Archives for April 2017

3Ws – Susan Bernardo & Courtenay Fletcher

 

Susan Bernardo

What do you create?

I write poetry and children’s books intended to heal and inspire. I also sculpt, paint, garden, collage, concoct vegan curry, and try to make an eclectic home sanctuary for my family and petite menagerie of two cats, an excitable terrier and our hens Ruby and Raven (I built their coop, too!). I craft the occasional vision board, magic wand or fairy house, and I even created two awesome sons, from scratch! And clutter — I create a LOT of clutter. I’m versatile.

  

 

Why do you create?

Writing and creating art help me make meaning out of events that don’t make sense (like divorce, miscarriage, losing loved ones and other trauma). This whole being-a-human experience gets intense sometimes, and I am an emotional creature. Instead of letting all those emotions swirl around inside like a tornado, I find ways to release them onto the page or into clay or by planting seedlings in my vegetable beds. Everything seems like metaphor to me – composting, vertigo, pruning rosebushes, butterflies. I believe it’s my responsibility as a writer to figure out how to process my own pain and fear, transmute those feelings into poetry or art, and then offer it back into the world to help others coping with similar issues. I am also constantly inspired by the world around me – museums, travel, art, parenting, nature, love, science – and writing books and poetry gives me a way to share those experiences and my sense of wonder and gratitude.

 

What do you consume?

At the moment, I am devouring fantasy and sci fi novels by Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K Le Guin. I just turned 50, so this might be my version of a midlife crisis – I dream of riding dragons instead of a Harley Davidson. These books are filling the well and taking me back to my adolescence – which is perfect as I dive into writing a YA series for the first time. I’m also an information junkie with a “need to know WHY???.” I might be a teeny-tiny-totally bit addicted to my smartphone, especially the ability it gives me to Google anything, anytime, anywhere. And, of course, I consume chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Dark. With almonds and sea salt. You know, because of the antioxidants. And the dementors.

 

Courtenay Fletcher

What do you create?

I love making children’s books because as a visual storyteller, I can create imaginary worlds that my inner child would like to jump into and explore. I love entire process of actually making a book…the design, finding the right fonts, picking the paper, watching huge machines print it out and assemble it and then holding that finished art piece in my hands. That’s super satisfying. Like most creative people, I wear many hats depending on my mood or needs. Baking, knitting, painting, gardening, photography, doing graphic design projects are all ways I help soothe my restless creativity (and pay the bills).

 

 

Why do you create?

My grandpa was a homesteader so I come from a family of carpenters, farmers, canners, quilters and wonderful storytellers.They were independent people who worked hard and made things with their hands. They never thought of themselves as creative, but they definitely were and they inspired my imaginative spirit. I think I create things as a way of keeping my busy brain happy. Once for my daughter’s Alice in Wonderland birthday, I painted and cut out all the characters on huge plywood boards and put them all over the yard. Then I strung up 75 brightly colored paper lanterns that I’d spent a week making in my den. I probably should have been a set builder at a studio-I love power tools and make-believe! The ability to bring something from your imagination into being is really wonderful, whether it be a log cabin or a doodle. It provides many opportunities to stand back and say, “Wow, look what I made!”

 

What do you consume?

Because I’ve been working on a book about a tiny house for the last year, I’ve really become aware of my consumption of stuff…asking myself how much I really need something before I buy it. At the moment, though, I’m feeling overwhelmed with info and emails and to-do lists. I feel like if you opened up my brain, it would look like an episode of the Hoarders! To find escape, I turn to old movies (preferably BW), jazz, walks in nature or a good book. Lately I’ve been reading lots of fiction set in WWll…The Plum Tree, All the Light We Cannot See, The Summer Before the War, The Winter of the World, but I also love sci-fi and YA novels. Sometimes as a way to mellow out while I’m illustrating under a super tight deadline, I’ll put on Native American flute music and visualize standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon. Of course, trips to art museums, local botanical gardens or just looking up at the night sky help bring back a sense of peace, balance and perspective.