Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
Strap yourselves in, people. Emily Neuburger is an artist, teacher and author who is passionate about helping people explore their creativity. Prepare to sigh at the loveliness sprinkled throughout this interview- Emily’s words, perspective on the world and creativity, her art.
I impatiently waited for the postman to deliver Emily’s latest book, Journal Sparks.
Sneak peeks of it on Instagram had me very excited.
I am an aspirational journal-keeper from way back (borne mainly out of an unhealthy stationery addiction.) I seem to have many half-filled journals and I inevitably seem to fall off the journal-writing bandwagon. Yes, journal-writing. I seem to have always subscribed to the belief that journals were solely for writing in.
Journal Sparks encourages you to draw, paint, doodle, scrawl and collage in your journal.
A variety of different prompts are given to encourage you to explore your creativity within the pages of your journal. To observe the Everyday around you through wondrous eyes. To draw with your non-dominant hand. To record snippets of conversations you overhear.
As I flipped through Emily’s book, I was excited by how many of the activities could be used with my littles to encourage their creativity. I actually started noting down all the prompts I wanted to try with my family. Until I realised that I was writing down every activity. Journal Sparks has inspired me to introduce creative journaling as a whole family activity. I can see us referring back to Emily’s prompts and tips from now until forever.
I am… Emily Neuburger – author, artist, and teacher. I live in a red house with my husband and three children in the beautiful Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts where natural beauty, community, music, farmland, amazing fresh yogurt, and innovative art collide. My family likes to name trees, plants, backyard bunnies, and even the art supply cabinet.
I love imperfection, accidental art, interesting messes, and the way they lead us to ideas and stories. I’ve written two books –Show Me a Story (Storey 2012) and my latest, Journal Sparks (Storey 2017). The beauty of balancing my work with parenting is that my children provide inspiration and are often eager participants. For this, I count my lucky stars.
Throughout my career, I’ve been especially interested in how art informs writing and how writing informs art, and how both nurture people’s capacity to imagine. After receiving my M.A.T. in English, I taught at two Massachusetts high schools. It was there that I found my passion for encouraging people to get pumped about creativity. I now visit museums, schools, and libraries for onsite creative workshops for all ages, and I also teach both children and adults from my home classroom. When I’m not writing books and teaching, I love to make art in my home studio. Small moments and unlikely treasures have always felt magical to me, and I find myself documenting them in my artwork.
I find inspiration… Some people/things that inspire me:
Ezra Jack Keats
Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series
pebbles & stones
sitting on the front steps
vintage picture books
palettes covered with dried paint
I am excited about … the release of my book, Journal Sparks. This project is close to my heart as an artist and teacher, and I’m so happy to finally send it into the world. It is filled with imaginative, creative, unique ways to be self-expressive on a blank page. Along with highlighting the many paths into your journal, I also share a handful of DIY journal making techniques as well as some cool ways to hack your own journal. And, I’m beyond lucky to have these amazing and inspiring contributors share their ideas in the book: Meghan Burch & Diana MacKenzie (former Eric Carle Museum Educators), Mariah Bruehl (Playful Learning), Rachelle Doorely (Tinkerlab), Keri Smith (Wreck This Journal, How To Be An Explorer Of The World), Deborah Way (Inkandglue.com), & Robyn Wells (Robayre.com).
I’m currently working on two new book ideas, and I’ve been teaching lots of Creative Spark classes to both kids and adults. There are plans in place to teach even more Creative Spark workshops for adults in the coming year.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… When I feel stuck or blocked, I experiment with intentionally making mistakes. I’ll find old artwork and cut it up. I’ll draw with my left hand. I’ll mix up a weird paint color and make curious brush marks on a page. Sometimes, I’ll make art with the promise that, in the end, I’ll cut it up. This frees me from any kind of stuffy expectations that might be holding me back. Sometimes, it helps if I tell myself that I’m going to make a very tiny piece of art. I like to post my #tinyartinmyhands experiments on Instagram.
I’m really proud of… I’m endlessly proud of my compassionate, generous, creative, curious, children. They are the joys of my heart.
Someone once told me… When I was a little girl and I had a nightmare, my father would lay on my rug and coax me back to sleep by asking me to think of the most beautiful place in the whole wide world. I remember exactly what my place looks like, and as an adult, I have returned to it when I’m in need. I think it is handy to have a visual mental escape in your back pocket.
My advice to you is … Try to notice at least one treasure each day. It can be something tangible or something spoken or a memory or even a smell. This kind of noticing will inform your art, your stories, and the way you walk through the world.
You can find me at …
My website: emilyneuburger.com
I post frequently on Instagram: @emilyneuburger
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