Miranda van den Heuvel talks to creative people in Luxembourg and says “look, Luxembourg is creative! Here’s how and where!” The August talk is with treehouse builder and handbag designer Diamany Ngandu Nabhan.
1. What is CREATIVITY?
Creativity is the essence of life and humanity. It’s what makes us unique and connects us to each other. It is the birthplace of innovation and evolution. I deeply believe that we are all creative even though some of us might have forgotten how to express it and need a little inspiration to rediscover our creativity.
2. How are you creative?
Creativity is my way of life. It is who I am.
My creative process starts with an idea quickly followed by a feeling of great excitement and a vision of what I want to create and what feelings I hope to arouse in others. I am most creative using my hands, having direct contact with different elements. Last year, as a family project we built a treehouse. From the idea to the realisation we poured our creativity to make it our own. After that great project, I craved for a lasting creative outlet. This time it came up in the form of an online shop with a handmade collection of simple and practical urban bags, clutches and pouches incorporating modern bold African fabrics. My products reflect my story where my African and European cultures intertwine in an endless colourful dance.
3. Suggest a simple creative activity to our readers that can make them more creative
Take a white sheet of paper and a pencil or colours pencils. Start from the centre of the sheet of paper by drawing or tracing something like a circle. Build up your drawing from inside out until you have covered the whole sheet. Do this a couple of weeks later, at a different time in a different space. Repeat this from time to time and you will see how your drawings will be different based on your surroundings and your inspiration of the moment. You can also try this out as a family or as a group activity where everyone adds their creativity.
4. What are your top 3 websites for creative inspiration?
www.pinterest.com – for the infinity of colours and connections
www.ted.com – for the richness of possibilities and stories
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ – for the reality of having a plan and going for it
5. What are your 3 tips to become more creative in Luxembourg?
1 – Be curious and receptive to what is around you. Wherever you go, look for something beautiful. It can be the beautiful different house facades, a relaxing walk in the various woods of Luxembourg, the beautiful gardens of your city or the white or grey clouds with their mysterious shapes. Listen to the sounds of life around you, from the passing cars of Luxembourg cities to the chipping of birds in the countryside. Be open. The unseen can be beautiful once we shed some light on it.
2 – Every day, decide to do something differently or look at something from a different angle. Familiar things or actions can become very different and unique once you look at them or do them differently. Who knows what you might discover!
3 – Observe kids. They have no barriers to creativity. Give them paper and pencils, pieces of wood, ribbons or anything and their mind will do the rest. Do the same for yourself.
Let’s allow ourselves to be inspired and create. Let’s not hold back until we have “time” or “space”. There’s never a “good” time or space to create. So let’s make the time and the space to create! The “lack of” is what springs creativity in its simplest form. Once we are more open to creativity, innovation will follow. There are increasing creative initiatives in Luxembourg where people can express their creativity. However, to allow growth, Luxembourg could gain from making entrepreneurship more accessible administratively and financially.
7. Anything you’d like to add?
Finding out who we are and living accordingly is a journey that brings out our genuine creativity. I’d like to share one of my favourite quotes from Dolly Parton: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
Diamany Ngandu Nabhan, interviewed by Miranda van den Heuvel, August 2015