Sparking Creativity

How Laura and Chelsea Are Changing The Artist’s Way

It’s time to show a little love to the creative side of SERENDIPITY. To help, we reached out to Laura and Chelsea of the Creative Embassy, who will be hosting the “Find Your Inner Artist” session in the Starting Something house this week. I had a chance to sit down this week with these two creative powerhouses as they shared their journey, what inspires them, and why they’re counting the days until they’re in San Francisco!

In your session, you will talk about creative stamina and how to stay motivated when you feel like you’ve hit a wall. What is your favorite quick fix to spark creativity on a slow day?

Laura — My artistic insulin of choice is usually popcorn followed by ice cream.

Ideas can be like a pot of coffee you just have to let it percolate. Let your idea move from your conscious to your subconscious — then you trust your gut.

When Chelsea and Laura agreed to join us in SF for SERENDIPITY they sent us this photo from their midnight planning session around how to adapt the principals they’ve tried and tested over the past 25 years (a method called the “Artist’s Way”) with under privilege youth and young adults from their home in Vancouver, BC.

Chelsea — Mine’s a weird one; I grab a dry erase marker, stand in front in the bathroom mirror and brainstorm on it. In the quiet privacy of that space, I ask myself questions out loud that I’d ask any client, like a pep talk!

“Okay Chelsea — what problem are you really trying to solve here?”

“How is this approach different than what you’ve seen before?”

“Why did you take this approach to begin with.. what have you compromised so far?

I once prepared the outline of my TedX audition on my mirror. It’s rapidfire and casual format prevents you from taking yourself seriously! I keep the marker in my toothbrush jar, for just such occasions.

What has been your biggest challenge so far as you try to succeed in a creative industry?

Chelsea — A huge challenge for me was MONTHS of wrestling with leaving freelance behind for a time to join my current employer Century Group. I had rebranded them, it made so much sense to lead the creative team, but I knew is the stamina required in the in-house world was a different monster. One I hadn’t fought yet. I struggle with FOMO in the creative world.

We can all choose our own path to such a huge degree, it’s the discipline of simplicity and focus that is the design challenge for our lives now.

To choose mastery in one area, you are choosing to say a lot of “no’s” to really neat, even good things.

Laura — I don’t like this question because I’m not sure what your definition of success is. As creatives we are perpetually taught to contrast and reframe our environment. That’s one of the daily perfectionistic barriers to feeling finished in anything we do. They other is staying in that perfect zone and balance of feeling inspired and actually being able to create work that continues to inspire and rejuvenate.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey with the Creative Embassy?

Laura — I’ve found the relationships that are fostered with the excuse of getting together for Embassy have been extremely life-giving. Andrea and Chelsea are unreal supports and the path Embassy has taken us on up to this point has been well worth the humble start.

Chelsea — I couldn’t agree more with Laura, our time in planning meetings are so rich. We’ve learned a lot, early on, we talked about starting with a splash — big conference, digital network, build an app, but we decided to do a year more methodical listening, smaller scale workshops, and meetups. All of which gave rise to organic community management strategies, that have been more responsive to real needs.

Telling my instincts to “wait” has never felt so good.

After learning more about the Creative Embassy and both of your passions, I know faith has been a huge influence in your creative lives. How do you see the two working together in your career?

Laura — Simple put, I can’t have one without the other. As a big player within Embassy, an Arts Intern at my church and co-leader at the non-profit arts initiative I’ve help build, Creative Life, intermingled conversations in work, play and spirituality all thrive in the poké bowl. My career and live have been based on these two elements combining every day.

Chelsea — Creative blocks are surprisingly similar to faith-based blocks on spiritual growth! There are disciplines and practices to enhance one’s capacity for creative thinking and action. We just crack a window for our participants, then the fresh winds of creativity on their soul become contagious to a burgeoning collective.

The creative process is stretching experience for everyone — a “groaning” of making intangibles in your mind take shape to yourself and others. At Embassy believe everyone is wired for imagination; dreaming of more and pressing into the groaning pains of the creative process is part of each human’s echoing the divine. Keeping both tracks healthy is an interdependent exercise of high-challenge creative exercises and self-care rhythms along with spiritual practice.

The Creative Embassy Team

What are you most excited about for SERENDIPITY?

Chelsea — I was born here actually, and I don’t come back nearly enough. Vancouver BC is a west coast city with a burgeoning tech scene and creative career paths are alway possible. In some ways we are sister cities to San Francisco, our cities also have very high cost of living in common. Laura and I have both previously been to SF and love the artistic vibe and cultural essence.

Also, what the GUILD is building is pretty unique. And to get a taste of that and potentially bring that back to Canada with us will be. We work with large networks back at home that are held together fairly loosely — what Anne Cocquyt is doing to use tech as the tool to solidify those ties-that-bind in service of relationship and mentorship is something we’re both keen to be a part of.

Laura — I’m jazzed to get a chance to enter all the power-houses filled with power-house women. I’m most excited to press into their wisdom for two whole days! And, I’m unashamedly stoked to come away from this conference with a guarantee of meeting at least six people who I’ll follow up with afterwards.

Last chance! SERENDIPITY begins on THURSDAY and we can hardly contain our excitement. Want to join us for both days, just one, or maybe even Thursday night’s private chef dining experience? We have a few tickets of every kind still available! Visit to learn more and claim your seat.

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