Nov 5, 2012

Creativity in Childhood with Lacy Stroessner of Living on Love

This summer I ran a series here on Salsa Pie exploring what makes creatives creative by interviewing them in my Creativity in Childhood series. The series was so popular that the Center for Childhood Creativity gave it a big thumbs up and even featured one of the awesome interviews. 

So today we are back with the series and it's a very special treat to have the awesomely talented Lacy Stroessner of the popular (and gorgeous in every way) blog  Living on Love. She's here with us today to give us some more insight into what makes her creative juices flow. Thanks so much for joining us, Lacy!

1. What childhood experiences influenced your creativity? 

Oh my goodness, my childhood was FILLED with creative moments. From a young age, my parents taught me about thinking outside the box. Instead of watching television or playing nintendo, I spent my days singing made-up songs, working on craft projects, helping my mother make magic in the kitchen, and being outdoors in creation itself. Rather than buying Halloween costumes each year, my mom and I would make one together. Instead of collecting expensive Barbie clothes, I fashioned my own out of scraps of fabric and leather. My older brother and I made movies with toys and stuffed animals and gadgets from the kitchen. We built forts out of things we found in the yard.  My parents created for me a place to imagine, explore, and dream big. 

2. Can you remember the specifics about something creative you did/something you made as a child? If so, would you share some details with us?

I can proudly say that I was somewhat of a nerd as a child. Each year, I competed on a team in a problem solving competition called Destination Imagination, or DI. One year the challenge was to create an obstacle course for an egg to travel through without breaking. There were lots of requirements for the course - jumps, loops, turns, etc. In addition, the team had to act out the "story" of this egg while the egg traveled through without assistance from a human. I don't remember all of the details but I remember that our egg was a seed and that each of my teammates and I were some woodland creature. I was a bird, a magnificent, beautiful bird. Another requirement of the competition was that we could receive no outside help from teachers or parents, etc. This meant that everything had to be made by us, a bunch of goofy preteens. I fashioned my bird costume together with felt and fleece and an array of colored feathers. One by one, I glued them on, creating a rainbow wingspan on my back. I made myself some bird eyes and a beak, and for whatever reason I painted my hands gold. With spray paint. Not the best decision I've ever made. How I got the paint off is a story for another day. Nevertheless, I look back on memories like this with fondness. I think being in charge of a creative process from the beginning is something that reveals the best kind of creativity - honest, authentic, and fun. 

3. What inspires you creatively today? Are there objects in your home, places in your area, or are there any books that you find yourself referencing when you need inspiration? 

Oh goodness, I often feel surrounded by things that inspire. From blogs to pinterest, inspiration is endless. However, sometimes those outlets can be a bit overwhelming. When I really need to be inspired, I have to get out in nature, in creation. A long drive by the river or a hike with my family acts like a blank canvas, giving me a fresh perspective each time. I have to say though, my daughters are my greatest source of inspiration. I write and talk about this a lot, which goes to show just how much becoming a mother has changed my world. I'm not sure if it's the imaginative nature of children or the birth of a new person - but my kids have given me a fresh set of eyes for everything I do. I want them to have a rich and wonderful childhood, so everything I do is a tiny step in giving them that. Whether it's food I prepare for dinner or a project we make together for a holiday, I hope and pray that it teaches them about creativity and endless possibilities. 

4. If you could be a kid again for one day, what would you love to do? 

If I could be a kid again for one day, I would soak it all up. I would sleep in. I would make sure to get an afternoon nap, as well. I'd love for a teacher to read me chapters from a book like Indian in the Cupboard or The Boxcar Children. I would go crazy in art class - fashioning a masterpiece out of noodles and paint and glitter and bits of tissue paper. I would run the streets with a gang of nerdy friends - making fairy villages or building a treehouse to sit in and read. I would spend hours in a swing, making up songs as I soared through the air. I would drink a glass of milk with a maraschino cherry in the bottom for every meal. I would love every minute. 

5. What advice would you give to a parent who is hoping to encourage a creative child?

Turn off the TV. We moved our television to the basement about a year ago. And we got rid of television for good over the summer. It has been fantastic. Instead of distracting our children with a screen, we read. We paint. We spend time outside. We get out of the house. Even when I'm not actively entertaining my children, I notice them finding ways to play and explore using things they find around the house. Best of all, getting rid of our television has forced us, as parents, to be creative as well. My husband and I used to spend time each night in front of the TV. Now, we read. We write. We work in the garden. We listen to music. We have tackled a few projects. Our relationship is better off because of it. I believe children learn by example. If you want your children to find creativity, to be creative, YOU have to do the same. Play with them. Read with them. Paint with them. Invite them to help you cook. Take them on hikes. Let them throw rocks in the creek. Show them the world. 

I couldn't agree more with you, Lacy! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. See, guys? Isn't she amazing? For more about Lacy (and all her loveliness) visit her at Living on Love. 
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Living on Love said...

Caroline, thank you so much for including me in this awesome series. I am truly honored! It was fun - especially getting a chance to reflect on my own childhood.



Maggie May said...

This was so fun, great interview you two! Lacy I love that you did a no TV time..are doing...we did that for a few years, we had a TV but only played videos, and it was awesome.

Jen C said...

Love this line: "I'm not sure if it's the imaginative nature of children or the birth of a new person - but my kids have given me a fresh set of eyes for everything I do."

Lovely interview!

Susan Anderson said...

What a great interview. She seems like a really neat person.