Creativity is an outlet for so many of us, and there’s no shortage of it within the Scratch team. In the last year, we’ve found ourselves turning to our various outside-of-work passions more than ever (can you guess why?). January is International Creativity Month, so we’ve decided to share our own interests with each other and all of you in hopes of spurring even more inspiration in a time where it sometimes may be difficult to find it!
Outside of work, a lot of our co-pilots like to exercise their artistic skills. Here are some of our creativity favorites. Matt Grant and Sara DeMoranville both dabble in writing music and sharpening their instrument-playing skills as an emotional outlet. During the warmer months of the quarantine period, Matt even hosted several socially-distanced outdoor get-togethers with close friends to play music together.
In addition to music, Sara has been able to learn another artistic skill more recently: pottery. “Ultimately, I find that staying creative outside of work helps me focus when it’s time to sit down at my desk,” she said. Pottery has led to an abundance of other benefits for Sara as well. She shared this experience with us mentioning, “I’ve been learning pottery on the wheel, which has been a really therapeutic experience—not only does it force me to be creative, but it teaches me patience, balance, and stillness—practices that are really important during such a chaotic time.”
There are also a lot of book lovers within our team, and Shannon Mullins even has an Instagram account that she uses to write mini reviews on what she’s been reading, while engaging with others who enjoy it too. Looking for new book recommendations? Go check her out: @shannonandthebooks!
Rachel Tierney and Kara Mongell have been making a point to make more time for reading lately too. Rachel discussed reprioritizing saying, “Outside of work, I’ve been making an effort to try and focus my free time on activities that don’t involve looking at a screen (because I definitely do enough of that!), and I find that reading is something that really helps me to stay creative and refocus my brain. Getting wrapped up in a great book is a perfect example—not only is it entertaining, but I also find it to be a very calming and relaxing activity. One of my favorite genres is historical fiction; I really enjoy it because you get to experience the perspectives of people in so many different places and time periods, and there’s always a great story to go along with it.”
Kara has also been interested in historical fantasy fiction lately, but their go-to favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy fiction, “typically books that have sweeping narratives and action-oriented storytelling, and made even better if they have queer protagonists,” they said.
On the art side, Kara, Peter Stoyanov, and Matt Grant also spend some of their free time doodling and drawing caricatures. Here’s some of their work!
Kara discussed how for them, drawing can be emotionally therapeutic. They noted how Dungeons & Dragons is their favorite way to battle burnout, and they’ve even drawn some awesome characters from D&D! They also try to switch things up sometimes with earring-making, virtual improv with friends, and their Oculus Quest.
There’s no doubt that a wide range of interests exists within our team! John Saxe particularly likes writing his own fun poetry rhymes and describes it as a very satisfying creative process for him, like linguistic calisthenics. “It keeps my mind sharp and tones my lexicon along the way,” he said.
Anya Nelson enjoys a variety of activities in her free time, from daily walks to cooking, reading, watching cute cat videos, and working out. Another big proponent of getting outside and exercising is Rob Kerstens. Whether it be going for a run, a bike ride, or a weekend backpacking trip, he notes that moving his body and exerting himself has been key for him to stay creative. Rob pursues cooking and baking too. “There’s something about the process of pairing ingredients together and using your senses to judge what to do next that is very creative. And unlike with writing, you can’t hit delete, forcing you to go with the flow and improvise with what you have.”
Our other chef in the kitchen is Emilie Jurion. As a barista over the summer, she learned how to make a full menu of coffees and latte art (that she of course has tasted tested herself). She’s also keen on taking film photos.
We hope that this month you’ve been able to find some time to pursue your creative outlets and do the things you really love, whatever they may be. It can be tough after a long workday to find the time to exercise your creativity, but as our Creative Director Michael Jacobs put it, “We immerse ourselves in other things day in and day out in order to make connections and get inspired. Creativity is a muscle—you have to exercise it.” Amidst everything else in the world, we’re grateful to have the ability to be creative, not only within our work but beyond it—for the things that can be threads of hope and places for us to find peace within solitude. Just remind yourself: it’s never too late to further explore your passions.
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