By Roslyn Russell You may recognise Jodi Wiley as the CWC blog book review columnist, but Jodi has many other strings to her creative bow. A talented writer, artist and teacher, I welcome Jodi as our featured member on the CWC blog this month.
What do you create? I'm a freelance writer and an artist. I write essays, articles, profiles and reviews, status updates, tweets, shopping and to-do lists. With my art I mainly work in acrylic on canvas. I like to paint trees. Lots of trees. I'm also enjoying drawing these days too and want to do more of that. Trees, probably. I have lots of diverse projects on the go - my craziest one is updating my blog every weekday. It was an ill-thought-out new year's resolution which has me working to a self-imposed schedule to rival any daily newspaper. Well, not quite. But it's a lot more work than I imagined. My blog is Art by Wiley - a space where I write about art, illustration and just generally living a creative life.
Have you done training in your creative field or has it come about informally? I'm a self-taught artist. My background is writing, working in libraries and teaching secondary school English. I always loved drawing and creating when I was younger but didn't do anything for years until I picked up a paintbrush after my first child was born three years ago. Despite the lack of time with (now two) small children, I feel more creatively inspired than ever.
What are your main creative inspirations? Nature: trees, birds, leaves, flowers, plants. Did I mention trees? My family. Wandering around the city. Being in the country. Other people's blogs and artwork. Children's picture book illustrations. People's stories. Books. Paper. Art supplies. Found objects. Chocolate and green tea.
How do you balance your creative projects with the administration aspect of creative work? Well, let's be honest, I would rather be creating than doing housekeeping. As a result, my desk often looks like the site of a minor paperwork explosion. But I manage to keep on top of things through near-obsessive list-making. I'm also trying very hard to separate computer/admin time from creating time. I'm making an effort to complete tasks in blocks rather than switching back and forth between admin and creating.
What do you do when you experience a creative block? Due to the aforementioned small children I most often experience more of a creative bottleneck than a block because of an over-abundance of ideas and not enough time to work on them. So my main challenge is to prioritise what I need to work on next. I usually sit down (with a list!) and do away with all the unnecessary tasks or things that can wait so I get a clearer picture of what's actually urgent. If I get really stuck or overwhelmed I'll go and do something else: I like to bake. Muffins are good. Or biscuits. Reading blogs is another escape. Although when it suits me I call that 'work'.
What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits? More freelance writing (my first love). And more art making (an equal second now). I hope to re-open my Etsy shop in the second half of this year (it's been on a long hiatus) and sell miniature original works on canvas, then eventually offer prints. I also love teaching though, so that's on the cards too when the kids are older.
Thanks for sharing your creativity today Jodi! You can find out more about Jodi here:
Roslyn Russell is a sewist, blogger and teacher. Her blog, Sew Delicious, is where she showcases her latest projects, designs and sewing tutorials. Roslyn also enjoys cake baking and decorating, exploring Melbourne cafes and restaurants, and hunting through op-shops for vintage sewing and kitchen treasures.