What’s your creativity tree?

creativity tree

I recently heard the term “creativity tree” while listening to a podcast and for the life of me I can’t remember which one, but they got me thinking about where my creativity comes from.

The roots of my creativity begins with both sides of my family.

Then it branches out to classes and teachers I’ve taken over the years, and stretches even further to society and other outside influences. Every member of my close family had a huge impact on my creativity during my childhood.

Both of my parents are creative in their own way.


My Dad is an auto body repairman, which requires attention to detail and problem solving, and he builds radio control airplanes. Those require just the same if not more detail work and craftsmanship. He enjoys building historically based World War I and II warbirds. From the pilots’ scarf to the decals, my dad makes sure every detail matches as closely as possible to the historical pictures he’s researched. His tenacity to complete a project with that level of detail amazes me, especially since the projects generally take years to construct from start to finish.

We built a bookcase together when I was in college.  The time we spent together cutting wood, sanding and staining gave me a greater appreciation for the amount of time and care he puts into every project. I still have the bookcase today – it sits just below the chalkboard in our kitchen and is full of books, magazines and a picture of my grandpa and I on my wedding day.

NC State Fair Winner
NC State Fair Winner

My Mom is a jack of all trades kinda gal. She gardens, sews, knits, crochets, bakes, cooks and anything else of interest to her. (Maybe that’s where I get it from.) She taught me to sew when I was maybe eight years old. We made a quilt together when I was in my early teens. And she taught me to knit when I was in college. Along the way I’ve learned how to bake standing side by side with her in the kitchen. And she’s always there for me if I have some project in mind and need some extra brainpower to figure out where to start.

We took a stained glass class together when I first moved back to the Raleigh area. Our first project was a butterfly, which my mom absolutely loves. We spent 4-6 weeks of our time selecting the glass, cutting it based on the pattern, learning how to solder. My finished piece hangs from the light at my work desk.


My Grandma Cawley (Dad’s Mom) taught me things made from scratch always taste better than store bought. Going to grandma’s house during the holidays brings many fond memories of time spent with my family. She was always busy making pie crusts, yeast rolls, and her Polish Kolaczki (we knew them as beles) filled with apricot chutney and nut spread. Yum! Grandma was an expert baker and continues to inspire me in the kitchen.


My Grandpa Cawley (Dad’s Dad) enjoyed making pieces of furniture with quality wood. He often made cabinets and foot stools in the basement of their house in Painesville, OH. My dad used a template of grandpa’s to make me a stool that I still have today. It’s not in the best shape but it’s a great reminder of my Grandpa who passed away in ’99.


My Grandpa Haught (Mom’s Dad) always worked on cars and trucks when I was growing up. His nostalgia for ol’ Ford trucks gave me a great appreciation for gems from the past. A few years ago my Mom and I took Grandpa to a festival in West Virginia where they had gems on display. It was nice to see him reminiscing with mom about all the cars they owned over the years.


My Grandma Ruby (Mom’s Mom) was not the greatest cook but she was a great tailor. She was always busy hemming jeans or replacing a zipper for someone in her small town. And back in the 80’s she would make different embossed appliques like bull dogs for my aunt and attach them to sweatshirts.

80’s pop music had a huge impact on my life and creativity. 


MTV launched when I was four years old. MJ, Janet and Madonna’s music made me want to get up and DANCE. I started taking dance classes when I was ten. My first dance performance was to Michael Jackson’s Bad (You know it!). And I was hooked on dance from then on. I went to college for dance. I taught classes as a substitute teacher for fellow teachers. I performed and choreographed for a non-profit dance company based in Durham for ten years. I haven’t taken a class or performed in over four years. I miss it! But I hope to get back into the studio very soon to take class and choreograph again.

This is not a comprehensive description of where my creativity comes from because I can name a handful more influential people like my high school home economics teacher Mrs. Drozda who taught me time management in the kitchen or my aunt Chrissy who could liven up just about any room with her laughter and outgoing personality. And if we look at what inspires me as of lately, it would be my wonderful husband who inspires me to be competitive and run more so I can drink more craft beer, fellow crafters, close friends and just about anything I see, hear or feel.

Creativity comes from all different angles.

Where does your creativity come from? Who’s influenced you over the years? And what have you learned?


One Reply to “What’s your creativity tree?”

  1. This is a wonderful post! It’s amazing to step back and reflect on all the influences that make us – us. I would trace similar creative roots to yours: from my parents and their varied interests, skills, and passions. I would also say that much of my creative spirit came from reading voraciously throughout my childhood and continuing into my adult life. I’ve always treasured the art of story-telling, whether from reading, listening, or developing my own. Exposing myself to the words of others only allows me to learn and grow in my understanding of the self and how to best connect with my audiences.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s