I wanted to take some time to reflect on our last Sparkfly event on November 22, 2012. After having had the opportunity to ruminate on the goodness that arose from the special evening, I felt ready to put my feelings into words.
Cherish and I began the evening with an introduction of ourselves, our work and how we came to create Sparkfly and what it means to us. For us, this is a community of women who share their work, inspiration and process of their creative journeys. Each Sparkfly evening has a theme and the last event was centred around “Culture and Identity”.
Our first guest, Chantey Dayal, is a painter living in the Cowichan Valley. I have known Chantey since I moved to Vancouver about 9 years ago. I invited her to come and share her creative journey with us. She brought originals of her fabulous work with her and told us how her upbringing with East Indian and Armenian influences shaped the person she is today and inspires her work. Chantey’s paintings are colourful, beautiful and deep. She embodies her work and uses 5Rhythms dance to connect deeper with her art. Chantey also spoke about the validation of being an artist and the importantce of saying “I am a painter, and artist” without hesitation.
Chantey followed her talk with a short workshop where everyone was given the chance to draw, play and connect.
After a short break, Rachel Sawatzky from Cocoa Nymph talked about how she came about being a business owner and a chocolatier. There was so much magic for me in Rachel’s talk. She recounted how she had planned to be a doctor all along and never flirted with the idea of becoming a business owner. However, the most magical thing that Rachel recounted was that her aim in her business is not necessarily making chocolates and being creative, it is more about creating a healthy and supportive work environment. Her goal is to have her employees go home with the energy to do more and be creative in their own lives. The other thing she emphasized was that Cocoa Nymph’s aim is to also welcome customers in such a way that they will leave the store happier than when they came in.
Rachel also provided us with a tasting of a couple of her chocolate creations, one of them is named “Ila” after the mother of her ex boyfriend! I can close my eyes and still taste that bit of Ila heaven. Yum!
Our last guest was Mariella Bertelli, a storyteller and an all around beautiful woman. Mariella is the mother of our friend Paolo and I had seen her tell a story first at Paolo and Natasha’s wedding a few years ago. Mariella was born in Egypt and moved to Italy with her family and then on to Canada. She spoke of the difficulty of fitting in with the Canadian way of life after growing up in Italy. Her compelling story revealed her struggle and ‘identity crisis’ that was brought upon by the union of her Italian and Canadian lives. Mariella has kept strong ties with Italy and travels there at least once a year to collaborate with international storytellers and puppeteers.
Mariella did a short workshop with everyone and she finished off our beautiful evening with a moving story about her grandmother whose grave now says, “the resident of four continents”. The minute she uttered those words and as I write them now, I have goosebumps all over.