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My Valley of the Sun: Carrie Bloomston

Insights on creative daily living from a Phoenix-based wife, mother, artist, and author of a just-published art/activity book, “The Little Spark—30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.”

Insights on creative daily living from a Phoenix-based wife, mother, artist, and author of a just-published art/activity book, “The Little Spark—30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity”:

What motivated you to write “The Little Spark”? 

It was born from my desire to help others tap into their innate, beautiful creativity. That which is so easy for an artist isn't necessarily easy for others. I am interested in what happens to diminish some people’s creativity, and in helping them excavate it from the mountainous pile of their fears, doubts, cultural projections, inner-critic, 401Ks and obligations. Somewhere under that giant pile is the desire to play and express. That is what my book is for. Something about the profound nurturing aspect of becoming a mother has allowed me the light-hearted, gentleness to support and encourage others as I might do for my own children.

Tell us about SUCH Designs. 

SUCH Designs is the brand I started about four years ago when people started asking me to sell my designs for sewing projects and quilt patterns. I only just started sewing when I was pregnant with my daughter five years ago, but I brought with it a lifetime of art experience. My tagline for SUCH has always been “Celebrate Your Inner Artist!” and that has become more and more important to me over time. I now see myself as a creativity enabler in all of its many forms. 

As you were growing up, what was the best thing your parents did/did not do to nourish your creative spirit? 

I was over-supported as a child. Seriously. My parents were both creative and they always encouraged me. At some point in my tweens, we converted our garage into a 500-square-foot studio, supposedly for my mom, but she was good at sharing. Quickly it became mine. I would paint large (five- to 10-foot) abstract paintings on the floor until all hours of the morning. My senior year in high school I was handed a day of in-school suspension because I had over 100 tardies for first period since I couldn't wake up on time as I was painting all night.

What was your most memorable childhood art project? 

I had so many memorable art projects when I was a child. It all started with my kindergarten art teacher, Dicki Arn. She taught me all the way until sixth grade. I remember everything about her classroom—the shelves covered in projects and papers, the “stained glass” project we did with real cut glass and glue; I remember the quality of the light in her room. Mainly, I remember her loving, nurturing and joyful spirit, and I really believe she is very responsible for the way my life unfolded as an artist. It was a never a question.

If you werent an artist, what profession would you likely be in? 

If I weren't an artist, I could be an art therapist. Is that too similar to art? Ha ha.

What inspires you about Arizona? 

Oh, so many things. When I first moved here in 1994 from Rhode Island School of Design, it had a mystique that it still holds for me. Artists have historically been drawn to Arizona and the West, and for good reason: namely, the sky—the vast sky. The light. The sun. It all feels so limitless and full of possibility—unencumbered.

What is one key tip for connecting to our own inner artist? 

The main thing is to remember that your inner artist is in you right now—your inner kid. You just have to awaken to him or her again. Try to recall a time in your life when you were very creative—maybe you were playing, drawing, dancing, exploring—whatever it was, you are still that exact same person right now. Your inner kid is still inside you. My book helps you tune back into that creative freedom. Remembering to play and allowing yourself to explore your heart’s desires, with no interference from the nagging thoughts in your mind, is very important for creativity.

How do you find inspiration for your work? 

For me, inspiration comes when I am not looking for it. Many ideas for designs or writings come to me on hikes, during savasana in yoga classes or commonly when I tuck my kiddos in bed. In each of those three instances I am always stumbling out in a daze to find my laptop or a pen so I can write down my thoughts.

How has yoga played a role in your life? 

I have been a student of yoga for more than 13 years. My practice has evolved so much over the years that now I am less interested in doing the poses perfectly and way more interested in the space between the poses and how to achieve those transitions with grace and fluidity. That grace is something I hope to carry off my mat and into my life. Yoga is my temple. It is an open door, blank canvas, illumination, divining rod. It is an unfolding of the self and a tuning fork for the mind. It is a kinetic, sensory ass-kicking. Yoga has replaced my therapist. Through many years of yoga I have learned how to inhabit my exact body—myself. Isn't that one of the things we are here to do? To feel comfortable with the flawed and beautiful and amazing human form we inhabit? To love ourselves through our imperfections and undo any damage done to the exquisite tapestry we were born with? To polish the light in our heart so it gleams and we can shine in our own unique way? That is what yoga has given me, and especially my teacher, Anton Mackey.

Anton Mackey at Madison Improvement Club
Anton Mackey leads one of Carrie’s favorite yoga classes at Madison Improvement Club. (©Carly Gilleland)

Where do you and your family enjoy spending weekends in the Valley? 

Every weekend we pack up and head over to my mom’s house. And we don’t leave. My mom is our sheltering umbrella. We sit on her white carpet and play with LEGOs and dolls and puzzles. We don’t go out on the weekends—we go in.

Be like Bloomston:

Follow a few of Carrie’s footsteps in this “Perfect Day” itinerary.