She inspires me on so many level and in her recent TEDxAthens talk, Mary explores the dichotomy between thinking and doing and what this means in the creative industry. Here are some excepts which hit the chord with me. I hope her talk inspires you as much as she inspired me.

Theme: ‘The Ones Who Do’

“What is the opposite of doing, it is people who think. And I think the world is divided to people who think, and people who do.”

“..there was a time when something shifted. I want to see if I was good enough to be creative and that’s something I want to pursue.”

“You’ll never know you’re good enough, Mary, if you don’t go out and try. And you’ll never know the distance you need to travel to find your glass ceiling, even break that ceiling if you never give a 100%.

“I then on set benchmarks from that point on and gather affirmation that I needed or stamp of approval that would allow me to take my work to the next level – and the next level.”

“I was like a lot of people, I did a lot of thinking but not a lot of trying, and a lot of thinking but not enough doing and I decided to make a change..”

“I applied to Rhode (Island School of Design) because of the notion that it is difficult to get it to do design. So it was a little bit about myself and to prove to myself that I am of that caliber.”

“I was ready to be a doer, I was not in the frozen state, abstract perfectionist and I wanted to try myself (by apply to Central St. Martins). I felt I had a lot to prove.”

“I hit the brick wall – I didn’t have the technical ability to materialize all the ideas I had in my mind and I had to self-teach myself – it was all about screen-printing and digital printing was such a taboo.”

“In my mind, I was challenging myself to define me as a designer..(on decided her final project would be a fashion collection for her BA as she was familiar with interior design)”

“For the first time, I allow myself to dream that I could get it (to Central St Martins) and I decided to go there because it would be a challenge that I need to prove myself that I pursued fashion, I could do it in such a competitive industry.

“She such a harsh critique so I felt she can really channel my creativity and she can really filter through and I can know for the first time if I’m good enough.

“I devour every fashion magazine I can find in front of me because it was important for me to catch up to two centuries of fashion I knew nothing about because here I was being with people who knew they wanted to be a designer since the age of 10 who has fashion degree under their belt. That information allowed me to train my eye, to have a bit more strength in my conviction and it allowed me to morph my aesthetic as well because I feel an aesthetic is an elusive term and it does get more from the environment you’re in.

“I had all this training being brought up in Greece and my analytical thinking and I could look up my work and imagine what that could do. But I never had that educational system before, that gives you no real guide, but also no real barrier, so you can be as creative as that.

“I felt another shift, I had become prolific – and it had nothing to do with having anymore that train of thought that I needed a perfectly executed plan because that will never be applicable in design. I was churning out all these work and wanted to show my tutors to see if they felt there’s a spark that could be remarkable. And I saw myself for the first time questioning, “Why not me? I am here”, doing all this and putting myself against the closest place into being in the industry. “Why not me? Why can’t I start my own business? Why can’t I become a fashion designer?”.

“I became obsess, which became my third benchmark which was getting into the MA show.”

“Mary, this is the worst time to open your own business – the recession, it is really dangerous to do that. But I knew I didn’t have the flexibility to think about it anymore and that was the time I had to go into it really naively and I did. And then reality kinda hit, I was really getting into this – and I became everything, my own accountant, sales manager, production manager. I was working 20 hours and I still do. When system failure is down – my hard-drive was a 100% Greek. My thinking, the way I was morphed was 100% Greek.”

“You need to do, and after you do, you allow the thought process to help you evolve as a designer and I think it’s really beautiful about that, that I opened myself to the unexpected. And there’s something beautiful of putting your work out there in the world because it creates a dialogue. You can be morphed by the perception others have of you. And what’s even more beautiful, people want to join you in that journey, people want to help you do.”

“I find it is okay to be insecure, it’s okay to be fearful because you’re using that as a drive to create something new and you need to have that fear in order to push yourself and the boundary of fashion and remain relevant.”

“Of course she doesn’t believe in herself. She’s a creative and being a creative – and being a creative means to be able to be inquisitive, and doubt yourself and doubt everything around you, because what you’re creating is going to shape function, aesthetic, and you need to be doubtful of that because it’s not safe.”

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is given to the who is less talented as a consolation prize.”

“Just do.”

Artisan, Artist We Love, Collaboration

Pioneering Malaysian artist Sivam Selvaratnam, Nelissa Hilman collaborate on shoes

“The power of color stimulates aesthetic responses by establishing spaces and tension, gives rise to illusion of movement and evokes moods and emotions.”

We had the opportunity to attend the opening of ‘Rapt in Maya’ art exhibition by Malaysian veteran artist Sivam Selvaratnam on August 24th 2012 which was launched by the former University Malaya vice-chancellor Royal Professor Ungku Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid. The one-month art exhibition showcased an eclectic breadth of artworks by Sivam Selvaratnam since 1960 to mark her 50th wedding anniversary as well as to reflect her remarkable achievements as an artist spanning half a decade.

I was very fortunate to collaborate closely with such amazing artist like Mrs Selvaratnam on creating wearable piece inspired by her drawings.

In Mrs. Selvaratnam home studio, filled with hundreds of vivid abstracts both large and small, depict immense and impersonal forms in a riot of colors.

Chromatic Abstraction, Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

Sivam Selvaratnam peep toe wedge inspired by her canvas painting

Through innovative use of color, the numerous studies and drawings which Sivam sketched between 1965–1969 contributed significantly to her chromatic paintings in later years. Her vibrant use of colors, form and lines were in part influenced by Kandinsky, Matisse and Pollock.

Textile, 1969

Heels inspired by her textile design

Sivam is a very loving person and has inspired me to pick up my paint brush again and start creating.

About Sivam Selvaratnam

Sivam is a pioneer of the Wednesday Art Group founded in 1952. She studied textile design with fine art based at the Manchester College of Art and Design and obtained her Masters in Art and Design Education at the University of London. Throughout her career, Sivam has been associated with art education. In 1979, she was appointed the Head of the Art Elective Programme at the National Junior College, Singapore. Her early works were based on nature studies – sources of inspiration for her initial textile designs. Sivam’s later body of artworks was inspired by raga and centered around sound and movement in color and composition. She has continued to paint abstract forms in mixed media and energized yantra – divine geometric elements juxtaposed with music.

For more information, follow Sivam Selvaratnam on her website.

Artist We Love, Inspiration

Artist Series: Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay was an artist who, with her husband Robert Delauney cofounded the Orphism art movement which focused more on rhythm, lyricism, color and light.

The name Orphism comes from the legendary ancient Greek poet and musician Orpheus. Its use by Apollinaire (an art critic) relates to the idea that painting should be like music, which was an important element in the development of abstract art.

Delaunay was known for her use of geometric abstraction, modernist pattern design, and crazy lyrical colour combinations. Her work patches of subtle and beautiful colours are brought together to create harmonious compositions.

I find her work to be energizing and passionate, earthy and joyous.

Here are some I find inspiring.