Interview with Local Potter, Ray Caron

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Ray Caron a local potter in the Twin Cities.  Ray  is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Ray! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.

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Katelyn- Ray, can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

Ray-I work full time at the University of Minnesota.  It’s a staff position that offers great benefits. I received my second degree, a BFA, through using the Regents Scholarship program.  I’m an avid fisherman. I commonly practice “catch and release” so I think it might just be an excuse to get outside and on the water.

Katelyn- I love that you were able to get your BFA as a benefit of working at the U of M, that’s awesome.

I am always curious what inspires an artist to start making art. What inspired you to start making art?

Ray-My parents encouraged me and my siblings to draw.  There was a basic drawing course on PBS that we would gather around to participate in.  Many years later, I took a series of vocational aptitude tests. The counselor there said “you have the habits and unrealized abilities of an artist”  I know it’s not a romantic beginning but the coin dropped and off I went.

Katelyn- What great parents to instill creativity in their children!! That isn’t true for a lot of us.

Can you tell us what is your favorite medium and why?

Ray- I painted with acrylic paints for many years.  I found them preferable to oils. Now that I’m a ceramicist I’m getting finicky about clay bodies.  I mostly use a Stoneware from Continental Clay. It’s sturdy to sculpt with and I like the lighter kilned color that takes glazes easily and looks good unglazed.

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Katelyn- Ah, a painter turned potter. I love how you let your imagination free on the surface of the mug.

I am curious about why you create art.

Ray-Creating Art is essential to my well-being.  Everything I do to support and sustain making Art I call “feeding the Art Monkey”  My artist friends are somewhat taken aback by that but I’m hooked. It’s the center of my being in a way.

Katelyn- I think that is a great way to say it! The Art Monkey has to eat too.  Most creative people have creative blocks sometimes.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Ray- When people talk to me about being blocked I think of Van Gogh, who at one point painted his boots.  There’s loads of inspiration and motivation around us every day. It’s a matter of letting yourself see it.  In clay, there’s a multitude of variables and directions to go in and draw from. I also keep a sketchbook of projects to complete.  That’s my back up plan for feeling that I’m drifting. Or I just start working and see what happens.

Katelyn- I agree, there is so much around us to be inspired by. It is just a matter of letting yourself see.  I think seeing is an art in itself.

You mentioned Van Gogh which makes me wonder if you have particular artists that you are inspired by.

Ray- Antoni Tapies is an inspirational figure for me. He created works based on the texture of the material most people pass by every day.

Katelyn- I had to look him up because I had not heard of him before.  I can see his inspiration in your work. I love the idea of using materials other people overlook.

I know there will be aspiring artists reading this. What advice would you give them?

Ray- One of my favorite musicians once said onstage one night “Don’t (venture into making Art) unless you absolutely have to.”

Katelyn- As one of those people who have to do art, I totally understand!

Can you tell us how we can support you in your art career?

Ray- I like it even if people visit my Facebook page and follow it. Asymmetrical work is far from the norm in functional ceramics, especially for mugs.  I’m making Art that I hope will resonate with others. I’d like to develop a dozen or so conversations about ceramics and art.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people see your art?

The Facebook page for my ceramic work is Clay Panther Ceramics

A very good catalogue of my work is on Pinterest at Functional Art -Ray Caron ClayPantherCeramics and I have an Etsy shop: Clay Panther Ceramics.

 

Interview with local author, Deb Regan

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Deb Regan a local author in the Twin Cities.  Deb is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Welcome Deb! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.

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Katelyn-Tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Deb- I was a partner practicing employment law in a large Minneapolis law firm when my dad was fired for ‘being sick’ (he had brain cancer). He was fired just days after the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect, and I had the great privilege of representing him. We prevailed, and I knew that was why I was supposed to become an attorney. I also knew at that point I was done practicing law.

I then found space clearing (in truth, space clearing found me). Talk about a shift out of the mainstream! My husband describes space clearing as acupuncture for a space – it releases stuck energy that is present.

Katelyn- I got chills when I read what you wrote about your dad. It was totally divine intervention that you went into law! Wow!  And congratulations for following your heart and leaving law to open to a bigger calling.

I am always curious what inspires authors to start writing.  What was your inspiration?

Deb- I started creating the oracle deck and writing the guidebook because of the transformation that I had seen in my clients after they connected with their spaces. They truly began to experience more peace and clarity in their space, recognizing the mirror that it provides for their own growth and evolution.

Katelyn- So you created an actual oracle deck that people can work with to help them create new living spaces in their home.  I love that idea!

What genre do you write in and what do you like to read?

Deb- My writing genre is self-help and empowerment. For my reading genre, I still love a good legal thriller!

Katelyn- I imagine it is more fun seeing the law from the outside these days, through a good book!

I am curious why authors chose to write, what is your motivation?

Deb-I write because it helps me express my ideas. I love being in the flow!

Katelyn- Most creative people get creative blocks at some point.  What do you do when you encounter a creative block?

Deb- I step away from the computer and get out in nature with my two dogs! It absolutely moves me out of my head (where any creative block resides) and into my heart.

Katelyn- Nature is one of the ways I use to and it is the perfect way to get out of your head and into your heart!

Do you have any writers that inspire you and why?

Deb-I like exploring the bigger picture, i.e., who are we, why are we here, so writers who inspire me include, Paulo Coelho, Carolyn Myss and Greg Braden.

Katelyn- I love all three of them too, but especially Paulo Coelho for his wonderful storytelling and Greg Braden for his ability to blend science and consciousness.

I know there are probably a few aspiring writers reading this right now.  What advice would you give them?

Deb- Keep going! We all have a voice. We all have something to share. Don’t fall into the ‘not good enough’ trap that the ego loves so much!

Katelyn- That’s great advice, I think a lot of people stop before they even start because they don’t feel they are good enough to do it.

How can people support you in your writing career?

Deb-Share your story with me! Every time we connect with others there is inspiration to be had. My card deck and guidebook came through when I was sitting with friends at a Women’s Summit!

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Katelyn- Where can people connect with you and find your oracle deck?

Deb- The ‘Oracle Wisdom from Your Space – Loving Insights for Your Life’ card deck and guidebook can be found at www.oraclewisdomspaces.com. There is a free ‘Create a Great Space’ 30-day challenge on the website as well. My session website is www.debregan.com.

 

Interview with Local Artist, Patricia Peuschold

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Patricia Peuschold a local jewelry artist that I just met earlier this year and fell in love with her work. Patricia is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Patricia! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.

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Katelyn- Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

Patricia- I was born in Córdoba, Argentina into an extraordinary creative artistic family. World travel feeds my creativity and soul.  Expressing my creative side in the kitchen is one of my passions.

Katelyn- What a blessing to be born into a family who understood the importance of creativity.  I agree with you about how world travel can feed your creativity and soul. It does the same for me.

I am always curious about what is the favorite medium artist like and why? Can you tell us what yours is?

Patricia- I love vintage & antique medallions, amulets, or pendants. As well as vintage & antique gemstones, pearls, metal, or wood beads. Refurbishing & repurposing vintage & antique jewelry is the hallmark to my jewelry.

Katelyn- I love your creations.  They are like vintage treasures, each piece so unique and beautiful.

Can you tell the readers why you create art?

Patricia- I love statement jewelry and giving life back to a vintage/antique piece is truly exciting.

Katelyn- I imagine people who buy your pieces treasure them. Every artist gets a creative block sometimes.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Patricia- I listen to murder podcast!
Katelyn-  I had to look up what a murder podcast was.  From what I can tell it is a murder mystery where they try to solve murders.  I can see how that would expand your creativity because they have to be really creative to figure out what happened and when you watch them you are in the same frame of mind trying to figure it out.

Do you have a favorite artist who inspires you?

Patricia- Nature totally inspires me.

Katelyn-I understand that completely.  That is my go-to place to find inspiration too.  I imagine there will be some aspiring artists reading this blog. What advice would you give them?

Patricia- Find your personal voice in your art and soar with it. Creativity is healing and peaceful.

Katelyn- So true, creativity and making art is very healing. How can people support you in your art career?

Patricia- Please follow me on Instagram: pptaller11. I appreciate all the love and comments I receive.

Katelyn- I remember talking to you when we met and you said you have a very active Instagram page and that is the place you post your new pieces first, so if people want to follow you they will get the first look at your new creations.

What is your Instagram name?

Instagram: pptaller11

Etsy Shop: pptaller

Interview with Local Artist, Izzy Welsh

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Izzy Welsh a local artist that I just met last weekend and fell in love with her work. Izzy is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Izzy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.

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Katelyn- you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related ?

Izzy- I’m a fairly recent transplant from North Carolina, about a year and a half now. My husband is a Minnesota native who was stationed at the army base about an hour from me back home and we pretty much decided that we were going to get out of the south and move to the Twin Cities around our third or fourth date. I hold a degree in Creative Writing from NCSU and will be teaching writing and performance classes at the newly opened (and absolutely freaking incredible) Creators Space in Lowertown. I’ve worked in the theatre/film industry for a couple of decades predominantly as an actor and scenic artist and have lent my voice to some Japanese cartoons. My grandest aspiration for the near future is to write and produce a musical puppet show about chronic depression. I have a toothless chihuahua named Goblin and am a Twin Peaks superfan.

Katelyn- We met at Creators Space at the Open House last weekend. It is an amazing space to be in and to teach in.  I came up to your table because I was drawn to your art and a fun playful conversation broke out! It was a great way to connect for the first time.

What inspired you to start making art?

Izzy- I was the only child of a working single mom, so I became very adept early on at finding things to do to keep myself busy. I can’t really remember that “first time” I picked up a pen or a crayon or a stick and drew on something…I guess I’ve been drawing for longer than I remember, ha ha, it’s just something I’ve always seemed to do. I remember this book I had when I was, like, five where you drew little animals with basic shapes and step by step instructions and there was a snail in there that drove me absolutely bonkers because I couldn’t get it right. I mean I fixated on it, trying to draw that damned spiral in his shell over and over, always doing it wrong somehow. This culminated in a massive tantrum and I think I tried to tear the book but I couldn’t because it was made for children. At five, I was having an existential crisis over a cartoon snail. I’m in my mid-thirties now, and I really haven’t changed all that much. I can draw a snail now so I can say I’ve genuinely improved.

Katelyn– LOL! your first existential crisis at five, with a book that was supposed to help you draw!  I remember those books! I think I might have gotten frustrated and traced the pictures.

Do you have a favorite medium to work in?

Izzy- I like acrylics because they’re quick and easy. They’re sort of the one-night stand of paints. Oils want you to have this whole long-term relationship with them. I paint on wood because it’s durable and forgiving…also, you can make it into an end table if it comes out really nice.

Katelyn- Okay you are cracking me up!  And end table would be fun, it’s kind of like a one night stand!

So…Why do you paint?

Izzy- Oh man, there are a few answers to this one. On the practical side, it’s just a really handy skill to have. Like all art, really. That’s why I don’t understand them taking art out of schools! I mean, if you need a birthday present that’s original you can’t go wrong with something hand-made. Have an ugly wall in your house? Get some latex paint and make it look fabulous…you know, that kind of thing. You can actually save a lot of money when you do your own decorating. It’s gotten my foot in the door at some theatres, too. To be honest, though, I think I really just paint to keep from going completely insane.

Katelyn- The insanity factor is big for me too! Art is the best therapist.  Don’t get me going about taking art out of schools, it’s ridiculous!

So most artists have creative blocks from time to time. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Izzy- I try to work on a lot of projects at once so when I get bored or blocked with one, I’ve got something different to fixate on. I’ll work on a piece for a while, get completely infuriated with it, sequester it in a corner, then discover it six months later after getting mad with something else and be like “Wow! This is a goldmine! Why did I ever stop on this?” I also play video games when I get totally burned out. They are an invaluable part of my creative process.

Katelyn- I have some paintings like that which are taking me years to finish. Sometimes I stumble on something that was tucked away and say “Wow, who painted this, it’s amazing” forgetting it was me.  I can see how video games can unlock a creative block too.

What Writers inspire you and why?

Katelyn- I’m fired up by writers who aren’t afraid to satirize. Like Vonnegut. Or the guy who wrote A Confederacy of Dunces…John Kennedy Toole! I can’t believe I forgot his name. He was a GOD. I mean, he’s got this fat arrogant man-child sidling around New Orleans being a jerk to everyone and it’s absolutely freaking hilarious, but it also captures the very ESSENCE of the human idiom – how enslaved we all are by the act of “fitting in” and earning money and that modern society generally just kinda makes itself miserable. He could have explored these same concepts in a very heavy-handed tome with lots of tragedy or a thesis paper or something but he didn’t, he made it hilarious and breezy and NAILED IT. I think that’s the most beautiful thing when an artist doesn’t take themselves too seriously. We have this weird notion that high thought can’t be funny and I just think that’s dumb.

Katelyn- High thought and play can be the funniest most awaking form of art!

I imagine there will be some aspiring artists reading this interview. What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Izzy- Don’t listen to ANYONE who you don’t like. Also, spend the extra money on the good brushes…you’ll be happier in the long run.

Katelyn- Ah, good brushes, Yes! I would add to that to clean them well.  When you think they are clean, clean them some more.

How can people support you in your art career?

Izzy- Please sweet God, buy my art. Have a friend buy my art. Give my art to family members on national and religious holidays. My art is free of trans-fats and safe for those with nut allergies.

Katelyn- Oh my Gosh! Fat and allergen free, what could be better.  Buy Izzy’s art right here…

Izzy- I have a lot of my work available on Redbubble at www.redbubble.com/people/danceforgrandma and my official site, danceforgrandma.com, should be up and running any minute now! So Check Back!!

 

Interview with Local Author, Lisa Metwaly

Tonight I have the pleasure of speaking with my friend, Lisa Metwaly author of, Kindness Travel.  Lisa is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this evening.

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Katelyn- Tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Lisa- I love to laugh, dance and go on adventures. My gardens are out of control with flowers and I also love to give bouquets away to randomly nominated people that live in my city. I’m currently engaged with World Kindness USA and getting trained to be a global ambassador of kindness.

Katelyn- I love the kindness bouquet campaign you started. I nominated my chiropractor and she was so surprised to get the flowers.  She said it made her day.  I imagine this act of kindness it making a lot of people happy. I have watched the Kindness work you have been doing grow over the years and it is very inspiring!

I am always curious what inspires authors to write. What inspired you to start writing?

Lisa- I was inspired to start writing when I owned the Q Kindness Café. I took on the job of marketing, P.R. and general front of the house management. I had to get better at writing by default. The stories came easily because so much kindness happened there. People shared their stories and I wrote about them.  

Katelyn– I loved Q Kindness Cafe!  You had so many things around the cafe to inspire kindness in people.  It was so much fun!

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This is your book, Kindness Travels, Penny Power. It is written like a children’s book but adults can learn from it too!  What genre do you write and what do you like to read?

Lisa-  I love to write self-help, inspiration and meaningful passages. Sometimes I write poetry and other times its short stories. I love to read self-help and a good mystery.

Katelyn- I am always curious why authors write. Why do you write?

Lisa- I write to get the thoughts out of my head to make room for more play time. It’s my hope that what has helped me will help others. Kindness really is everywhere to be found. It starts with us and boldly we can move it forward into the world. I believe that our children are our best hope to help better the world. This is why my kindness books are intended to reach the schools in a pay it forward, kindness travels, fashion.

Katelyn- I have been impressed with your commitment to getting the book into a lot of hands and the buy a book and a book gets donated to a child.  What a wonderful way to spread kindness!

I know every creative person gets creative blocks once in a while.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Lisa- I get around water. I’ll put my fingers in a plate of water and swirl it around as I sit with the question of “what do I need to know?” Water is a great conduit for intuition.

Katelyn- You are so right about water.  It immediately opens you and like you said helps you to tap into your intuition.

What writers inspire you and why?

Lisa- Sark, Susan Branch, Rachel Awes, Maya Angelou … they all write from their heart. They inspire kindness and playfulness.

Katelyn- Sark was an early inspiration for me to open up creatively.  Her books can really help with breaking through creative blocks too.  Rachel Awesome has a similar style and way of helping us to expand the way we think.  Great choices!

I imagine there are some aspiring writers reading this blog. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Lisa- The only thing that cannot be fixed by an editor is an empty page.

Katelyn- That made me smile.  I always say, just start writing, it doesn’t matter what comes out, just let it come out!

How can people support you in your writing career?

Lisa- I’m always seeking sponsors that want to get their name out to the local schools. If you have schools that would like to do a kindness project, I’m here to serve. Please send me referrals of principals or teachers that would be open-minded to more kindness.

Buy a book or host a book party where kindness is created. Kindness books can be purchased in bulk at wholesale and sold at retail for fundraisers.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people find your books and connect with you about your kindness work?

www.kindnesstravels.com

 

Interview with local Author and Artist Carole Hyder

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with my dear friend Carole Hyder she is a nationally recognized Feng Shui expert, author, and artist. Carole is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Carole! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.

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Katelyn- Hi Carole can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related.

Carole- I am cat-centric:  I love all things cat.  Almost all of my adult life I have had a cat, or two, or three.  I work hard not to be the crazy cat lady.

Katelyn- I know about your love of cats and have met some of your furry friends in person.  As another cat lover, I have decided that it’s okay to be a crazy cat lady!

Can you talk about what inspired you to start making art?

Carole- I have a degree in print-making so art has always had a high interest for me.  Painting is a creative outlet that uses different parts of my brain and body.

Katelyn- I have known you for many years and I didn’t know this about you.  I have a degree in print-making too.  How cool is that?

I don’t know about you but I never did print-making after I graduated because I didn’t have access to a printing press.  Do you have a favorite medium that you like to work with now?

Carole- I enjoy using acrylic paints with a palette knife because it offers me freedom of expression, plus they are very forgiving.

Katelyn- I love how you are using acrylics in your art. Here is an example of Carole’s work from a recent show:

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I am always curious to know why artists create. Why do you create art?

Carole- Painting is a creative outlet that uses different parts of my brain and body.

Katelyn- I think that is key to making art because it gets you out of your thinking brain and allows you to access intuitive information.  Most artists run into creative blocks from time to time. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Carole- I walk away from the canvas, give myself some time and space, and then come back to it.  My return may be the next day, next week or a month later.  The painting lets me know when it’s time for us to work together again.

Katelyn- I love the idea that the painting calls you back to it.  I never thought of it that way but that is what happens, isn’t it?

What art/artists inspire you and why?

Carole- I’m inspired by the Impressionists who captured the essence of a scene or object without the need for precise details.  The viewer understands the spirit behind it.

Katelyn- I can see the impressionistic influence in your work.  It is really beautiful! I feel the same way.  The painting speaks to the viewer and the viewer really doesn’t need language to understand what they are seeing. The work speaks to everyone differently.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Carole- I am not sure I will ever get over feeling like I’m an aspiring artist—-I’m always aspiring to a new expression or a new approach.  My advice would be to maintain a steady relationship with your art and let your art lead you.

Katelyn- I love that answer.  From that perspective, the work is always fresh and new.

I also want to say that Carole was the one who introduced Feng Shui to Minnesota.  That could be a whole other interview. She has written several books on Feng Shui that she will have at the Festival along with her art. I know she would love to have conversations about both her art and Feng Shui.  You can find her books at https://www.carolehyder.com/products/

Thank you so much, Carole, for taking the time to share with our readers.

Interview with Local Author, Amy Zellmer

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Amy Zellmer and author of, Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Surviving Brain Injury and Embracing the Journey.  Amy is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Amy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.

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Katelyn- Amy can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?
Amy-I was a professional photographer for 20 years before retiring in 2018 due to my brain injury. I love all things sparkly and glittery and am addicted to Miss Me jeans and Starbucks coffee.
Katelyn- Those are some fun, harmless addictions! I have seen your photography and it is wonderful. I am so sorry you had to retire that career. I know that you have been speaking all over the country about your experience and what you have learned about traumatic brain injury and impacting a lot of lives in a positive way.
I know what inspired your writing but could you tell the readers?
Amy- After suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2014, I began writing as a form of therapy. From there I submitted a piece to the Huffington Post which went crazy viral and thus became my advocacy platform. The rest, as they say, is history.
Katelyn- Writing can be such a great form of healing when we experience something traumatic. I am glad you got confirmation from the viral post that you were on the right track.
Can you tell the readers what genre you write in and what kind of books you like to read?
Amy- I write non-fiction, and I also love to read non-fiction. I also love a good mystery book!
Katelyn- I am always curious about why authors choose to write and go through the process of getting their writing published.  What compels you to write?
Amy-As I mentioned, I began writing as therapy. I now continue to write to help others who have experienced a brain injury and to help educate loved ones, caregivers, and the medical profession. With over 3.5 million TBIs each year in the US alone, it is a grossly misunderstood and misdiagnosed injury.
Knowing that my writing is helping thousands (if not millions) of people around the world who are lost and confused in the world of TBI keeps me writing. I receive the most amazing cards of gratitude for my pieces, and it’s truly touching.
Katelyn-I am so glad you are out there as an advocate! Traumatic brain injury is just starting to get the recognition it needs.  So many people have had one and don’t even know and the effects of TBI can be devastating as you know.
As a writer and creative person, I am sure you have had at least one creative block.
What do you do when you get a creative block?
Amy- I can either sit down and write an article in 5 minutes flat, or I sit and stare at my screen for 20 minutes before realizing I need to go for a walk outside in nature to clear my mind from all the chatter.
Katelyn- Ah, nature is my place to clear my mind too.
I imagine some of our readers also feel like they have a book in them and don’t know where to start. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Amy- I am asked often by fellow TBIers how to get started writing. I tell them to write no matter how little or how much. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Just get it down on paper and out of your head. A good Editor will help you flush it all out and turn it into a piece of art!
Katelyn- I agree. Just start and don’t worry about it being a finished product.  Like you I started by blogging and feel that is a great way for people to start writing and getting feedback.
How can people support you in your writing career?
Amy- I have started Keynoting at conferences to help the medical community understand the reach of TBI and how it impacts us when we are brushed off by doctors who we are supposed to trust. I am always looking for groups who would be interested in having me speak and do a book signing!
Katelyn- Thank you so much for spending time with me and sharing more about you, Amy.
What is your web address or where can people find your books or get in touch with you about speaking?

Interview with Michele Rae of The Center Within

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Michele Rae, of the Center Within and author of Living From the Center Within: Co-Creating Who You Are Becoming. Michele is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Michele! It’s an honor to spend time with you today!

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Katelyn- Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Michele-I have a passion for supporting humanity as we choose timelines that have the most positive outcomes for the greater good during this time of tremendous transformation. It has been my heartsong for many years now. I founded The Center Within, LLC in 2001 and provide intuitive holistic life coaching designed to accelerate and support personal, professional and organizational transformation. While working with me, clients tell me they become more confident and engaged as they enhance their gifts, talents, wisdom, and passions. Part of this process of transformation also requires we all gain clarity and power as we expose and unblock limiting beliefs, stuck patterns, and fears. As an empath, my abilities in deep listening, intuition, appreciative inquiry, spiritual practices, mindfulness, presence and emotional intelligence are supportive as clients create self-directed strategies to implement the changes they desire to create a life they love.

I also offer classes and retreats through the Center Within. In addition, I am a graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Center for Spirituality & Healing, The Humphrey Institute and the College of Pharmacy. I teach about mindfulness leadership, Mind-Body Science, spirituality and human development. I will talk and teach about these topics wherever I get invited! Supporting people on their journey to wholeness and full discovery of their holiness is a true delight!

Katelyn- You are teaching powerful information which is so needed right now. People need to learn to be self-empowered to be able to navigate the waters of change we are in right now.

I am always curious to learn what inspires an author to write. Can you tell our readers what inspired you to start writing?

Michele- I had clients, students, friends and family ask if I had the information we talked about in one place so they could read more and share it within their circles. This prompted me to write blogs and articles that eventually made their way into this book.

Katelyn- I think a lot of authors start by writing a blog.  I know I did and it helped me to get more clarity on my thoughts before jumping into a book. I imagine your clients and students are grateful that you put your wisdom into Living From the Center Within!

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Do you have a genre that you prefer to write in and to read?

Michele-Spirituality, human development, self-care, transformation, the evolution of consciousness, mindfulness

Katelyn- Those are some of my favorites too. I have found that authors have all kinds of reasons for choosing to write.  I am interested in why you write.

Michele-I write because we are living amidst a huge shift and in a transformative period which is creating lots of confusion, uncertainty, and change. This book is a roadmap for us to utilize as we move towards a new way of being human. Cultivating higher consciousness in myself and others brings me joy. This book invites the readers to join more deeply into this conversation so that together we may build our capacity to live at higher levels of consciousness. I encourage all who read it to connect and build the community of people living with intention and expanding our awareness. I invite each of us to support one another as we co-create who we are each becoming with love and compassion.

Katelyn- I think it is so important for those of us who have been on the path for a long time to pass our wisdom along to others, which is what you are doing. Those who are newer on the path, as you say, are faced with confusion and uncertainty and books like yours will give them more of a sense of peace as they move through the change.

As an author and creative, I am sure you get creative blocks at times.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Michele- In the book I have a chapter dedicated to transforming practices and have utilized all of them at different times when I have a creative block. In the book, I define transforming practices as activities designed to center, quiet, and open the mind-body-heart. They help us focus attention and awareness in the present moment. These mindfulness practices encourage open receptivity, accepting and observing without evaluation or judgment. Here are a few from the list:

  • Breathwork: patterns of breathing
  • Meditation: mindfulness, concentrative, moving, open
  • Music: listening to chant, singing, toning
  • Silence: binge in quiet
  • Smell: aromatherapy
  • Mindful eating: intentionally prepare and eat a meal
  • Body Movement: exercise, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, stretch, walk a labyrinth, dance
  • Guided Imagery: autogenics, visualizations
  • Journal: writing and reflecting, creating a gratitude journal
  • Art: writing, drawing, sculpting, creating mandalas, making collages
  • Biofeedback: using instruments that provide feedback on physiological changes  
  • Being in nature: walking, sitting, observing
  • Contemplation and study: sacred text, poetry, koans, myths, symbols, metaphor, archetypes
  • Ritual: a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects that support an intention
  • Dreams: recording, contemplating, exploring meaning and insights in dreams

Katelyn- That is a fabulous list of ways to move through any kind of block.  Many of them I have used myself and know that they work.  It looks like there is a lot of valuable information in Living from the Center Within.

I am sure you have read a lot of books over the years. Do you have writers who inspire you and can you tell us why?

Michele- I am inspired by other’s who are visible in leading conversations and building community during this time of transformation. They are envisioning a new world and providing tools and insights for us all.  A few include:

Deepak Chopra, A.H. Almaas, Wayne Dyer, David Hawkins, Ken Wilbur, Barbara Marx

Hubbard, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Jon Kabat-Zinn

I also find great wisdom in the sacred teachings and poetry

Katelyn- A great list of leaders in the new world movement. Anyone of them would be a great place to start if someone is interested in exploring this field in more depth.

I imagine there are people reading this blog who might want to write a book themselves someday. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Michele-

Let your writing be a dance. Let it move you, show you new ways to know yourself and the material that is presenting. Let it transform you. Write from the heart, let the head, details and how unfold like magic to support your art expressing into the world. Create routine time and space in your life for your writing, just like setting aside time for spiritual practice.

Katelyn- That’s a beautiful way to look at. I love the metaphors you use. You are speaking my language!

As we end this conversation I would like the readers to know how they can support you in your work?

Michele- People can buy my book, write a review, share my book with other likeminded lightworkers, way showers and those interested in living a life they love. You can also support my writing by sending me feedback on the book, participating in one or many of the many classes I offer or come in for a coaching session.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people find your book and connect with you are coaching or speaking?

http://www.CenterWithin.com or contact her at Michele@CenterWithin.com or 612-465-9775

Direct links to more about my book:

http://centerwithin.com/book/

https://www.amazon.com/Living-Center-Within-Co-Creating-Becoming/dp/1557789290

Interview with Local Artist, Jennifer Maroney

Katelyn-Today I am spending time talking with Jennifer Maroney about her art. Jennifer is another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,  Good Morning Jennifer! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

smalljennifer

Jennifer- That is a hard question because my entire life is art-related. *wink *wink. I have a very spoiled 8-year-old Chihuahua named Sid. He is 6.5 lbs of pure love. He is my constant companion as I work from home as a graphic designer. I also collect tiny erasers shaped like food. My favorite is a tiny ramen bowl with ramen noodles inside. I am an avid reader and usually have about 3 books I am reading at all times.
Katelyn- It is so fun to have our pets around while we work to add moral support! I love your collection, I can see it as you describe it to me. Can you tell our readers what inspired you to start making art?
Jennifer- I have doodling and drawing since I could hold a crayon and drew on the walls at our home – yes I did that! Everything inspires me – early on it was my love of horses and animals and then it turned into everything around me, nature, dreams, things I’ve read or conversations that I hear or have had.  All of those things can inspire a drawing or painting. I am constantly doodling and keep numerous journals to hold all of my ideas.
Katelyn- I love how your love of art started early and didn’t stop!  It is so true that we can find inspiration everywhere.  Do you have a favorite medium and why do you like it?
Jennifer- Black ink. All of my drawings and paintings start with a sketch in ink, where that is a Sharpie marker or regular in pen.  After that, any medium with color, such as acrylic paint, watercolor, oil pastels and markers.
Katelyn- That’s interesting, I start with black ink too.  I have never even thought about it as my favorite medium but you are right. I see that you are a book illustrator too.  I love your work. I am always curious to know why a person chooses to do art. Why do you create art?
Jennifer- It makes me feel good and I can’t help it, I must create! Making art is my happy place.  It is meditative and the one thing I can do where I lose track of time and everything around me.
 
Katelyn- I went looking for a piece of art that I could add to this blog and found this one that demonstrates exactly what you are talking about to me. Your happy place!
HappyJennland4lil

 

 

Katelyn- With all of that creativity flowing you still must get creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?
Jennifer- I doodle abstract shapes, practice lettering, look up inspiring quotes, read, look through my photos and look at images of old toys and vintage advertising, that always sparks something.  Pinterest is a fantastic way to unblock. It is window shopping for creativity.
Katelyn- I love that idea of window shopping for creativity, and Pinterest is a good place to shop! I am curious about what artist/artists inspire you and why?
Jennifer- There are so many! When I went to college for Art, I LOVED my Art History Classes.  Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro’ Frida Kahlo, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse- all so inspiring!  I also love William Morris’ pattern designs and the Art Nouveau Movement.  All of these artists inspire me with their color and vibrancy as well as their individual narratives. Frida’s self-portraits, Chagall’s images from his childhood, to Matisse’s ever-evolving style and medium choices. They LIVED their art.
Katelyn- Those are some of my favorites too.  I especially see Kandinsky, Chagall and Miro’s influence on your work. I love all of the colors you use.  I know there are some aspiring artists that are reading this blog. What advice would you give them?
Jennifer- Just be yourself. Paint, draw, doodle, sculpt.  Whatever your passion is, do it and do it with our authentic self 100%. No one else can do what you do or create what you create. Not that long ago, I had put all of my art supplies away, convinced I couldn’t ” make it” as an artist, so what was the point.  A friend of mine encouraged me to just do a little art every day, just for myself, even if it was only 10 minutes.  That got me out of my rut, and help me see how much I missed creating. No matter where it takes me or if no one ever sees something I create, I create primarily for myself now and if someone else enjoys it is a happy bonus.
Katelyn- I so resonate with this advice!  I have done the same thing.  Put my art to the side and gave up because I thought what is the purpose if I was the only one seeing it.  We artist have to get to a healthy space where we create because we have to and not make it about “Making it”.  It sounds like you got there!
One of the reasons I created Brush and Pen: A Festival for Artists and Writers is to give local people who are talented a place to be seen. Where we can connect with other creative people and the community and make connections. I am so glad you are a part of the event.
How can people support you in your art career?
Jennifer- People can support me by liking my art that I post on Instagram or Facebook and telling me that it makes them happy! That is always the best! Also, buying my work is a blessing- to know that something I have created has touched someone so much that they want to have it in their home.  I also love to collaborate.
Katelyn- Thank you for spending time with me, Jennifer.  It was a pleasure to get to know more about you.  Where can people see your art?

 

 

My website and Etsy shop is at http://www.jennymaroney.com and I am on Instagram as Jennymaroney.