The Sweet Meadow

creative

You have to break, take breaks, or both.

living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
I’ve never had a really creative idea sitting at my desk. All the big ideas that made a difference happened when I was playing outside.
— Barbara Corcoran

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to re-discover my creative self. Creativity is how we keep ourselves energetically alive. We express our creativity in all sorts of ways, from the way we dress, the art we make, what we cook, the books we read and the music we listen to.

Studies have shown that learning new things as adults can enlarge our brain maps. We benefit from the novelty of new experiences, and to maximise the positive effects on our brains, we need to be continually learning.

Quite often however, we become creatively blocked, held back by negative beliefs and worries about time, money and the support to pursue our creative dreams.

Rather than trust our intuition, our talent, our skill, or desire, we fear where our creativity will take us. Rather than paint, write, dance, audition, and see where it takes us, we turn back on ourselves.

Author Julia Cameron describes cutting off our creativity as making us savage. “We react like we are being choked. An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing. Without it, the inner artists in us feels angry, out of sorts. If such deprivation continues, our artist becomes sullen, depressed, hostile.”

For me personally, work is my creative block of choice. I feel guilty when I spend a day off away from the business, yet I will also feel resentful when I’m doing work on a day off (!).

“In order to recover our creativity, we must learn to see workaholism as a block instead of a building block. There is a difference between meaningful work toward a cherished goal and workaholism. That difference lies less in the hours than it does in the emotional quality of the hours spent. For a workaholic, work is synonymous with worth, and so we are hesitant to let go of any part of it,” writes Julia.

So in an effort to clear the way for creative flow, The Sweet Meadow is closed for winter holidays until Thursday, August 29. A business is only as healthy as it’s owner, so this is a good excuse as any to hang up the Dr. Martens and relax!

How do you hold space for yourself? What are your favourite ways to invite more presence and creativity in your life?

Who knows what magic we might invite into our lives as a result of re-discovering our creative self.

See you in a few weeks.

ABx


When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college…that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?’
— Howard Ikemoto, Artist
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Bridget Bodenham's Studio

inspiration, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
We are drawn to items that represent...slowness, that reflect the marks of the maker, and embody the individuality that comes from objects created by human hands.
— Amber Creswell Bell

I've been an admirer of Bridget Bodenham's work for a long time. I first saw her pieces at a Finders Keepers market in Melbourne. There was a huge crowd hovering around her stand and for good reason - her handmade pieces are works of art that have gained a cult following.

I recently visited Bridget's studio in Hepburn Springs to collect a some platters and cups for The Sweet Meadow. Her space is very inspiring - lots of natural light and beautiful scenery (Hepburn Springs is surrounded by the Wombat State Forest). 

There is something magic about visiting someone's space of creativity. I felt it when I first visited Kaye Poulton's studio in Mooroopna, and Jim's Garden at Cactus Country. I think we all need our own little space where we feel safe to explore our creativity. 

Photographer Kara Rosenlund describes Bridget as "the kind of person who actually makes you want to strive to be a better person yourself" and I can totally relate to this. She lives in a way that is harmonious with nature and her surroundings and reminded me to step back and live a little slower. 

Thank you Bridget!

Video - The Photoshoot

video, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
picnicorchard
Eating outdoors makes for good health and long life and good temper, everyone knows that.
— Elsie de Wolfe

I had a lot of fun setting up a photo shoot recently for The Sweet Meadow. I take a lot of photos of my food, but I realised I didn't have any print-worthy photos of people sharing food together, which is essentially what this business is all about.

I called upon super cool photographer Nicole Williams to help me bring this idea to life, with flowers by Bonnie Weindenbach Floristy. Bonnie's family grow mountains of flowers at the Avonlea Flower Farm in nearby Murchinson, so I knew I was in good hands!

The models for the day were my beautiful cousins. We have all grown up on this farm together so I liked the idea of having them feature in these photos. This is just the first of many times where I will be roping in my family to help me bring The Sweet Meadow to life!

Watch the short video below for a behind the scenes look at how this all came together.