What’s on my Creative Mind?


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I live in a city where many of the creatives (and by that I mean people who choose to make creativity their career) leave.
Of course, our little place in the sun is choc-a-block full of creative minds but…
We have few places where creativity spills out,
grabs you,
drags you in.
When I walk on Donkin Hill I feel it.
Art that accosts me and makes me look.
It’s bold.
It thrills.
It makes me think.
It brings me back.
Artistic ingenuity that grounds the area.

Creative environments strike cords within us.

Let me take you on a trip
Imagine walking into a beige building.
You are walking on brown tiles.
The cupboards are melamine beige
The chairs are brown.
The tables are medium brown.
There’s strip lighting.
Brown files line the walls.
The space is functional.
Does it strike a cord?

Will the building drag you back to spend more time there?
Does the space feel loved?
That someone cared for it enough to make it beautiful.

Now you walk into the second building.
Your feet clatter on polished wooden floors.
Slatted white blinds let in the sunlight.
Bulbous, modern glass light fittings diffuse the light.
Large easy chairs with plump cushions beckon.
The tiles around the ancient fireplace make you look again.
The mosaic encourages you to stare.
The walls are painted in shades of duck egg blue.
Thick rugs are scattered about.
Chances are that someone cared.
Someone poured them self into the space.
It was touched by a creativity hospitable heart.

You see, we get used to the bland.
We expect it somehow.
We wave goodbye to the next person leaving to build a more creative life in another city, wipe the tear from our eye and move on.

I encourage you to spend more time in environments where creative minds have played.
Spend a morning on Richmond Hill.
Walk into spaces and compliment the people who created them.
Support the creatives in our city.
Don’t be threatened.
Become fertiliser to the creativity that grows here.
It’s in a circle of support that creativity flourishes.
It’s in a word that says to someone, “I love what you are doing here.”

We settle for the insipid, the double beige, the drab, the mass produced.
We are too used to feeling safe, tucked up in brown lives.

This is me, I am Tania Ahlfeldt and I would like to apologise to brown – it’s getting a tough deal from me here.
I acknowledge its beauty when I bite into the lusciousness of a chocolate bar.
When I lean against the sturdy brown trunk of a tree.
It’s also the colour of toast, all crunchy and warm…
But c’mon, you know what I mean…

The above piece was recorded live on Kingfisher FM’s Creative Moment.
When I wrote it I was deliriously happy, surrounded by creativity and the lush smells of breads, fresh coffee, pastries…
This is the joyful hospitality of my office away from home – Brioche CafĂ© situated on Main Rd Walmer in our beautiful city on the tip of Africa.
Port Elizabeth.

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The Space You’re In


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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!
Dung…
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…