The Space You’re In


It’s a fact.
Every space we walk into envelopes us.
Remember the Sub A classroom and the smell of chalk?
A hospital ward.
The drab office with files a little dusty.
Your grannies home.
Early morning in the garden.
The spaces we enter into give us a feeling.
Good, sad, uplifting, depressing, creative…

As humans we create the spaces around us.
Our homes.
Our offices.
Our classrooms.
Some have the financial clout to get others in to create their spaces.
Some not.
The spaces we create have a voice.
They tell someones story.

I remember visiting a Xhosa village and watching as a woman dipped her hand into a mixture of cow dung and water.
This she reverently smeared onto her floor.
It sounds distasteful.
In reality it was beautiful.
With her fingers she made patterns on the floor.
When it dried it was fresh and welcoming.
In actual fact the floor was an artistic welcome mat for all who entered.

Right now I am sitting in a ray of sunshine
Fresh, warm ciabatta toast with butter and marmalade has been placed before me.
A foam topped coffee is in my hand.
Swing music plays
The fresh morning enters through the open door.
This space is a mix of modern and nostalgic.
A chandelier hangs through barn-like wooden beams.
I come here to work.
I sit in this place and feel that my creativity is heightened because of the context of where I am.

Look at the space around you now.
What is it saying to you?
Open a window.
Put on some music.
Brew that coffee.
Clean up the dusty files.
Rearrange furniture
Small changes can have a big effect.

A woman used dung to make her home more welcoming!
That is the ultimate in ingenuity.
The quality of being clever, original and inventive.
We are all of those things as humans.
Don’t shy away from the originality that is you.
We all have the ability to think creatively and independently .
So take a moment.
Notice the space around you
Set out to find a place that inspires you.
Set out to make your space a better place to be

This is me, I am Tania Ahlfeldt and my creative space of the moment is here at Ilsa Coles Brioche on Main Road Walmer, Port Elizabeth, South Africa – my office away from home.
Go on, dig in and find your space.

And go and like my Facebook page called Love Your Art Teacher Today, lets encourage the working creatives in our midst…


Microscopic beauty – it’s in you

Photo: National Geographic

Hi this is Tania Ahlfeldt and we’re talking creativity.

A while back I met a woman,
her extra-ordinariness lay in the striking art she produced.
I remember standing with her in the kitchen of a friend
as she uttered the dreaded words,
“Oh, I’m not really creative!”
My eyes glazed over and I could not breathe.
What shot out of my mouth not intended to be nasty,
but it was a little extreme.
“If pond scum can have the beauty of creativity
in it why can’t you?”

Pond scum…

My boys had lent a book from the library.
The characters in the book went on thrilling
adventures into the microscopic world.
We read it with Google close at hand.
One of their adventures took place in –
you guessed it, pond scum!
As the book explained what they saw on a microscopic level
we Googled and discovered the magnificent diatoms (algae)
that are to be found in a slimy puddle.
My thought was that if pond scum can hold microscopic
beauty what do we harbor within?
On first glance at the slippery pond we steer clear
and maybe even feel relief that we have
none of that stuff on our hands.
As we peer into it’s greenness we do not imagine the splendor,
the intricate structure,
the divine order that lies in its murk.
Glancing into our own depths we may feel the lack of
creativity or imagination.
We may instinctively steer clear of putting
ourselves out there on a creative level.
But I believe that if figuratively,
we were to pick up a microscope and really take a look,
we’d be astounded at the wonder and
God given creativity that awaits.

This is Tania Ahlfeldt and you are way beyond pond scum,
so the bottom line is – never say you’re not creative with me around!

Contact me to find out about my workshops, I am passionate about walking with you on your creative journey.


082 586 7431












A Beautiful Nap

This is Tania Ahlfeldt and we’re talking creativity.

Italy’s creative giant, Leonardo Da Vinci’s  had an insatiably
curious approach to life.
He was one of the most creative people ever to have lived!

The word curious is an eagerness to know something.
It’s about being inquisitive and inquiring.
It’s about probing, questioning and nosing your way into
new knowledge or experience.
Curiosity is a channel for creativity and learning .
It is a catalyst that moves us into a fresh awareness and understanding.

But we don’t have time for it!
Being curious takes time and we live in a quick, “get it done now society”.
Writer Linda Dessau states that “When we approach that blank canvas,
empty stage or notebook paper in a state of curiosity,
we’re truly opening the door to the muse — to our “inner artist”.
It’s possible that we each have an inner artist but the lives we lead,
bar the way to ever finding him or her.
Our way of life never allows us to experience the quietness of
simply sitting, thinking and resting.
Many of us actually feel proud that we don’t take lunch hours!

Leonardo was born into Italian society where the
‘siesta così bella’ translated, “such a beautiful nap”
was a jewel in the crown of the Italian day.
The Siesta rested and re-energized.
It’s in  that a land of artistry and curiosity was kindled.
Let’s kindle our curiosity.
Let’s be proud of our moments of rest.
Let’s actually take the time to breathe deep into our stomachs for a change.

May you be inquisitive today and eager to know something new.
May your inner artist introduce itself and may you find a moment of true rest.

This is Tania Ahlfeldt and I’m rushing off, there’s a lot to do! 🙂

Is Creativity linked to Failure?


Photo: Sharon D Pruitt

Hi it’s Tania  and we’re talking creativity.

Have you ever given a talk to a room full of people a good thirty years older than you?
I have.
Five years ago the Floral Art Society asked me to talk at their monthly meet.
The women in the room were many years older than me and I felt daunted.
Shouldn’t I be the one to  take in their wisdom?
(Deep breath)

I started by handing out papers listing a series of traits,
everything from loving to daring to friendly to brave and so on.
They were asked to mark at least four of the traits that best described them.
Two women did not, would not, could not mark one!
My heart cringed for them but my talk flowed.

Traditionally at the meetings there was a display of floral art
by whoever chose to bring.
These were viewed and judged at the end.
There were many women in that room, but not many flower
arrangements awaiting criticism.

Creativity is tinged with fear.
This beautiful thing , this catalyst of new ideas and fresh
perspective is lined with dread and panic.
We feel it there, we can almost touch it,
but all to often the emotional risk is just too great.
Creativity is linked to failure.
There is nothing, yet we dare to create something.
Will that something have value?
And if not, will we still have value?

I looked into the upturned faces of these women ,
all part this creative community and saw the
uncertainty that held them back.
An uncertainty that even prevented those ladies from placing
a pencil tick next to an excellent character trait!

“Why didn’t every one of you bring a piece of floral art today” I asked,
“Is it because of the criticism that lies beyond that creative action?”
My challenge was to have no judge at the next meeting.
To ditch the red pen!
I urged them  to each create a piece out of sheer love and beauty.
To create for creativity sake and then be kind and gentle with each other.
I knew that if most of the meetings ended with that act of celebration,
the floral art would pour, not dribble
through the doors every month.

Did they do it?
Actually, I don’t know.
I hope so.
Will you do it?
Your today needs a simple act of creativity.
Don’t wait 10, 20, 30 years.
Are you scared and uncertain?

Creative uncertainty isn’t a bad thing – we all feel it’s touch.
It’s within the uncertainty that we discover something new,
realizing we can be brave and we deserve
all the pencil ticks we can get!

This is Tania Ahlfeldt, feeling brave and uncertain – yet reaching for that pencil.

Are you creative?

We all have stories

Hi this is Tania and we’re talking creativity


What does it evoke in you when you hear that word?
Do you find yourself bored and falling asleep in a dusty classroom?

Or could it be HIS story or HER Story?

This, points to you.

Your story.
What is your story?
What I am most interested in is the story of your creativity.
Can you trace it?
Where did it begin?
Was it allowed to soar when you were 5?
Did your older brother break it down?

Our lives are packages of many his stories and her stories.
Follow the trail right back to when you were a child.
All children are born creative, they all express it– it’s expected.
Children are encouraged to draw and paint in their early years.
We hand them paper and crayons.
But – somewhere in the importance of life, it ends and they are no longer expected to paint or draw or express in that way.
The door closes.
As a child when that door was open, you were expressing yourself, your imagination was alive, you expected your brain to see things with a creative eye.
Be it the purple roofed house you were drawing or a supersonic car that could take you anywhere at the push of a button.
It was all alive to you in the moment.
You never got the car but you lived it when you drew that picture, it was alive!

How do you express your desires now?
Maybe you nag,  maybe you’re numb, do you hope silently?

Buy yourself a journal and trace the history of your creativity – you might be surprised to find that it was alive and well.
You might be shocked to discover how early the door closed on it.

You might be intrigued to realize that it’s still there waiting for you.

This is Tania Ahlfeldt hoping you’ll find what is waiting for you.