3Ws – Laurel Saville

 

What do you create?

1. Stories that explore some of the ways we get thing wrong in relationships by allowing the limits of our own perception to circumscribe our full awareness of of other people. Hopefully, these stories also offer some observations on how to get things a little more right, as well.

2. Better behaved dogs and better informed dog guardians who are able to have a more fun and fulfilling relationship together. Yup, I’m a dog trainer as well as a writer.

3. Well-worn hiking boots, a dusty, dirty truck, a worn out dog, and lots of visual memories of beautiful places and stunning scenery.

 

Why do you create?

1. I grew up surrounded by people who were artists, designers, gardeners, and makers-of-things. These people were always sketching, painting, sewing, renovating, and spontaneously re-arranging the world around them to express their intensely personal vision. My childhood was highly unconventional and also full of neglect and unkindness, but expressing oneself creatively was held in highest regard, and I’ve carried that value into my day-to-day life.

2. I’ve always had a deep interest in animal cognition and behavior, have studied these topics formally and informally, and am an active volunteer with two rescue groups. I had no intention of becoming a trainer of people and their dogs, but I kept getting requests to help. When the local veterinary’s office asked me to print up cards so they didn’t have to keep scribbling my phone number on sticky notes, well, I gave in and began offering lessons and classes. It’s been some of the most gratifying work I have ever done, as there are few things more happy-making than being around well-adjusted dogs and guardians who are learning how to help their pups be their very best.

3. Solvitur ambulando. I do my best writing when I’m walking.

 

What do you consume?

Lindsey Davis novels.
Books on animal behavior and cognition.
Rainier cherries, blueberries, and avocados.
Cider and ginger beer.
Human habits that get in the way of their canine relationships.
Trails. Lots and lots of trails.

 

Links

 

3Ws – Camille Di Maio

 

What do you create?

I create stories that are tinged with heartache but end with joy. I grew up devouring the British classics. Jane Eyre is a favorite, and a good example of what I model my writing on. I like a character who is upright, but whose resolve is tested through difficult circumstances. On the crafty end of things, I love embroidering tapestry pillows. I work from a pattern – I’m not enough of a visual artist to create the image, but it does take a lot of focus and dedication to complete a project. Most will be about 33,000 stitches and take me about a year.

 

Why do you create?

I write because I love beautiful words. One of my favorite authors is Kate Morton. Her stories are enthralling, but even more poignant to me are her word choices. They are exactly right. My mother drilled me in vocabulary growing up and I get a charge finding the precise word needed in a given moment. I also thoroughly enjoy the research that goes into historical fiction. I have learned about a Welsh patron saint of lovers, how to change a diaper on a train in the early 20th century, and how to best cultivate broccoli. Just to name a few of the strange places that writing can take an author! For the tapestries, I make them because there is something so satisfying about working with your hands and seeing instant results of your labors. I am struck by how tapestries are analogous to life. We often see the messy side not knowing how beautiful the other side will be if we only press on.

 

What do you consume?

Dr Pepper! As any good Texan girl will know, there is no period after Dr in that brand. I love it chilled, I love it with crushed ice, I love the ones bottled in Dublin, TX, and I love drinking it through a frozen Twizzlers straw. (Try it!) I also go to a farmers’ market nearly every weekend. It is such a treat to try locally made and sourced products and to talk to the farmers/artists/crafters themselves. Finally, I consume travel. I’ve been to most of the states and four continents and have a bucket list that is ever-growing. The world is a beautiful place, and I love meeting its people.

 

Links

 

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.