In November 2017, I launched my ongoing video series, Small Things Brought Together, as a way of inviting people to join me in an exploration of the creative process. I was especially interested in reaching people who may have stopped imaging themselves as creative people. To me the term “creative people” is redundant. I believe that every human is naturally creative and curious unless and until they are convinced otherwise. Unfortunately, that covers a lot of people! STBT was my attempt to encourage and gently guide people back into connection with the creative part of their life.
I recorded eight episodes using Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, specifically sutras II.1 and I.20, as our springing off place for exploration. The teaching of those sutra closely matches the evolution of the creative process. In Sutra II.1, the advice is to make some effort, engage in self-reflection as a result of that effort and adopt an attitude of acceptance around what arises ie. don’t judge yourself. As newcomers (recent returners) to creative work, this is most excellent advice! We looked at that over several months, piece by piece, using ink drawing as our medium. The last episodes explore Sutra I.20, which describes how to cultivate trust: through effort, memory and insight, we cultivate trust in our practice.
As I recorded those last episodes, I realized that I didn’t have too much more to say in that particular direction but, as a result of those episodes, I had been having some really interesting conversations with a few people who had been engaging with them.
Thus Season 2 is born!
Small Things Brought Together, Season 2 will consist of longer episodes featuring in-depth conversations with artists about their creative practice. I am very excited about this season! To kick it off, I interviewed Shea Zuiko Settimi, an ordained monastic at Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate NY. Zuiko was, perhaps, the person with whom I spoke with the most about the topics raised in Season 1. She is not trained as a visual artist, indeed even telling me at one point, “I hate drawing.” Yet, she embodied Sutras II.1 and I.20 - continuing to make effort, reflect, and be curious not judgmental with the result that her art practice has grown and changed in fascinating ways over the past couple of years. Her experiences as an ordained Zen monastic add a depth to her understanding and framing of the process. It is a wonderful conversation!
Thank you so much, Zuiko, for taking time to speak with me and share your experiences around the creative process. This is definitely an episode that I will watch over and over!