created by Amelia

What is the most significant creative event in your life to date? Was it a defining moment? Was it a milestone or a lifetime goal?

I don't know if it was the most significant creative event in my life to date, but teaching art and other activities to elderly people at the end of their lives brought home to me how fragile and short life is and therefore too short not to do what one loves doing. It was during, and because of that time, that I made the momentous decision I had to live the creative life fully and become a full time artist and art tutor and here I am today :)

I have to agree with you Amelia - Life can be FAR too short not to do what one loves doing, not to mention wasteful of one's talents and skills to not share them with the world at large. I'm sure many would agree when I say "Thank you for being an Artist and for sharing it with us all Amelia!"

Mixed media collage by Amelia Critchlow

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And one more thank you to Amelia for allowing me to pick and choose images from her blog to add to her interview. Her blog is just bursting with beautiful images and artwork - it was hard to keep from adding them all!

Her blog is also bursting with wonderful and inspiring ideas for creativity - here are a few that I'd recommend reading:


And of course there are the ecourses:


And I highly recommend getting on her mail list to receive a copy of her e-book, How to Fill Your Sketchbook - I got my copy and I love it!

UPDATE: Amelia has sent a link to her new e-book, "How To Make Money To Do What You Love", which is now available for sale - I'm sure it's just as great as everything else she has created!

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed creating it!

PS: my giveaway ends today - leave a comment at this post for your chance to win!

* - Correction to this image per Amelia - it was made by one of the students of Amelia's e-course, Rachel Nixon. My apologies for the mix-up!

1 comment:

Kathryn Hansen said...

lovely interview!! I adore Amelia...she is such a wonderful lady, and so talented!! I've never taken an e-course of hers but love her blog and art...she truly is a great inspiration for us artists trying to create a passionate life/living as artists!!!