Monday, November 27, 2006

My Creative Story - Sue Mitchell

“Sue Mitchell is a Toronto entrepreneur whose concept 'Creative Break' is a workshop program that offers attendees the chance to try using new tools and materials in a supervised, creative space. People sign up for a three-hour workshop and go home with their own handmade project — a wooden planter, a stained-glass stepping stone or a hand-formed garden pot.”

The photo and quote above appeared in the Toronto Star, February 24, 2005. To read the entire article, visit


What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is many things for me.

It's the opportunity to try new things, especially something that I haven't done before.

It's the opportunity to make things with my own hands, to figure out how something is made and do it for myself.

It's also the ability to think of things in a different way: to take ideas and grow them, expand them, twist them into something new.

Problem-solving is high on my creative list. I'm not terribly good at drawing or painting, so I like to find ways that I can make things using paints and other materials that look great, but don't depend on an ability to draw - I love colour. I think the process of playing with all the materials is as much, if not more fun, than the finished product.

What is your creative passion? How do you approach it?
I'm still discovering my creative passion. What do I truly love to do? I feel most creative when I'm making things, trading and building ideas with other people and helping show people how they can make things. I love it when someone doesn't think they are a creative person, but then finds out that in fact they are.

Creativity in our society seems to be related to the ability to draw, sing, dance, act, write, etc., all of which are wonderful creative expressions. Unfortunately, the creativity that we use in our daily survival so often goes unnoticed. Any woman who balances children and work is surely a creative person. I'm becoming more aware of all the things we do that are creative.

Describe the feeling you have when heavily into a creative activity you love?
If it is some concrete project that I'm working on (ie. making something) the feeling is generally one of intense concentration, lost in whatever I'm doing - very much in the moment. Although sometimes it starts to spark ideas, and then my mind gets very busy dreaming up new things.

If I'm problem-solving or being creative with ideas, then the feeling is more one of excitement as the pieces start to fall into place, as one idea stimulates another, like a set of building blocks as you see things begin to take shape.

What does the creative process do to, or for, you?
I think that the process does many things.

At times it is good for relaxing, or focusing. I find that if I'm in a bad mood or at a loss, if I start working on something with my hands, I get lost in it and it calms me down. It can lift my mood.

I feel that working with my hands making things helps to open up my thinking and makes me a more creative thinker in other areas of my life.

Sometimes it's just plain fun - a chance to play, a diversion, a reason to laugh, being silly, remembering the joy of playing as a child.

Sometimes it's about the feedback that you get, the feeling of pride when asked "you made that?"

How have you fulfilled your own creative urges?
I've learned that it's OK to buy stuff like paints and papers without necessarily having a concrete plan in mind. Sometimes, just having the materials around - knowing I can use them when I want is enough! I've started to experiment with different projects that I've always wanted to do, but I really need to find more time and space to pursue these things.

What do you do to satisfy your soul?
Spend time with loved ones. Pet my cat. Go for a walk in the country. Dance. Laugh.

Visit Sue's website at Reach her by email:

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