The Root Cellar: Creative Community
The Root Cellar: Creative Community
This workshop is now closed, but sign up for the newsletter to find out about future offerings!
This offering will comprise of five weekly sessions focused on aspects of creative process in November and December, two online co-working sessions and a facilitated, closed WhatsApp Group.
The beautiful coloured leaves appear around the fall equinox, when the earth moves farthest from the sun. It is this distance that reduces chlorophyll and as a result, the bright pigments that were always there, and are a result of the sap flowing in the trees, are revealed. As we transition into the darker half of the year, we are invited inwards, into our own creative root cellar. It’s also a special year for Baha’is around the world, who are commemorating the Centenary of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who served humanity tirelessly throughout His Life. When He spoke in London, England, He said: “Art is Worship.” The Root Cellar is an opportunity to connect to those words, through our own action and reflection.
What projects and creative work are you brewing for yourself or to share with your community?
What nourishment are you craving this season?
What might it feel like to give yourself the support, community and space to play and explore?
The Root Cellar Creative Community bundle includes:
- Your participation in 5 themed workshops on the following themes, which will be held Monday evenings: November 22nd, 29th, December 6th, 13th & 20th.
- Origins: Our nature as creators
- Cycles, nature & creative process
- Encounters with perfectionism & blocks
- On rejecting passion & inviting curiosity
- Effort, habit, commitment & completion
- Two lightly guided online group co-working sessions.
- Participation in a closed, facilitated WhatsApp group throughout the duration of the sessions.
- A reduced rate on individual coaching sessions and/or feedback on creative work until February 1st, 2022.
During each week of our workshops, we’ll drop in through meditation and guided visualizations. We’ll then read from different sources related to our theme and then we’ll spend time in small breakout groups, often pairs, to reflect deeply and explore these concepts as they relate to our own trajectories. At times, this will involve mapping and markers and creative exercises. This is a creator-led practice, so you will leave each week with goals you’ve set for yourself. These could range from committing to waking up at a certain time every day this week to completing a chapter of that book you’re writing, to being so gentle with yourself as you recover from a big project. I will offer resources, readings and additional suggestions to deepen your work. The practice is about showing up for your own goals and returning the next week to reflect.
The WhatsApp group is a space to explore questions informally, share resources and support one another. The two co-working spaces will be half an hour in length and mostly silent, an opportunity to be accountable and to share the same time of working alone and together on our creative initiatives. You are welcome to come into The Root Cellar with a pre-defined creative project you’d like to advance, or simply a desire to engage and experiment with creative process through action, in community.
This is an opportunity for you, if you:
- Don’t consider yourself an artist but have even a vague sense that you want to listen more deeply to the call to create, even if you don’t know what that would even look like for you.
- Feel like your life is all work and no play!
- Are currently working as an artist or creative in some capacity but need to cut through the noise to hear your inner voice more clearly.
- Are burned out, grieving or find yourself at a turning point and want some structure around aspects of your creative healing and nourishment.
- Know you’ll benefit from a stronger sense of community and companionship as you face the challenges of engaging with creative process.
- Want to explore the deeper connections between nature, the life of the spirit and your own capacity to create.
If you’re on the fence, I get it. It can be hard to dive into something like this when we already feel our plate is full, and when we are already generously giving our time and energy in many other directions. It can be hard because a little voice inside our head hopes we’ll do it perfectly and also fears that at this time, we cannot even dare to hope to do anything well, let alone perfectly. There are many reasons we don’t make the time and space to create, I know them well too. Don’t sit this one out if there’s a little voice beckoning you to take a tentative step. We’ll look at these challenges together. They are important pain points and openings.
What I bring:
- Fifteen years of experience creating, guiding and facilitating creative processes and circles with youth, women and seniors from diverse populations and backgrounds.
- Fifteen years of experience carrying projects from that initial spark, through the messy middles into the vulnerability and triumph of sharing work in the world.
- Five years of partnership with teachers throughout the Toronto District School Board, two years of teaching communications at George Brown College and developing e-learning courses for international clients.
- Experience accompanying creatives to develop their own passion projects, from documentary and narrative film to children's books. Developing programs alongside communities that have been marginalized, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council, Artreach Toronto, the Indigenous Screen Office and the Canada Council for the Arts.
- Formal education: I hold a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance (Concordia) and a Master of Arts in Education (OISE/UofT), which has led to a forthcoming published academic article in the UK-based Research in Drama Education Journal.
- My own creative practice of daily writing and drawing, and the challenge of carving out time amidst work and motherhood. This practice is informed by both my professional training as an actor and writer, as well as by my staunch belief that everyone is here to create in some form. My work is informed by the cyclical nature of the seasons and the female body, my role as a mother, my insatiable curiosity for all things spiritual, the nobility of young people, the potential for collective community creation and the role of intergenerational trauma and healing.
Your participation is confirmed when you sign up here.
The Root Cellar Bundle is offered on a sliding scale to allow for accessibility. If you can realistically pay on the higher end, you are allowing those with less access to resources to participate. The scale below is intended to be a map, inviting each of us to consider our financial resources and look at our levels of privilege. It is a way to challenge the limitations of the capitalist society we live in and work towards economic justice. While you take these factors into consideration, please don’t stress about it. Pay what feels right.
Accessible Tier: 100$ (consider paying this if you are a student, are supporting children or other dependents, have significant debts, unstable housing or receive government assistance)
Middle Tier: 180$ (consider paying this if you have stable employment, are meeting your basic needs but have minimal expendable income at the moment)
Regular Tier: 250$ (consider paying this if you have stable employment, own the home you live in, have access to some savings and/or family support and spend little time worrying about basic needs)
Generosity Tier: 400$ (consider paying this if you’re in a position to give back, if you are comfortable and would like to support someone else with less means to participate, this is a beautiful way to pay it forward!)
“Esther always brings her experience, wisdom, open heart, and listening ears. She deeply values the principle of learning in community.” -Kyle Schmalenberg
“Esther is a visionary and an inspirational educator.” -Liam Moore
"This was a transformative experience for me. Esther held space for us to process and reflect together, to explore our creativity, our blocks, and what is beckoning us forward." -Hayley Miloff
"This whole experience was truly life changing. That may seem extreme but it has genuinely allowed me to reflect on aspects of my life I would have never thought of before. It was so refreshing being in an environment where it was basically impossible to do it wrong." -Ariane Sheshbadaran
"I feel like we're instruments and you’re tuning us. It's been good to let go of the idea of a final production or project--essentially, my entire life and being has been in a creative problem solving venture… If I return to the idea of cycles, and where I am, it’s like a whole other life awaits." -Alea Morren