Join me this Friday when I appear as the first guest on Michelle Ward’s new free monthly series Women of the World!
It’ll be webinar format, and if you aren’t able to make it during the live broadcast at 1:30pm Pacific / 4:30pm Eastern, no worries because you’ll be sent the recording within about an hour of us finishing up.
If you aren’t familiar with Michelle’s work, she’s a career coach who helps women achieve their dreams in business. She’s a fellow New Yorker and adoptive mom, and though those things have nothing to do with what we’ll discuss, they sure do make me love even more than I already would for her kindness, good smarts, and sparkling disposition.
We’ll be discussing fun in creativity, both at work and in our personal time. I’m sure there will be some good Mighty Ugly in there, too.
Because this is a new series, I love the thrill of not knowing exactly what to expect. If you love some serious spontaneity, I think you’ll be happy! And here’s what I know: We’re going to go deep, and we’re going to be specific. We will not wave our arms around for a while and chat about fluffy bullshit and expect you to think you learned something. Oh no. We’re going to talk about specific things you can do to explore the role of fun in your creative and business experiences, and we’re going to help you up the fun factor without sacrificing the good work you do.
Last year, we were on our big road trip when the annual Vancouver Mini Maker Faire was held. It was the fifth annual one, and the first I’d missed. I was especially excited, then, to bring the whole fam to the event this year.
I was impressed and delighted by how many varied activities there were for kids. For adults, too, obviously, but it was just so much fun to be there with my kindergartener.
We came home with a couple of robots – one of the light-seeking ones shown above, and another that involves taping markers to a solo cup, which I’ll pull out on a rainy day.
There was a Textile Village featuring the Modern Quilt Guild, weavers, spinners, knitters, paper-dyers, and screen printers. Unlike at other maker events I’ve attended, where fibre people are sequestered away in a small back room, this area was prominent and inviting. I was so happy to see it.
I’m resurrecting my ridiculous dream of making a huge animatronic crocheted robot/statue, and I’m determined to participate in next year’s event as a Maker again!
Do you have a major Maker Faire or a Mini Maker Faire in your area? Have you participated as a Maker? Enjoy going just to play? If you’ve never been, I urge you to check one out!
The 2015 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire was the first one I didn’t attend, as a visitor or a Maker, since the event started in 2011. I considered cutting our road trip a week short so I’d be home for it, but then decided that would be the wrong decision. No regrets.
But imagine my glee when I got an email on the road from my friend Dave, who’s a prof at UBC and was organizing the second annual Maker Camp for tweens (this year’s was only open to girls aged 11-13), asking if I’d like to lead an afternoon session. He’d asked me to participate at camp last year, too, but I couldn’t due to a scheduling conflict.
So there I was on the road, trying to reply to his email while wrangling very spotty cell service. I’m so glad we were able to work it out!
I learned some things doing Mighty Ugly with a couple dozen tweens, much of it related to my usual refusal to do this workshop with anyone younger than the age of majority.
A Mighty Ugly workshop consists of three acts:
Act I: Introduction and (usually) awkward discussion.
Act II: Making an ugly creature.
Act III: Show & tell, and (usually) spirited discussion.
Adults take a while to warm up to the idea of exploring ugliness and failure and doubt, which is why the introductory conversation is usually short. I find that forcing conversation at the beginning of a Mighty Ugly workshop achieves pretty much nothing. So then we move on to the making. This is where things change. It’s kind of like magic. A few people dive in with gusto while a few others sit in quiet terror, and the rest start to slowly gather supplies. Over time, from what started out as a quiet gathering of uncomfortable people emerges a low hum, and sometimes a great cacophony, of chit-chat and mumbling. Eventually, the terrified people get moving. By the time the making is wrapping up and the first people are ready to introduce their creatures and discuss their experience, most people are willing, if not eager, to talk. Not all people. But most.
What I learned at Maker Camp is that my assumptions about children are true. Or, in scientific parlance more appropriate to having led this workshop in a bio-sciences lab, my hypothesis was supported.
The kids wanted to talk and talk and talk at the beginning of the workshop. They wanted to tell me about things they’d already made at camp, and meals at home that had become total gross disasters, and Lego gone awry. Eventually, I had to put my hands up and tell them about the making. At which point, the place became the happiest mess I’ve seen in a long time. No hesitation. No terror. Just a mess of making.
At the end of the making, a few kids wanted to talk about their creatures, but many didn’t. And there was very little cross-room discussion. No one seemed particularly interested in connecting their experience of making ugly things to their experience of the frustration or shame or sadness of failing at their usual projects at home or at school. No one found the activity to be particularly challenging. And that was that. Totally not what I expect, and routinely experience, from a roomful of adults.
It was such a fun afternoon, and I though I will continue to offer these workshops only for adults, I’ll also continue to make an exception for Maker Camp. I learned a lot about this age group that I’ll use to adjust the workshop for next summer, for sure.
If you’d like to schedule a Mighty Ugly workshop (for adults) at your event or workplace, get in touch! It makes for a great professional-development session addressing team-building, problem-solving and general creative practice.
I’m just so excited about this class! Usually, I have only an hour to teach my business-focused Mighty Ugly class, but Embrace the Ugly: How to Break Through What’s Holding You Back in Business is a full day. Online. For free during the live broadcast. You can participate from anywhere in the world! And if you can’t make it for the broadcast on February 10th, or if you can’t spend the whole day on the class, it’s just $29 to gain on-demand access to it.
This is one of my favourite classes to teach, because people get so, so much out of it. The whole point of Embrace the Ugly is to gather your wits and take a long, deep look at the thing(s) inside your brain that hold you back. These aren’t the business problems you already know how to address. These aren’t even the issues that give you butterflies in your stomach when you think about them. No. These are the issues that, if you let them, keep you awake at night because you know in the depths of your mind and body that they make you not good enough to succeed.
Which means that this class will be uncomfortable. It will be hard. By which I mean it will be hard. And at the end of it, you will have a list of things to do to address that deep dark ugly thing. And you will be certain that you are not as alone as you think you are, because you will have heard from many people who also have deep dark ugly things that hold them back in their businesses. You will have shined some light on that darkness, and it will feel good.
Here’s some more from the class description:
In this class you’ll learn about the concept of Mighty Ugly, a framework that celebrates the benefits of failure. Through interactive lessons, Kim will help you identify and embrace the ugly parts of your business – you’ll get help addressing what holds you back so you can shift “the problem”, and resolve it. You’ll learn tools that will help you:
Overcome self-doubt as an entrepreneur
Abolish professional perfectionism
Dismiss your fear of failure
Eliminate irksome business blocks
Kim will teach you exercises that will keep you creative even as you struggle with balancing your books, promoting your work, managing social media, or whatever else holds you back.
Embrace the Ugly: How to Break Through What’s Holding You Back in Business will empower you to confront the most personally challenging aspects of being a working creative. You’ll surface the problems that are unique to you and learn universal skills you can use to embrace and, ultimately, overcome them.
RSVP for the class today, and CreativeLive will remind you about it! The live broadcast will involve lots of opportunities to participate via chat, and more, and I’m excited to be able to have a big conversation that’s not limited by room size or location. And even if you can’t attend live on February 10th, all that conversation will be a part of the on-demand class you can access anytime after purchasing.
Have any questions about how this works? Ask away!
I got home on Tuesday afternoon, with enough time to collapse into bed for a nap before our home-town book event that evening. I spent Wednesday tooling around doing errands with my mom, and I spent yesterday knitting in a fog of exhausted contentment. Today I’m getting all the work done before Leanne, Betsy and I head to Toronto on Monday for the East Coast leg of the tour.
(Note: Apparently, I’m still exhausted, for this post is riddled with exclamation marks. Be warned!)
We had so much fun in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. If you came to an event, thank you! You made it so much fun!
Then we did our event at Powell’s, moderated by Kate Bingaman-Burt (who illustrated Make It Mighty Ugly). Powell’s, man. It’s pretty much my favourite place in the world, and to do an author event there, well. It was special. It was very, very special.
I wrote about Kirsten Moore’s daily-bird-drawing project in the book, and I was so excited that she brought her planner with her. Here she is, with a close-up of last Sunday’s bird-in-progress alongside her note about coming to our event.
My publisher, Sasquatch Books, is in Seattle, so we started off our evening there. I’m so proud that my book is amongst these beauties on their front-list this season!
Kate at Sasquatch made earrings and a necklace just for the book event! They even matched her dress perfectly. And she made us a mix CD of Seattle songs! Such a special evening.
Marlo Miyashiro was our moderator for this event, and she led a really fun conversation.
Home-town event! Man oh man, was Tuesday night fun. It was incredible to celebrate with so many dear friends, and new friends! Some people came because they heard about it on the radio that morning, so that was pretty freaking awesome! (You can hear the interview I did on the local morning news show at around the 2-hour-45-minute mark here.)
We kicked off the book tour last night at The Booksmith in San Francisco! Rena Tom asked us questions about agency and gender in craft, and about our respective careers in craft and writing about craft. I have a lot to think about, kids. A lot to think about.
Right now I’m sucking down coffee, getting ready to start the day. Here are some pics from last night, featuring Leanne with the sandwich board about the event, and me with Sonya Philip, whom I interviewed for Make It Mighty Ugly. (I can’t figure out how to make links work as I write this on my wee iPad, but I’ll try to remedy that when I have more time!)
Tonight! Lisa Congdon will host us in a panel discussion at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland! 7PM!