Welcome to the third in the Inspirational Artisantopian interview series – where I talk to creative people who are using the Internet to support or inspire their creativity and that of others.
Today I’m pleased to introduce you to Jo Crawford of Crafting the Sacred. Jo is a coach and intuitive reader based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose clients include artists, writers and musicians. Her personal creative practice includes embroidery/stitching, collage, drawing/painting and writing. She also has lots of wonderful resources available on her website that you should check out – the free ebook “Little Book of Sacred Affirmations” is just lovely.
Jo, would you mind introducing yourself and describing your creative interests?
Hi Michelle and everyone at Artisantopian!
I was born and raised in South Africa and have been living in the Bay Area since the late 90s. I’m quite earnest and heady so being creative keeps me grounded in the here and now. I come from a strong lineage of creative women – my mom writes, sews, paints and is very crafty; my grandmother was an incredible quilter and my great-grandmother was also a skilled needleworker. The urge to create and keep my hands busy is in my blood.
My creative interests have ebbed and flowed over the years. As a teenager I threw myself into fibre art – making wearable art and soft sculptures using traditional needlework techniques like embroidery and appliqué. I loved it and those pieces still remain my favourite creations ever!
My current favorite forms of creativity are collage making, drawing and writing. Collage making is so easy, does not take a lot of space or resources and taps my intuition. I use it to make vision boards, dream boards, and interpretations of tarot cards.
What are your favourite technological and non-technological tools that you use in your creative endeavours?
Interesting question! Part of me is a luddite who loves the old school way of making art by hand so many of my tools are ones that have been used for centuries – needles, scissors, rulers, brushes, pens, etc.
At the same time I could not imagine my creative self without access to high-tech gadgets to showcase my work and beautify my website – digital camera, scanner, social media and photo sharing sites. I can’t wait to get my hands on photoshop and get lost in that sandbox!
It amazes me how much my craft and creative self is growing thanks to all the new media tools out there.
Where do you go, online and off, to replenish your well?
Mostly I try to replenish my well off-line by spending time in nature, with my husband and friends, making food together and connecting. Due to the emotional and psychic nature of my intuitive work, I also need a lot of time alone to replenish and connect to source. Junk tv and romantic comedies also help! To replenish myself on-line, I like to read creativity and spirituality blogs – right now I’m enjoying Serpent Mandalas, Goddess Gudebook and Magpie Girl.
You launched your business, Crafting the Sacred, in 2007 to provide coaching services and spiritual products. How has the Internet supported or facilitated your business?
There is no way I would still be in business if it was not for the internet! From the outset I had a website that outlined my services and sold my products. After word-of-mouth referrals, my website, Facebook and Twitter have been the primary ways clients have found me.
Other than the marketing and branding aspect, the internet has facilitated some very juicy networking and collaborations with other women. For instance, we would not have crossed paths if it was not for being in the same on-line community! I get inspired and supported by seeing other people make a go of their creative endeavours.
I imagine in your role as coach you must work with some talented and inspiring creatives. How do you help them to realise their potential and how does being surrounded by these creative people inspire your own creative pursuits?
I love working with creative people – they are my very favorite clients – because we are able to be daring and innovative in our coaching sessions. I help clients with both the left-brain business organization (marketing, price setting, branding) and the creative right-brain approach to their craft (finding their niche, overcoming blocks and exploring their creative process).
Some of my most rewarding work has been with writers, musicians and artists who have been open to me intuiting where their creation wants to grow. It is best done when I have not seen the piece and can work over distance. I know this sounds rather woo-woo – so think of it as a form of creative visualization.
What I do is enter the piece and “feel” where the energy is stuck. I can usually get a strong sense of the rhythm, style, form and energy of the artist’s intent and ask the characters/elements what they need to manifest. Most recently I used this technique with a writer who was having trouble finding her protagonist’s voice – I was able to tap into the need to bring out the character’s androgynous energy and her story clicked after that. She was re-energized about her work which is so inspiring to witness. I find that once my clients’ creative process is flowing, the business pieces fall into place with ease.
Being able to support creative people excel at their craft is deeply satisfying and always juices me to pick up my creative projects as well. My creative self thrives on being around this creative energy – the excitement for the process from initial spark all the way through to execution.
As you are sitting down to write for your website how do you know that what you are creating is something special and helpful? That it will resonate with other people?
Claiming writing as one of my art forms is very new for me. I realized that I was viewing the writing I did on my website, blog and newsletters as purely functional and necessary for business. A few months ago my mom replied to one of my newsletters saying that she was enjoying my lyrical way with words. That really struck me – that my words had meaning and were a way to express my soul.
I try not to think too much of the audience when I write as then I get stage fright. My hope and intention is always that I’m creating something special, especially with my ebooks, and that it reaches the right audience. It’s still a new, tender relationship for me.
You sell beautiful handmade cards, home blessings and other sacred objects on Etsy. What has been your experience of selling online and do you have any tips or tricks for using Etsy?
I have a love-hate relationship with selling on-line as most of my crafts are very tactile and aromatic which do not translate on screen. I have had more luck selling in stores on consignment but then again I do so love etsy!
My main advice for selling your crafts and arts on-line is to create like crazy so that you have a big inventory with a wide variety of product; write fun, descriptive copy; invest in a good digital camera so your photos pop; make it easy for potential customers to contact you; and be a social media whore. It’s all about getting your name out there, looking good and being accessible to your customers.
You can find Jo at:
Website and blog: CraftingTheSacred.com
Thank you Jo, it has been an honour to interview you. Your work sounds truly amazing and I agree with your mum – I too really enjoy your lyrical way with words!