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September 26, 2016 —

Stay Inspired

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We’re firmly in the ‘back to school’ mindset here at 91 HQ – heads down and hard at work on our second issue, due out in November. As exciting as that is, the sheer volume of work (sometimes involving spreadsheets – argh!) can seriously dent our creative mojo…

So, we took a break from the desk and asked some of our favourite creatives what helps to keep them inspired, creative and motivated through the long to-do lists and late nights.

From hiking and Ella Fitzgerald to You Tube and cactus embroidered underwear – their answers are varied, eclectic, and pretty inspirational…


Kate Saunders, Blogger and Podcaster, A Playful Day

Photo: Kate Saunders

Photo: Kate Saunders

I live in one of the most mesmerising landscapes in the country- the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. Whenever I can, I grab my camera and escape the cottage where I live and see where my feet take me. Sometimes I stay close to home, skirting around the fields and taking in the sheep, the harvest and the meadow of wild flowers. Sometimes I walk down to the bay and watch the waves roll in against the stones. Other times, I’ll hike up across the cliffs. While reading, absorbing and learning from other Creatives has always been really helpful, without this total absence of any influence or digital stimulation, I find it hard to process all my ideas and dreams. Where I live gives me the cohesion I need to ground all those thoughts and potential projects. When I return home, I’m almost always ready to create!


Hayley Maker, co-owner of No Guts, No Glory, Exeter

Photo: Nathan and Hayley Maker

Photo: Nathan and Hayley Maker

            I’m inspired by so many things including…

Morning light falling on a new leaf that’s slowly unfurling. The scent of seasonal change, walks by the sea (especially if they involve rock pools.) Other peoples homes and collections. Imagining life through my daughter’s eyes, kaleidoscopes and sunbeams. Shutting things off and getting back to myself. Books and beautiful magazines that somehow magically synchronise with the day to day. Discovering a new illustrator. Flowers, and plants – in their curious forms. The coolness of clay. Inspiring talks and creative hubs, introducing something new to a friend that you know they will love… and… cactus embroidered underwear! 


Sally Coulthard, Designer and Author



When I first left university I worked in television for a few years.  It was great fun, often glamorous and decadent, but also really draining.  I never felt in control of my working day and I soon realised that, if I was going to be happy,  I needed to be in charge of my day and where my career was heading.  So, I quit TV and became an author.  It’s been nearly 20 years now.  Writing is a great way to earn a living – it’s endlessly creative, no two days are the same, and I’m always meeting new people and learning new things. The downside is that it can be a bit ‘feast and famine’ – one minute it’s all quiet, the next there’s too much to do – it’s almost impossible to predict what the months ahead hold, so you have to be pretty flexible.  In those few moments when the craziness of it gets too much I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have so much freedom in what I do, and how brilliant it is that I can still work, live in the countryside and enjoy family life. That’s my motivation.


Nicole Dodds, Baker, Afternoon Crumbs

Photo: Nicole Dodds

Photo: Nicole Dodds

Whether I’m decorating a never-ending number of biscuits, spending weeks making sugar flowers or layering a lot of cakes, I always need a little musical support. Turning up my favourite playlists (my Spotify ones are all named after sweet treats!) usually does the trick – I love listening to new tracks but a little bit of Ella Fitzgerald never fails to keep me calm and get me through. Sometimes, however, just remembering how great it is to see the expression on the recipient’s face is motivation enough.


Jen Carrington, Content Coach and Creative Mentor

Photo: Sara Tasker

Photo: Sara Tasker

For me, I always feel the most motivated when I remember why I’m doing this and why I’m working so damn hard in my business. Staying focused on the life I’m building and why I believe in the work I do with my clients and how great it is to see them thrive throughout our time together, that keeps me going even when things may get a little overwhelming or tiring along the way. Oh, and if I really need to kick start inspiration, switching off for an afternoon and getting outside and living my life a little always does the trick!


Emma Block, Illustrator

Photo: Emma Block

Photo: Emma Block

I find that variety is what keeps work exciting. As well as working as a freelance illustrator I also teach watercolour and brush lettering and I do live illustration. I also run an Etsy shop. Doing something different every day keeps me inspired and interested.

Hazel Gibbens, Editor-in-Chief, Bedboat Magazine

Photo: Sara Giannitelli

Photo: Sara Giannitelli

The thing that keeps me inspired and motivated is being around people. Long chats with best friends about our futures, positive conversations with strangers about shared hobbies, and even watching YouTube blogs of creatives who I respect and who inspire me. People keep me going, and give me the reassurance that when I’m lost, drowning in deadlines, or feeling in a rut, that I’m not alone, and that I’m going to make it out the other side. 

Katherine Dorrington, Blogger, Foraged and Collected

Photo: Katherine Dorrington

Photo: Katherine Dorrington

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. How it ebbs and flows at different points in our year and what to do when we are feeling creatively stagnant. We’re just coming out of winter in Australia and the winter weather and reduced light has really affected my creativity. It’s hard to stay inspired when you are working and it’s dark by the time you get home. All I feel like is crawling into my pyjamas and watching Netflix. There have been points in the last few months where I’ve really challenged myself to overcome that feeling. The quickest way for me to find inspiration is to turn to the natural world; to get outside and photograph flowers, leaves, raindrops on bare branches, grasses in the wind. The act of picking up the camera and just shooting something works as an instant boost for me and reminds me how much I love to find beauty in simple things. 



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