Creative Courage Soul Sisters : Part I

Photo of artist Lisa Congdon by Leslie Sophia Lindell Photography

Hello there! I'm excited to share a new Creative Courage Soul Sisters post with you today! These incredible women will be sharing their secrets with us in exclusive interviews in the next session of my Creative Courage e-course

I LOVE doing these guest interviews with talented, smart women who are running thriving creative businesses and following their dreams. I learn so much from the interviews myself, and I'm always inspired and pleasantly surprised by the responses I receive.

Creative Courage starts in only 2 weeks, and I'd like to invite you to join us here


We'll start today with San Francisco based illustrator and fine artistLisa Congdon - author of the unique book A Collection A Day, which documents her 2010 blog project, published by UPPERCASE. Lisa is represented by the prestigious agency Lilla Rogers Studio and her clients include Chronicle Books, Target, and Urban Outfitters.

Lisa was raised in upstate New York and Northern California surrounded by trees and animals, and her artwork is inspired by her love of nature. She now lives in San Francisco, and she's also an avid cyclist and swimmer.

Lisa loves cooking vegan meals, visiting flea markets, watching films, and spending time in her light-filled studio. 

When asked about her creative dreams for 2013, Lisa told me: "In 2013, I'd like to start making large, abstract paintings." 

See Lisa's art portfolio, and visit Lisa on her blogFacebook, Twitter, in her Etsy shop and on Big Cartel.

Another lovely guest joining us this session is Faythe Levine, documentary film maker, writer, artist, photographer, curator, events organizer, creator of the well-known film and book Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY Art, Craft, and Design, as well as the new Sign Painters book and upcoming film.

In her hometown of Milwaukee, Faythe curates an art space called Sky High Gallery. Since 2004, she has also organized a wildly successful local show called Art vs. Craft that supports innovative makers of handmade goods. 

Faythe writes: "I am continually searching for good things-- music, food and art objects. My desire to share and collect drives me to keep searching and meeting new people at home and while I travel." 

One of Faythe's creative dreams for 2013: "In 2013 I am determined to step away from computer based research and carve out studio time for myself to go back to making visual art."

Learn more about Faythe's many fascinating creative projects on her blog, including more about the Handmade Nation book and film and her new Sign Painters book and film.

Our next guest is Laurie Wagnerpoet and writer, creative writing coach, author of 7 published books and numerous magazine articles, creator of the 27 powers Traveling Writers series, Wild Writing classes, and the Telling True Stories ecourse. She's also a mixed media artist, mother of two, and a "one time amateur racquetball champion."

I adore how Laurie tells us more about herself here: "The ceiling in my dining room is gold. The walls are blood red. I have a fire pit surrounded by a motley crew of comfy chairs, in my front yard.  My garden refuses to be tamed... If I'm in a bleak mood, I won't try to hide it. If I'm feeling like a luminescent moonbeam, I won't hide that either."

Laurie has personally taught over 1000 writing students, and she currently leads weekly writing classes at her home in the Northern California Bay Area and in Berkeley at The Teahouse Studio. Her Telling True Stories e-course is wide open and welcome to writers of all ages, around the world.
When I asked Laurie to tell me about one of her creative dreams for 2013, she replied:

"My creative dream for 2013 is pretty simple, it's to have a create person's wet dream. For this, I need the trinity of: 

1. Good ideas
2. The time to execute them
3. The energy to inspire them

Often I'll have one or two of them - the ideas, but no time - the time, but no get-off-my- tush-inspiration to execute them.

Having all three  - ideas, energy and time - is all I want for 2013. I don't care what I make, I just want to make it up and make it happen!"  

Don't miss Laurie's 27 Powers website and blog, and there is still time to sign up for her Telling True Stories e-course starting this week!

I'm delighted to have ceramic artist Diana Fayt joining us this session too! 

Diana is based in San Francisco and her internationally celebrated ceramic art has been featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine and in many American and Japanese publications, such as Zakka, Lee, Mademoiselle (Japan), and Sunset Magazine. Diana's artwork is exhibited all over the world, and her clients include Heath Ceramics and Terrain.

Diana leads workshops throughout the US, and she is now making beautiful videos as an online instructor with Creativebug.comHave a look to meet Diana, see her process, and peek inside her studio here.

Diana will be re-launching her own e-course, The Clayer: Surfacing in the next weeks, so be sure to stay tuned to her blog for updates.

More about Diana's unique process and concepts with her art on clay: "Through her signature process of etching in clay, the shadows of birds and rabbits come alive to play in forests of intricately rendered botanical specimens, exotic sea creatures lurk below antique sailing vessels, primitive markings allude to atomic structures and everyday objects blur the lines between form and function."

Diana received her ceramics and printmaking degree from the California Arts and Crafts, but beforehand she spent a year retracing her Hungarian family roots in Budapest in 1983/84. In Hungary with her distant relatives, Diana "explored Communist Hungary with a pack of former circus stars who drove an old Cadillac, frequented burlesque shows and liked to "Boogie."  (Sounds like fun to me!!)

I asked Diana to share one of her creative dreams for 2013: 

"My one creative dream for 2013 is to learn new things. I've spent so many years as a solitary maker and teaching others that I am yearning to re-fill by learning new things and be challenged in new ways. The number one thing I want to do is learn better sewing skills so I can start making my own clothing."

Connect with Diana on her blog, on Facebook, and on Pinterest; see her beautiful website portfolio and don't miss her online shop.

Another Creative Courage Soul Sister who loves to combine her travel and creative process as much as I do is Maya Stein - ninja poet, writing guide, creative adventuress, creator of the Type-Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem and Tour de Word travel writing projects, and leader of the Feral Writing Workshops.

Maya was born in Nova Scotia, but grew up in New England, has more freckles than she can count, loves making crepes, and is a self-proclaimed "perennial 12-year-old" and "seeker of hidden places and mystery."

Maya's weekly poetry practice10-line Tuesdayreaches more than 1000 people each week, she has self-published four books, and she just completed her fifth.

In 2010, Maya completed her "Tour de Word" project - a two month, 12,000 mile driving trip through 30 states, during which she lead writing workshops for children and adults.

In early summer 2012, to celebrate her 40th year, Maya began her "Type Rider: Cycling the Great American Poem" travel project. For this tour, Maya rode her bicycle (towing a typewriter) for 40 days and more than 1,200 miles from Amherst, Massachusetts to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while stopping to gather words and images from strangers in the communities she visited.

Regarding her creative dreams in 2013, Maya told me:

"Aside from finishing my Type Rider book, what I'd REALLY like to do is be asked to come for a speaking engagement somewhere. I'd love to be able to share some of my experiences - about writing, about teaching, about building an audience around poetry, about navigating online spaces with my work, and about manifesting creative projects. I'm hungry for live interactions, opportunities for genuine learning and exchange, and I'd really like to offer up more of myself in this way, to help others through the process of moving their creative lives forward."

Join Maya on her website, find out more about her classes, and peek inside her shop.

The always inspiring Portland based photographer Andrea Jenkins will happily be joining us this session as well! 

In addition to being a photographer, Andrea is a writer, modern dance teacher, core contributor to UPPERCASE magazine, as well as a regular contributor to Poppytalk and Shutter Sisters. Her work has been featured in numerous art/photography books and magazines.

Andrea describes herself as: "one part freelance photographer, one part writer, one part teacher, one part (modern) dancer, one hundred parts mama. kidding about that last part. well, not really. I live in portland, oregon with my spectacularly bearded husband and two extraordinary children in a small house filled with too many collections and probably too many legos."

Her loves: "instant photography and lists that tell stories plus old school photo booths and movement as art. plus vintage everything, lemon sugar anything."

Andrea's creative dream for 2013:

"to shoot with as many different cameras as I can. and write about it. in fact, it's a new project I'm about to begin." 

I adore Andreas' lovely Hula 70 blog and her Etsy shop full of gorgeous prints featuring her dreamy Polaroid (and other) photos.

You can also connect with Andrea on flickr, twitter, pinterest, and instagram.


A giant, warm hug goes out to all of my Creative Courage Soul Sisters for sharing their time and thoughts with us, and I hope you enjoyed meeting them and having a peek behind the scenes. 

I can't wait to share their interviews with you in the course! Part II is coming up later today.

I hope you'll join us for the next inspiring new session of Creative Courage, starting January 28th. To get more information and register, simply click here.