Friday, May 6, 2011

Creative Challenge: How I fled an artists get together...

Something happened to me yesterday and I'm still not sure if I should share this incident with my dear readers or not. This is because yesterday I posted a status update with such a carefree spirit (my first artists get together, yay) that unfortunately I'm now too embarrassed to talk about this. On the other hand, it might be perceived as a quite funny incident, so I decided, I must share. 

First off: last week was incredible. So many things happened at once, positive things that enhanced my path of creating a creative business (I found a business partner, my coach agreed on our concept and told me we should enter a creative ideas competition and: I might be in New York this summer. This means I'll be able to build more connections for my creative business! Already made my first appointment with a famous and gorgeous illustrator, so excited. TYT will be reporting from NY of course!)

Anyhow, back to my embarrassing "artists get together" moment. I had been invited to an artists get together in Berlin and I was really excited to meet new people, talk about collaborations and what not! My trip there was already something of an adventure, because I nearly didn't find the gallery space. I ended up wandering somewhere by the river, a little scared, because it wasn't the prettiest part of town... Nevertheless, once I recognized more artsy types of people I was kind of relieved, at least now I was sure that I had been on the right path!

However it turned out, that the event wasn't really what I had been expecting. I thought I would be talking to sweet illustrators all night, instead I ended up not talking to anybody (I didn't introduce myself and no one introduced themselves to me) and then I was even more embarrassed to SEARCH for the host of the party (I only knew her by name) but not how she looked like...and so forth. As time progressed (and I had looked at a painting for the one hundredth time, pretending I was looking at it for the FIRST time) even more strange people appeared and I decided to flee. I know this sounds a bit extreme, but I had a good plan hatched out in my mind: Find stairs. Run. 

Hence I decided to actually flee the building, I was literally running away and I only looked back once (to check if anybody had actually noticed or would report on me) but luckily no one noticed or in fact, cared. I'm really sorry I do not have more exciting news for you about this event, but, I decided to be honest with you. Plus: I hope you had a good laugh. :-) In any case, if this ever happens to you, make sure you always, always bring someone along if you don't know what to expect from a party. Otherwise, if you're not able to bond with the other guests, you must do as I did and develop an escape plan (and write an embarrassing blog post for your readers!) 

Building a Cultural Centre in Rwanda: The Story of Covaga Women - a program developed by Developing World Connections (DWC)

This summer, the non-profit society Developing World Connections (DWC) will support Covaga Women, a cooperative of weavers in Gashora, Rwanda. They have a mission to protect the environment and create jobs in their community. Hopefully this summer, DWC volunteers will be able to report directly from Rwanda and tradeyourtalent will provide continuos news on the process of creating a cultural center in Covaga. The first steps have been made with building the Covaga Innovation Centre in 2010. 

Copyright Developing World Connections
Copyright Developing World Connections
Copyright Developing World Connections

Background: Beginning in the fall of 2009, Developing World Connections (DWC) has been working with Building Bridges with Rwanda (BBR Ltd), to implement a long-tem development program to support Rwanda’s Millennium Developing Goals. BBR began to work with Covaga in the fall of 2006. This collaboration was the result of BBR interest in contributing to Rwanda’s reconstruction efforts following the devastating 1994 genocide against the minority Tutsi. International volunteers help raise funds in COVAGA, a cooperative of weavers in Gashora whose mission is to extract water hyacinth plants and use them as renewable natural resource to protect the environment and create jobs. Last summer, DWC and Softchoice, a Toronto based software company, built the Covaga Innovation Centre. 

Copyright Developing World Connections

Copyright Developing World Connections

This summer: In 2011, another four DWC groups are scheduled to work in Gashora. They include three student groups from Quest University and University of Victoria, in British Columbia Canada. In addition staff from Jones Delaurier, a Toronto-based insurance company, will spend a week working with Gashora residents to continue the construction of the Covaga Innovation Centre. During their stay in Rwanda, international volunteers work on the construction projects, visit interesting sites; such as world’s renowned mountain gorilla, they go on neighborhood walks, home visits, pay tribute to victims of the 1994 Genocide at memorial sites, they visit museums and national parks. 

Copyright Developing World Connections

Copyright Developing World Connections

Copyright Developing World Connections

Cultural Centre: When completed, the CIC will have a boutique where Covaga will sell its products, two weaving studios, a kitchen and restaurant. The restaurant and boutique will create jobs for Covaga and contribute to Gashora tourism and hospitality industry. At the same time, the centre will host learning exchanges between international visitors and local residents. It will have events that promote Gashora culture, such as storytelling and cultural performance.  
Copyright Developing World Connections

Copyright Developing World Connections
Copyright Developing World Connections

The Covaga Innovation Centre/ CIC
Covaga had approached BBR and asked for support in building a new facility, in the past they had received a dilapidated building from the local government that members were using as weaving studio. Soon DWC agreed to send volunteers to work on the construction of the Covaga centre. In 2010, four DWC teams spent the summer and fall working on the construction of the Covaga Innovation Centre. BBR has made arrangements with a vocational training school that is being constructed by Green Helmets, a German NGO called the Nelson Mandela Education Centre.  NMEC students and instructor work with Covaga members, residents of Gashora and DWC volunteers to build the centre using German technology. The project is supervised by a German architect, Till Groner, who is the principle of NMEC. 

Copyright Developing World Connections

Copyright Developing World Connections 

DWC philosophy is inspired by the interconnectedness between travel, cultural exchange and development. The organization creates a forum where Canadian volunteers raise funds and travel to work in developing countries along side with the local residents. Through a learning exchange, visitors and locals engage in a meaning contribution to the local development.  

For more information, please contact:
Lama Mugabo, BBR Initiator
Jessica Kleissen,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elizabeth Rose Stanton "Be fearless"

Elizabeth Rose Stanton is an illustrator from Seattle, trained in architecture, art history, and scientific illustration. She currently works in illustration, portraiture and fine art, with a concentration on children's book and editorial illustration. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about the creative universe and why creativity is endless.


Can you remember one of the first illustrations you did?
 Elizabeth: The kind of art I have done over the years has all been representational and could,  I suppose, be defined as illustration, so there's not really a direct answer for this.  As a child, I would endlessly copy images from books and magazines.  I studied art history in college, and then went on to graduate school for architecture.  As architects, we drew constantly--and it turned out to be great training for an art career--I certainly learned how to get the job done!  I then produced a lot of "fine art" and got some training in scientific illustration--all the while doing portrait commissions.  About two years ago, I sat down and thought, I wonder what it would be like to do a children's illustration?  Inspired by a little pen and ink drawing by Edward Lear, I painted "Old Gran Frog and Taddy Pole." I also penned a little "test" drawing of a traditional,somewhat anthropomorphic mouse--and found that it, too, was really fun.  I amused myself no end with it all, and decided then and there that I wanted to concentrate on illustration. So far, it's a blast, and I've met the nicest people.

What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind during the creative process? 
Elizabeth: Relax, and tell yourself that you can always do it over again--and that the creativity is endless.  You can never run out of it will never go away. It can be as frustrating as it is exhilarating. The trick is to learn when you do hit a wall (and I have by no means perfected this) that it's OK to step away from it.  If you let things rest and don't force it, you usually can come roaring back, and usually end up making up for lost time.  We all have ups and downs: seize the ups and roll with the downs.     

Where do you get your inspiration from? 
Elizabeth: Leonardo, Ingres, Sargent, Audubon, John Tenniel, John R. Neill, Edward Lear, Arthur Rackham, Randolph Caldecott,Jesse Wilcox Smith, Beatrix Potter, Clement Hurd, Edward Gorey, William Joyce, Wallace Tripp, Shel Silverstein are among some of my favorites. I could go on and on... I also love watching people. I get ideas from just looking around at everyday things.  

Have you developed your own favorite characters among the ones you've been illustrating? 
Elizabeth: I think our characters are like our children: they are part of us, we nurture and develop them, and hopefully send them out into the world to do good things.  And, like our children, it's hard to name favorites. 

Do you have favorite artists you like to visit on the web?  
Elizabeth: Shaun Tan, Tim Burton, Matt Phelan...and I enjoy taking ganders at the art blogs I follow. 

If you could give some advice to some aspiring illustrators, what would it be? 
Elizabeth: Study...train yourself...take classes...don't waste time...
be fearless.  
Remember that the creative universe swirls around us and flows can tap in any time!

For more on Elizabeth visit

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Video: TYT's first mascot competition: submit your characters until May 30th!

Competition details: 
1) If you'd like to enter the competition please comment below or send us an e-mail ( ! 
2) Submit your character (jpeg) with a short paragraph about yourself to until May 30th. 
3) The characters and artists will be presented in blog posts (depending on the number of submissions)
4) the voting process will start once all characters and artists have been presented in a blog entry!
5) I'll write a special blog entry about the winner and he/she will be mentioned in a new tab about the TYT mascot!

We're excited to meet the new characters!

Plus: Lots of readers have started to vote for Mr. Stick Figure, this is why you'll be able to vote for him too at the end of the month! :-) But I think it will be hard for him, with all the lovely mascots that are being submitted!


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