Creativationist, Facilitator, Coach and Writer
My "Kit of Life"
My background is diverse, by design as well as serendipity - each piece linked by my passion to connect with people from all walks of life, locally and around the globe. Whether
in my local community, or in far off lands, through work or play, I place great
emphasis on quality relationships, communication and sharing.
I approach everything in life from a
“big picture” perspective, with vision in my head and an eye on things that
can’t quite be seen yet. Exploring all things creative and innovative, and working
with discipline to bring those visions to reality, and share them, is what I
An Overview ...
Professionally, I have worked for small businesses, large corporates and the government sector, but in the main I have worked for organisations in the not-for-profit and non-governmental sectors - both in New Zealand and overseas. I have worked in the disability and humanitarian sectors, health and wellbeing, professional practice, industry, consultancies, the arts, sports, with kids and youth ... and beyond ...
I am a Zenergy trained facilitator www.zenergyglobal.com
Past experience includes facilitation, project management, organisational development, conference and event organisation, PR, communications, team leadership, relationship management, planning and budgetting, publishing, editing, proofreading, governance, creative endeavours, sponsorship, programmes for children, voluntary work and more. These roles have taken me far and wide, and introduced me to many amazing organisations and individuals. I have most definitely not followed one career path, or indeed a conventional one, but have melded several together to acquire an eclectic armory of skills, knowledge and experience.
Over the years, I have served on committees and boards, representing a number of organisations at various levels, always on a voluntary basis. Enriching and rewarding experiences in ways far beyond money, and often not without challenge!
I am currently Co-President of the Epsom Girls Grammar School Old Girls Association - it is the school's Centenary celebrations in April 2017 and preparations are well under way for this. I am also on the Committee of the New Zealand Racehorse Owners Federation.
My most beloved career role was working for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Europe Region, in London during the 1980s, where I was involved in ground breaking work in the field of sexual and reproductive health throughout Europe, and particularly in the former Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe. It was a unique role, in an international setting, and the work was enlightening, challenging, purposeful, rewarding and cutting edge. And sometimes harrowing. Unforgettable times. I became a member of NZ Family Planning when I returned to NZ and have a long association with this vital and professional organisation, including recognition as a "Family Planning Pioneer".
Younger Days ...
I was born in Dunedin but lived most of my youth in Auckland. A studious and conscientious pupil, yet at the same time a little zany, I quietly, and rather invisibly, observed and absorbed the world around me in every direction. I had one mission, from quite early on - I wanted to go to the "University of Life". Despite gaining university entrance qualifications just after turning 16, going to university was never part of my life equation, it just did not appeal. Besides, I really wasn't sure what I wanted "to be" at such a young age. But I did know that I didn't want to spend several years on one pathway, only to find out that I didn't really want to be whatever it was I had been hoping to be, yet feeling obliged to be it because of that investment. I just didn't feel the need to have a document affirming my capability in any one direction. Medicine was an option, with my father being a doctor, and medicine in the family. But I simply didn't want to be a doctor. Actually, I didn't want to "be" anything specific. Not then, not now. Variety and diversity is what fits well in my world. It's what I live today. Each week holds something different. No groundhog day allowed!
To be honest, I wasn't really that enamoured with formal
learning, even though I obligingly studied hard at school, did all my homework and passed all my exams without problem. It's just that I preferred to find my own way, create my own challenges and
make my own discoveries. I still do, which is why the field of creativity suits me so well. I prefer to create something that hasn't been thought of yet, didn't exist in any form until I brought it to life.
I like to dream up the unknown, as much as I love to learn about the known!
I wanted to go overseas. I wanted to go to London and Europe, having had a taste of the world at the age of 15 on a two-month school trip, which was quite ground-breaking at that time back in the 1970s. I did a one-year business course and, with practical skills, work experience and more enthusiasm and anticipation than I thought possible, I headed overseas just after turning 19, with my parents' blessing. I was ready to explore opportunities and challenge myself in any way I could, and set about it with gusto. I spent the decade of the 1980s living and working in London and Europe, loving every moment and making many great friends along the way.
Working Motherhood ...
I returned to New Zealand in 1991, and I now have two sons, born 1993 and 1996, with my longterm partner (a solicitor www.denhambramwell.co.nz ). We live in an eclectic indoor/outdoor home set amongst the trees in Remuera, Auckland. I will say, I am very glad I was able to be all that I wanted to be, and do all that I wanted to do, with a huge variety of unique experiences under my belt, before children brought a new and fabulous dimension into my life. I was the first of my friends to have a baby, and my son Sam was the very first baby I had ever held in my arms. A new experience indeed. It's almost incomprehensible that my sons are now both young adults, setting about finding their own places in this world. One is now flatting (along the road from home!), the other is now at Otago University (the other end of the country!) I am officially an "empty-nester" - for the time being - and the next stage of life has alighted upon us quite gently.
As a working mother since my sons were born, I have experienced every type of approach to work possible (full-time, part-time, work from home, job-share etc). Throughout, I have been able to continue my voyage of personal and professional endeavour and learning, whilst discovering the joys of parenthood. However, the limitations that exist in the working world, a resistance to sitting in my car for hours on end commuting, a sense of malaise with office politics, frustration at being part of a ratrace and beholden to others, combined with a passion to fully explore my creative side, led me to leap outside my comfort zone and establish my own business ...
May 2006 was when I decided to combine my passions, consolidate my skills, and package my unique offering, in my own empowered way, and Beyond was born ... no limits! Since then, I believe I have a wonderful balance in terms of career, parenthood, passions and liberty. I continue to give a lot of my time and my work in a voluntary capacity, it is in my blood.
I can truly say I have balance in my life, and the voyage in creating that has been somewhat remarkable. There have been challenges, and doing what I do requires commitment, discipline, a broad skill base and the ability to juggle many balls at once. But that's the way I like it. Doing everything myself, and alone, can be isolating and overwhelming. But with motivation and an eye on the big picture, it can be done.
Creating all sorts ...
I am a largely self-taught artist and can be found in my home studio overlooking the garden, fully immersed in creative endeavours of all descriptions. It's a small studio, and on a calm sunny day, my materials and I will often spill out onto the deck, so I can work al fresco. Many of the hours I spend in my studio are not income generating - to be so, I have to then sell it! My masks sell readily and regularly, and I participate in various art exhibitions throughout the year, but I also donate pieces to charity auctions, or create simply for the pleasure of it. Fortunately, such pleasure of creation is more important to me than dollars - although the dollars are of course necessary!
Anyway, all those hours of unpaid dedicated creative endeavours are worth
it when someone admires your work, emulates it and especially when they
purchase it. Receiving an award or commendation of note is also hugely
satisfying (especially when it comes with prize money!) and I've been lucky to experience these feelings rather a lot over the past 15
years, since I really began to explore my creative side in a formal
way. My WOW Wearable Arts success on the international stage in
Wellington has been a special highlight. You can find out more about
this on my www.masquerade.co.nz website.
It is also a real buzz to be able to
share my knowledge, skills and sacred creative space with those keen to
push themselves and find their creative sweet spot. Hence my offering
of specialist creative workshops, in any realm, tailored to suit your
always concocting new innovative design ideas, and have several on the
go at any one time.
I dream up ideas in the deep of night and get experimenting with new
concepts, designs and techniques by day. Whether it's for an artwork, a
mask, a wearable arts garment, a story, a viewpoint, a revelation, or
something much more bizarre and obscure, I will not rest until it has
taken substantial shape - through written words, paints, fabrics,
drawings, or just sheer enthusiasm of sharing vocally ...
Watever I'm doing and wherever I'm doing it, I am always at work with Creativation
If I'm not in my studio, I am in my office, working away on my computer, doing the necessary admin work involved in running a small one-person business (more extensive and expensive than you might imagine!) However, my creative endeavours are not confined to visual arts pursuits.
Transcription: Between compliance, creative deadlines, client appointments, workshops and family commitments - and often late at night - I do freelance transcript/writing work, to tight turnaround deadlines, for agencies and clients based in the UK and Singapore. Doing this Transcription work takes me into a whole host of industries (academia, politics, business, finance, HR, research, marketing, medical, film and television, property, global issues, sports, environmental issues) ... and this relieves my mind from constantly being on fire with devising and extrapolating out my own ideas. For a while, it settles my creativity, puts it on the back burner - and I need that every now and then! Check my Transcription page for more information on this area of work - I can assist!
Travel Writing: I am a freelance travel writer for Destinations magazine www.destinationsmagazine.com ... I have always travelled, I have always written and I have always written about my travels but, until now, these travel rambles have only been read by friends and family. Now I am officially a "travel writer" (dream come true!) I am looking forward to recounting and sharing future travel experiences with a wider audience. I've had several feature article published in the magazine to date, with more to come.
Do also check my travel blog www.sabtriptix.blogspot.com
Editing: I undertake editing and proofreading work and am currently Editor of the Omaha Beach Community Newsletter, soliciting, writing and editing articles. My family was one of the first to build a holiday home at this pristine beach resort, back in 1974, and we still have the house, oozing nostalgia with its original wallpaper and '70s vibe. I have a long and happy association with Omaha, have made many lifelong friends and get up there whenever I can. The area has changed markedly over the years, and Omaha is now a thriving community with a substantial permanent population. The beach really is one of the very best in the world, with its shifting sands, protected shorebirds, exquisite light and its own micro-climate. And there plenty of vineyards in the vicinity! A solitary beach walk is one of the best ways to dream up new ideas. www.omahabeach.co.nz
I am also involved with the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Federation. As a long time and very passionate horse racing follower and race horse owner, my arm didn't need to be twisted too far to go on the Committee! I am also assisting with keeping the Federation's website up to date with relevant content and have no doubt I will meet some very interesting people along the way. www.racehorseowner.co.nz
Fiction and Fact: When time and mood combine, I progress my own personal writing endeavours ... not often enough, I must lament! I enjoy writing short stories, and
am currently writing two novels (one for children, one for teens). I am
also writing a concept book about being creative in the kitchen, enhancing your kitchen culture, concocting up a storm. This latter book is nearing completion and - hopefully - publication. And another idea brewed recently which is a social commentary from a unique perspective. In progress!
Crosswords: I have always loved solving cryptic crosswords and recently I decided to become a "Cruciverbalist" - a crossword compiler (cruci = cross and verb = word in Latin!) I have created several crosswords, gleaning hints and tips from a real compiler who kindly offered to critique my first attempt, and share some of his secrets with me. I have learnt a lot about the compilation process, including the realisation that it is much trickier than solving! There are many layers to the process and it is an exacting art with its own unique elements. Creating my first cryptic crossword was indeed a most enlightening experience. As and when I have a spare slot of time, and my brain is ready to engage at a cryptic level, then I will work on my next puzzle, which I offer to friends who also have a love of cryptics. One thing is for sure, compiling helps when it comes to solving the ones created by others. I hope to get some of my crosswords published at some future point, when I have polished my technique a little more.
Letters: Prior to the advent of email I was an
avid letter writer across the miles. In fact, my late mother - bless her - kept every letter I ever wrote home during the almost ten years I lived overseas. No email, Facebook, Skype or internet in those days! Calling home was expensive, so it was fortunate that my family and I were rather prolific letter writers as we got to stay in touch regularly and keep up with what was what on each side of the world. I only wish I had had the foresight to keep all the ones they wrote to me - but my tea chests home were already overloaded! I visited NZ regularly to see family, and when I left the UK, it was a real wrench to leave behind a great job and fabulous friends. We reconnect in person whenever and wherever we can. Otherwise it's phone calls, Skype and emails, no more old-fashioned letters required. Which is somewhat of a shame.
Sometimes I would write four letters home a week. There are travel sagas amongst them. There are aerogrammes, typed letters, letters written in pen, pencil, coloured inks. Letters written from my basement flat, my workplace, a Mediterranean beach, an obscure European village. The handwriting changes regularly. As did my busy life! I have just recently opened the briefcase containing them all, enabling me to relive those years in great detail. Everything is there, in black and white. Or blue and red as it may be. It's like being gifted my 20s all over again!
This is another facet of my work. I enjoy working with small teams, helping them get clear on Vision, Values, Purpose and Strategy to move forward in a positive, progressive, successful way. My workshops always includes an element of Creativation. Check my Services page.
I am always happy to facilitate Creative workshops, Wearable Arts Workshops, Mask-making Workshops -tailor made to suit.
So, on any given day, I may be doing any given thing mentioned above - starting a painting, finishing a mask, polishing a story, consulting with a client, designing a WOW garment, running a workshop, completing a transcription deadline, finalising an invoice, collaborating with an artistic friend, working on my writing projects, doing accounts, updating my website, dreaming up a crazy idea ... but I can always find time for a shared coffee or to slip out to top up supplies. I have to make time every now and then to straighten out my office and tidy up my studio, both of which can become terribly chaotic, especially when there a lots of deadlines looming.
I start the day with sudoku, a cryptic crossword and a study of the horseracing form. This gets my mind into gear. Working from home means a quick load of washing can be underway while something is downloading, or the vacuuming undertaken while paint on a new artwork is drying. On Thursday afternoons for the past several years, my mission has been to accompany my mother-in-law (in her 90s) to Happy Hour at the retirement village, a rather enlightening experience. She is now 96 and in rest home care and I have to say, those "Thursdays with Muriel" were very special indeed and gave me great insight into aging.
As you will have gleaned by now - the philosophy behind Beyond is broad in its scope. No limits.
Do check my separate website which showcases my personal creative work more extensively. My work is for sale at realistic prices, and I am happy to take commissions. www.masquerade.co.nz
NB: Whilst I have accounts with Facebook and Twitter, I am not highly active. I find direct personal contact much more valuable, and I have a large network of people who I collaborate with, share with, learn from and liaise with.
And when I'm not at work ...
Apart from family, work, friends and
Creativation, my passions are ... horseracing; quiz nights; skiing; writing; cooking; wine, food & conversation (preferably all at
once!); travel; crosswords & sudoku; music; golf; connecting with friends ... and, yes, even
rugby and cricket!
The males in my world are true kiwis - mad about rugby and passionate about cricket, right into surfing, and handy on a golf course. Although I have played golf since I was a teenager, I gave it up some years ago, more content to spend those hours on creative pursuits, although I do get out with the clubs a few times a year. My true sporting passion is horseracing and Auckland's magnificent Ellerslie Racecourse is a five minute drive from home. Perfect.
I've become a real quiz night afficianado over recent years. It gives me opportunity to dredge up answers to obscure questions, information somehow retained from days gone by, or acquired through absorption of current events in the past few days. Most importantly, it enables me life-long learning. There is never an end point to what we can learn and an obscure challenging question to test the brain is pure delight. Retention of what is learnt is the trick, especially as one ages. With more and more info coming at us on a daily basis from many sources, it's easy to glean information, harder to retain it. Quiz nights help on many levels. The mantra "read the question, then read the question again" is invaluable, as is an alphabet prompt. Long live quiz nights! Give it a go!
Being a true night owl, I generally work late into the night. My creativation is at its best at this time, especially on long summer evenings. I do admit to an aversion to mornings, particularly cold winter ones, but if the sun is shining and there is a deadline to meet, then I can cope. If there is skiing to be done, a client to work with or an achievement to be made, then morning is beautiful !
Beyond enables me to work whenever I need or wish to, in a hugely diverse way, without limitation, which in turn enables me to deliver a specialised service that works for me and works for you.
Are you wishing to go Beyond your expectations?
If so, I'm ready to share my "kit of life" with you and take you there ...