Joining me on the show today is a professor of ceramics at American River College in Sacramento, a founding member of The E Street Gallery and Studios, and one of my favorite art teachers, Linda Gelfman.
She has recently been exploring soft-sculpture as well as her ceramic work. She used her textile pieces in a recent show at The Kaneko Gallery at American River College, titled “Cognitive Dissonance.” The show examined the multilayers of life. “Linda’s Lollies¨ the name she’s given her anthropomorphic soft sculptures, have a mixture of cuteness and the bizarre. Her work has focused on finding beauty in the imperfections that working with clay can provide.
Some of her earliest art-related memories include playing in her friend’s wet sandbox. Her love of creativity led her through college, where she was surprised and elated she was able to major in art and could share that love with others. She continued to build an incredible career teaching, installing her work in galleries and continued her education at Sacramento State in graduate school.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to chat with Linda. Our conversation is full of passion for the creative process and the love she has for teaching others. If you need the inspiration to get back into the flow of creativity, listen to this episode, and make sure to check out the ways to connect further with Linda.
More in this episode:
● Linda believes everyone has creativity within themselves.
● Linda found working with clay using the Wabi Sabi method in her early 20s Which helped her gain a deeper appreciation of finding beauty in the imperfect.
● She shares how students can feel empowered in their creativity and sense of expression.
● Linda shares her methods for creating dynamic pieces that go against the traditional “rules.”
● She enjoys using upcycled materials to integrate new textures and elements into her work and recent gallery installations.
● Linda believes that following your passion is the best way to help and serve humanity.
● She was able to make art and make a living for years.
● Linda believes it’s vital for artists to get back to the fluidity of their process to ignite their creative spark and to go “outside the lines of perfectionism.”
● She feels art is important and encourages everyone to take an art class “because it will change your life.”
● It’s OK to be different because that makes us unique and marvelous.
● She shares her thought on what to do if you’re feeling disconnected from life.
Find Linda at The E Street Gallery
Linda Gelfman on Facebook: Gelfman Art
Become one of her students at American River College
Snow After Fire Art Piece
Article on Fire Retardant planes from McClelland
Link to map of fire situation in California this year
Fort McMurray, Alberta fire
Joining me on the show today is crafter, designer and author, Amy Tangerine. Amy has always had a creative outlook on life. Growing up in Chicago, she wallpapered her walls with pages from fashion magazines.
She has recently written a book titled Craft A Life You Love, a book that shows readers how to find their flow, maintain a positive mindset, and cultivate a rich and fulfilling life by focusing on what truly matters. The book was a passion project for Amy that was written to inspire others to live their creative lives. Amy self-published her book, and after it was on Amazon for a while, some publishers contacted her asking to publish her book. It was a great honor for Amy too have been contacted by publishers so she hired an agent to help her shop around for a publisher. It has been really great because it now has color pages and is now selling in bookstores all over the world.
Amy’s life has been a winding journey but she has always used her creativity to ground herself. Some of her earliest craft memories include making friendship bracelets and tie-dyeing shirts. Her crafting progressed through the years and continues to bring her great joy.
More creativity in this episode:
- Amy believes everyone is creative in some way.
- Amy shares how she switched colleges because of her love of fashion.
- Amy’s successfulness in crafting/fashion fueled her entrepreneurship.
- Amy found scrapbooking to be a special experience/release during a very stressful time in her life.
- If you want to get creative on paper, just do what you feel.
- Scrapbooking can involve taking pictures with your phone and printing them out so you have something tangible to hold.
- Crafting the life you love means infusing creativity into your life every day.
- Amy collaborates with American Crafts and has many scrapbook collections.
- Finding your strengths in crafting can make you money
- Find a craft that makes you feel happy and fulfilled.
- Be intentional when selecting your crafts so that you have freedom, fulfillment or fun.
- Amy is involved with City Year and will design their invitations this year.
- Wearing “a lot of hats” is not a bad thing if you balance them effectively.
- Carve out time each day to enjoy your creative endeavors.
- When working on a project, don’t focus on perfection. Give yourself grace and have fun!
Connect with Amy!
Amy on Facebook
Amy on Twitter
Amy’s YouTube Channel
Amy on Vimeo
Lina Fat is VP of Culinary Research and Development for Fat Family Restaurant Group, based in Sacramento, CA. Her first dream was to be a pharmacist, which she fulfilled when she earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of California-San Francisco in 1964, where she met and married her husband, Kenneth.
Her father-in-law, the late Frank Fat, founded the landmark Sacramento restaurant, Frank Fat’s in 1939, where many of the state’s most influential figures have dined for more than 70 years. Lina joined the restaurant business when the second restaurant, China Camp, opened in 1974. In 1976, Fat City Bar & Grill was opened, and since 2000, the Fat family has opened Fat’s Asia Bistro in Roseville and in Folsom.
Lina traveled the world to train under master chefs in Switzerland, France, and Italy, and at the Cordon Bleu in San Francisco and the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has spent a lifetime discovering new culinary secrets for what is now her specialty—combining flavors from around the globe!
She is a favorite featured guest on local Sacramento TV as well as authoring The Lina Fat Cookbook: Recipes from the Fat Family Restaurants. Lina and the Fat restaurants have received numerous awards over the years, and she has been actively involved in many community boards and organizations. Proving that her creative interests extend far beyond the kitchen, in 2007 she launched the Sacramento World Music and Dance Festival, which showcases the cultural diversity of the region through presentation of ethnic dance from around the world by local talent. Lina is a true pioneer who has never been afraid to take on one more challenge in her creative and inspiring life.
- Lina’s semi-retired life now after over 40 years in the restaurant business, helping run 4 restaurants and a catering business
- The four Fat restaurants serving American Chinese food and receiving the James Beard Award a few years ago for Frank Fat’s Restaurant started in 1939 by her father-in-law
- The funny story of how the famous Banana Cream Pie came to the menu in the early days
- Lina’s beginning as a pharmacist and then a stay-at-home mom who started cooking and exploring her creativity
- How she advised her father-in-law about opening a restaurant commemorating Chinese immigrants and then started writing and testing recipes
- How Lina took on the new job of running the kitchen and managing the staff, bringing in new and innovative ideas and techniques
- Similarities between work as a pharmacist and a chef and how LIna applied some of the same principles to her new career
- The story of the historic bar and their branching into “bar food” at Fat City Bar & Grill
- How Lina took on the new challenge as restaurant manager
- Why a restaurant turns out to be a good training ground for learning life skills
- Why she made her children and other young people start out as dishwashers in the restaurant
- How she branched out into writing a cookbook
- How Lina became a local TV chef—way before TV chefs were “a thing”
- When Emeril Lagasse used one of her recipes on his famous show
- Creativity in translating the Spanish tapas concept into dim sum
- Only one of her children has followed her into the restaurant business and two have followed their father into dentistry
- Lina’s advice to those who want to be chefs—Develop your palate!
- Trends that Lina sees in the modern restaurant business
- Lina’s love for small farmers’ markets and local CA resources
- Lina’s story of her flourless chocolate cake mishap early in her marriage and how she took the failure as a challenge
- Lina’s thoughts on creativity: “Don’t create just to create. Like food, creativity should have a purpose and a balance. Start with the basics first.”
The Lina Fat Cookbook: Recipes from the Fat Family Restaurants, by Lina Fat
Have recent celebrity suicides left you with a deep sadness and wonderment at what it takes to go that far into depression? Those are common thoughts when we hear the news that someone was so overwhelmed by life’s difficulties that suicide seemed the only answer. The good news is that hope is available for anyone who needs it, and life is full of possibilities for connection and support—and yes, creativity that brings joy, mindfulness, satisfaction, and peace.
Dr. Caroline Giroux is a psychiatrist who migrated from Canada and is now Associate Professor at UC Davis. Through narrative approaches, she has the privilege to witness her patients’ growth and be inspired by their resilience. Apart from addressing the impact of traumatic experiences throughout the lifespan, she is an educator, an academic writer, an essayist, and a poet. She channels her creativity by designing teaching tools such as courses on mood disorders for medical students and a monthly newsletter for residents She is the mother of three spirited sons and has no shortage of opportunities to express her creativity through kids’ stories and various family projects.
Caroline is a creative physician who writes professionally and personally. She shares some of her poetry and essays in Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine, the official journal of the medical society by the same name. This lifestyle journal promotes the history, art, and science of medicine, the protection of public health, and the well-being of patients and their caregivers. I have the privilege of serving on the editorial committee of the journal with Caroline and am happy to share this conversation with you.
- How Caroline came to psychiatry, knowing even in high school that she wanted a medical field that allowed her to use her creativity and writing
- How she wanted to give hope to people through their deep sorrows
- How her parents inspired her to want to work in helping others and find gratification in service
- The difference in the college education systems in Canada and the US
- Why she pursued a physical therapy degree first and then went on to medical school, not knowing the reintegration of body and mind in medicine would make her PT “detour” worthwhile and very helpful
- The creatives in her family: a great uncle who was a priest, poet, and writer; and her aunt who is a painter and poet
- How depression and suicide rates have risen over 30% in the past 20 years and how creative people are keenly affected
- The struggle to reconcile our image of ourselves with what others think of us
- How some celebrities are disconnected from their families and struggle with addiction and substance abuse
- Alienation from others and self is a common theme and an inability to transform from a difficult circumstance
- Healing and empowerment come when people are willing to transform from fear, shame, and hopelessness
- How even Robin Williams, “the king of laughter,” had problems and a severe mental illness that people weren’t aware of
- What we can learn about attempted suicide to affect policies about gun violence
- When people reach a high stress situation and are overwhelmed, if they don’t have a coping mechanism, but have alcoholism and available guns—a ticking time bomb is the result
- Why we need to talk about suicide and deepen our understanding
- 12-25% of people experience depression, with men expressing it more openly but women being more willing to seek help
- The need is to expand coping skills to deal with stressors more effectively now and later in life
- The need for a “sabbatical of the soul” and respite to fight against overwhelming feelings
- There are many resources available to treat substance abuse and depression
- How religious affiliations can help because of the sense of community and the ritual practices that induce mindfulness
- How the celebrity lifestyle can take away the joy and mindfulness we gain from simple, daily, repetitive activities
- Why self-care is extremely vital for doctors and healthcare workers, in the form of exercise, mindfulness, yoga, and socialization activities
- Caroline’s thoughts on creativity: “We all have an innate potential for creativity, even those who might not think they are creative. We access this creativity for problem-solving, clarity, and mindfulness. Find your creative path.”
National Suicide Prevention Line 1-800-273-8255
Our guest today is the photographer, Alison Brown. I learned of Alison through the Women’s Environmental Network of the San Francisco Bay area. I saw her work online, and I knew I had to have her on the show. Alison is an international photographer that discovered her passion for photography nearly ten years ago after embarking on her first backpacking trip through Southeast Asia in 2008. She’s been blessed to visit the countries of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar (Burma), Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Turkey, France, Israel, Spain, Portugal, United States, Canada, and Mexico. In addition to her photography, she is also a Communications Consultant and Sustainability Specialist. Her intention is to use her photographs to inspire people to care more deeply about the natural environment and conservation. Alison views photography as much more than a profession and shares her creative approach to photography in this episode.
More creativity in this episode:
- Learn how photography inspires Alison.
- Why did Alison choose to travel Southeast Asia after graduating college?
- Alison shares her passion for her sustainability work.
- Discover how Alison bridges her sustainability work with her photography.
- Alison describes her experiences while living in Australia.
- Alison shares tidbits from her younger years, and how her focused shifted to what it is today.
- Inspiration for creativity may come in different forms. Alison shares when she does her best work.
- Encouragement for using your personal creativity.
- Encouragement to be conservative with natural resources.
Alison Brown Photography
Alison’s blog is Alison Brown Photography
You can discover more about Alison on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.