Creative Coffee Morning – September

Creative Coffee Morning – September

Creative Coffee Morning – September


Friday, 9th September 2011 at 9:30 am
VENUE | Escape Cafe,  Manhattan Place, 130 Bree Street, Cape Town (021 422 1325)

GUEST SPEAKER | Lauren Fowler

I knit, sew, cross stitch.
I draw, design and Photoshop.
I take pictures, I blog and I play the guitar and sing.

What can I do for you?

Thank You : to SWISSMISS for the fabulous idea and  to Escape Cafe for your perfect venue and the delicious coffee.

PHOTO FEEDBACK from our 13th “INSPIRATIONAL” Creative Coffee Morning. After A cup of coffee we all settle and fill in our tags which ask “what cocktail are you?”

Here are some photo’s of the tags, a guest book signature and some of the creative guests. Read what LAUREN FOWLER had to say on the Twitter stream @CreativeCoffeeM and the Q&A interview with Lauren is at the end.


This is what Lauren Fowler said| 9th September 2011

“Imagination is more important than knowledge”
Albert Einstein
I struggled for a long time to come to terms with the textbook definition of “intelligence”
At school, I struggled in subjects which demanded remembering facts an dates.
I excelled in subjects where one was left to make up the answer or work it out. I personally feel that this is a harder task as the answers are not fed to you and require more brain work to conjure up something rather than relying on regurgitating information. My Geography isn’t it’s best, but I could draw you a very interesting map.
But first, some background.
I was born, 1985, cape town city bowl.
I drew 8 legged butterflies.
I went to school and hated my drawings and had holes in my knitting.
I went to high school and doodled cartoons of me and my friend kim.
I went to college and learned about scamping and drew motorbikes.
Then, one evening, my brother mentioned how he loved that my characters had such a range of emotions with such few lines.
Then. I saw it too.
Then other people saw it.
My confidence grew as I drew and eventually, very quietly, I tried calling myself an illustrator.
It felt nice. I did it more often. I told everyone, I told the magazines, I told the agencies.
Now it’s on my business card.
I had worked in a web design agency for 3 months after college and after realising it was “not for me”, I started out as said illustrator and it was hard.
It was many nights feeling freaked out with my heart in my throat, eyes peeled open wide,
“a clockwork orange” style.
So, to busy myself whilst the flood of work came my way in ancient chinese torture droplet speed, I took a job at a little boutique shop on Long Street. With a degree in Brand Communication and sewing buttons onto pieces of felt, my father, was thrilled…
During my time at the shop, I had plenty of time to meditate on how broke I was. So, I started knitting, drawing, sewing, anything to keep my mind off the debt I was racking up with my father.
There used to be a shop down in Kalk Bay, called Blossom which was run by Sandy Mitchell. At the time, they started having these amazing exhibitions every 2 months showcasing their stockists talents in a themed show. I did many of these and a lot of my products came form these “brain pushers”
My range of circus gift cards, my tea cosies and teddy bears, my cross stitch hoops, the list goes on!
This is where the craft and thing making side of me really came out.
Now, if you’re going to start out as a freelancer, you either have to have lots of money, a lovely set of parents, or do about ten other things to keep that dream alive.
I did the following:
- Worked in clothing shops telling people they looked “fab”
- Served sushi to successful people, as well as to my 3rd year lecturer (embarrassing)
  • Took notes at Focus Groups from whisky to face wash.
  • Did telephonic market research recruitment
  • Selling soft furnishings over the phone
  • and designing business cards for my mother.
Finally, I caught a break, a couple of local magazines started hiring me for editorials, horoscope illustrations and these lead to other jobs. My saving grace was a company that hired me a couple of times a month to do some graphic design work and a lot of it. This was my cash cow. I started earning “real money” I was so relieved and started paying my father back that very, very long IOU. To this day, I’m not sure they know that I had no idea how to use Illustrator, even when I said I did and was frantically googling how to do use transparencies. These are the clients you keep happy, the ones that give you repeat business. Whether I was hung over, ill, busy with another job, whatever, I dropped everything for them. They eventually expanded and didn’t need me anymore, but that was fine because I was looking for more challenging work now that I felt more confident.
So, for the past four years, I am finally doing what I love. And getting paid well to do it.
Now, to talk about being a person who’s job is to be creative for others.
It’s awesome, but draining.  I often feel like I have this huge never ending well, flowing with new ideas, new concepts and there’s just not enough time to do them all!
My well will never empty!
I scream with manic delight.
Guess what. It does. And when you get a big job and you’re lapping up dribbles, you’re in trouble.
I cannot express the importance of “filling the well” I never understood it before when people spoke of being burnt out, I didn’t understand this concept of running out of ideas. Then it happens to you. For me, I need a walk. A walk in the park, a walk on the mountain, a walk around the block. I need to see things that aren’t my work, that isn’t the next product or illustration. I need to see the simple things on this earth. The trees, the rocks, the water. This will always bring you back, back to the source of where it all comes from in the first place. Whether it’s star gazing or grass inspection, we must see and touch the other living stuffs.
Motivation VS Procrastination
The war never ends. Procrastination will flirt with you with all it’s amazing delights.
The lamp shades need cleaning, oh, I haven’t practiced guitar in so long, what’s that, dishes?
Being creative is weird.You have all this energy to make things and draw stuff whilst sitting in your car or watching  movie, standing in line at the shops. It strikes you at the weirdest times. It’s a great feeling when work and motivation suddenly synchronize in perfect harmony. You feel golden, you feel like you’re working at the speed of light, yet also slowly, in a graceful humming motion of the universe. Or something.
Illustration and art have always been two aspects of my career that I find confusing. The illustration part of me knows that they are doing this work for a commercial nature and the artistic side of me knows that the images I create must be conceptual and evoke an emotion or reaction. But I often find them blurring into one another.
At the end of the day, my paranoid self draws many lines for detail, many hours wrapping my head around a concept and then puts it out into the world with hands over the face and an eye peeping out. In my type of work, you heart and soul pieces go into almost everything you create. When someone scrutinizes that, it feels like they’re looking at your face REALLY close up. The longer they look without any reaction, the faster your heart beats.
This is a natural reaction, when your client says it’s not quite what they were looking for and your stomach drops into your shoes and your heart fills with lead, you smile, you say, “sure, what is it that you had in mind? I want you to be happy with the end product.” or if you really believe in the work that you’ve done you stand your ground and explain your concept to the client and ask them their opinion on what they think you should do to make that clearer for them. At the end of the day, it’s a tricky thing to deal with. Creative people are already a little unsure in the first place. It’s an aspect of my work that I deal with everyday and with it, I’ve become better with people and how to deal with them. I think this is where people who create for the commercial world and artists are different. Artists tend to stay in their studios, paint, have an agent, have a show at a gallery. In my work, I deal directly with my client and I get the luxury of getting steered into the right direction when I go off centre, even when it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Working in Cape Town, I feel that my clients are more relaxed and also more open to crazier or more interesting ideas. I’ve had a few international clients and they’ve always felt a little safe. I think in my line of work, Cape Town is such an ideal environment to be in, where people take in creativity into their everyday lives.  This, I think is really special for such a small city. I love that the people I’ve worked with, young, old, corporate and whacky have all understood what I do and why it would be an asset to them. I take my hat off to my community, they’re switched on.
In the same vein, the feeling and experience that one can get from fulfilling another person’s vision, is out of this world. I’ll never tire of the feeling of the happy client. When you both come together and create something that you’re both ecstatic about. When someone buys an artwork of mine or a gift card, when I’m endlessly thanked for the time I put into for each cross stitch hoop, this is why I do what I do. These feelings can fill the “creative well” instantly and cause it to overflow.
In a nut shell, being a creative is challenging and fun. I’ve always enjoyed all aspects of creating and expression of self. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s do what you love, be who you really are, without apology and feel free to love yourself, cause after all, you’re quite nice and you’re with you for life.
To end, a quote:
He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.

Interview with Lauren Fowler | 10th August 2011

Where do you go to think?

I like to wash dishes and think about stuff, or bath, or drive, or walk around the house and stare at the garden, or pet my cats.

Is it about what you know or who you know?

I think it’s a bit of both and a little bit of who knows you. It’s important to know exactly what you do and how you want people to perceive it.

What is an idea?

I always imagine an idea as a little sparkly, electric blue, web thing that pops into your brain from the ether and makes you incredibly inspired and gives you energy to do something new.

Where is the beginning?

In cross stitch, it’s in the centre. In illustration it’s on a blank piece of paper with a pencil and for anything else, it’s in my red moleskin diary.

What risks are worth taking?

Talking about yourself without sounding like a narcissist, meeting new people and knowing that some just really won’t understand what you do or what you’re about and trusting people, I guess.

Who, in your opinion, gets it?

Jesse Breytenbach. She’s also a crafty illustrator.   

Thaya Bedford. That woman lives in her own world, have you seen that blog?!  

Gene Kierman. That guy from Miss Texas 1977.   

Quiet or Noisy?

Quiet and earphones with noise for the car.

Best community projects you’ve been involve with?

Ah! So many! I did a project where we had to paint a door for orphans, that was cool, they were auctioned off. More recently, I was involved with the Safe Spaces campaign that took place at the Freeworld Design centre where I yarn bombed a football that also got auctioned off.

Do illustration have commercial value?

Yes. The advertising companies in South Africa are quite fond of using illustrators. I also sell my illustrations and a range of gift cards and a number of boutique shops in Cape Town.

Innovation or perseverance?

oh wow. I don’t understand this question. how embarrassing. Perseverance is important in anything that you do otherwise you’ll crumble. It’s so important to believe in yourself and your brand, even when you’re telling everyone you’re an illustrator and you’re busy serving someone sushi. Innovation is vital in the field of the arts as you don’t want to be pushing out the same product or style as your peers, so constantly reinventing yourself, learning something new, coming up with new ideas to set yourself apart is key.

Can community be described?

Community for me, is a group of people who get each other and even if they don’t, they’re happy that you’re doing something.

Is collaboration really happening?

I hope so, I’m doing some collaborating over the next couple of months.

Ideal holiday destination?

The karoo or Brooklyn, New York

Favourite movie?

Evil evil question….um..I’ve seen “Hackers” at least 10 times, so maybe that one.

Last book read?

“The Holy Man” by Susan Trott. Its a really short book

Routine or spontaneous?

Routine with bursts of spontaneity! 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are?

Work hard, don’t work for “the man”, never give up, even when you feel like a fail, do what makes you happy and love yourself, cause you’re rad.

ABOUT CREATIVE MORNINGS Creative Mornings is an idea started by Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss designer living in New York, a.k.a. SwissMiss. Please  note that the Creative Coffee Morning events are not the official Creative Mornings we are only temporarily borrowing this fabulous idea until the official Creative Mornings start here in Cape Town which will only happen when we, or some other Cape Town creative, puts together and emails a video application to open up the Cape Town chapter. We also need to give credit to the interview-idea by the London chapter of Creative Mornings, Sense Worldwide, and we have now introduced the interview questions into Cape Town Creative Coffee Morning as well.

ABOUT CAPE TOWN CREATIVE ‘COFFEE’ MORNING | This happens on the FIRST FRIDAY of the month and it is a space for creative types to gather. Each event includes a ±30 minute creative story tale, told by a guest speaker/s, followed by Q&A. The gathering begins at 9:30am with the topic story tale starting at 10:00am and finishing up between 10:30am – 11:00 a.m. Creative Coffee Morning is free of charge, you just pay for your coffee and treats!

Get in Touch … via email

  • If you’d like to come along
  • nominate a speaker
  • get involved as a helper (we are looking for a videographer) and a food and beverage sponsor
  • if you would like to offer your venue for creative minds to gather

Here is a link to read past Creative Coffee Mornings speakers on twitter, or you may view the photo feedback on our Fundamental Displays blog. To keep up to date with future events follow us on Twitter or on Facebook or send us an email and we will add you to our eventbrite mailing list.

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