Things I Learned At Spark

Don’t you just love it when someone you know goes somewhere great or has this unbelievable experience and you get to hear all about the awesomeness and even though part of you is happy for that person another part of you is like, “I want something awesome to happen to me, too”.

When it’s a celebrity or the rich and famous  – I’m so far removed that I don’t feel so bad. But when it’s a friend or a colleague or another blogger or someone I’m connected to through my love of all things creative – I get jealous if the account of all the awesomeness makes me feel like I just missed the best thing since sliced bread.

Oh sisters, I’m not gonna lie to you – Spark 3 was sliced bread.

And if you weren’t at Spark then you missed an unbelievable experience and many, many creative sandwhiches made with said bread. You are my friend so I can’t help but share with you when something great happens to me BUT I want you to reward from it too. I want to share the Spark I was given. It’s how it was meant to be.

So instead of just giving you the low-down of what I experienced over the three days in Utah last month…I’m going to give you some things I learned there. I’ll probably refer back to people and things that I met and learned in many posts in the future….it’s just too much for me to share all at once. Although many of my fellow Spark Sisters have done it beautifully and you can find some great posts here.

So here’s the skinny…

If you want to meet amazing people, create amazing projects, listen to amazing music, get away to a beautiful location…then join me at Spark next year. Save your pennies in a jar next to your dresser and don’t let you husband dig for quarters in it so he can buy diet coke at the office. Come with me so we can talk about the experience together.

If you can’t attend next year or can’t wait until then to start the Spark – then read on, sister (or brother).

1. Buy music from Mindy Gledhill or Sarah Sample or both.

Me and Mindy Gledhill

Me and Sarah Sample

They were at Spark and performed. I truly believe that listening to a singer in a small venue for the first time is the absolutely BEST thing in the world….An organic experience where you can form a connection to the music and the performer – making the music all that much sweeter. I’m convinced that’s one of the reasons why I want to be either of these women when I grow up BUT I know that I would love their music even if I didn’t meet them or hear them play/sing up close. They are very talented and I’ve been humming and singing their tunes as I write ever since I came back home. I think you will like them, too and you should go check them out on itunes at the very least. Music inspires me in ways I cannot explain and I’m not gonna lie – I had an emotional response to several of these songs. When you gotta cry, you gotta cry and music has a way of bringing that out. But it brings out the joy, too and I’m just all the more creative (with writing AND art) when I listen to music that inspires me. I’m working hard to make sure that I can hear both of these ladies play again in person sometime in my future. (And singing in a band is on my life list – so maybe even someday one of these gals will let me take the stage for a song where I’m singing so far back-up that no one else but me could even tell!
2. Get a copy of the book, The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron.
This book was talked about by many people at Spark…even Mindy Gledhill herself. I got a copy when I got home at Half-price books for $7.99 and I heard that another Spark Sister got one on ebay for even less. (I love finding a good book that’s been around for awhile like this!) It’s a work book to help you unleash your creativity for artists (writers, painters, etc.) as well as those who just want to be more open and creative in general.
3. Take a class online.

Donna Downey

Many of the teachers at Spark offer their art classes online. In fact, Emily Falconbridge, who taught me wool felting at Spark, is teaching a wool felting class on RIGHT NOW. Donna Downey and Christy Tomlinson also offer classes online and I think Christy’s She Art class at Spark is on her website.
4. Buy yourself something that makes you feel pretty. There was a market at Spark where you could purchase hand-made items from local artists. I got a sequined headband for $15 and when I wear it I feel like a ballerina or a princess and I love it. There were tons of things I could have bought that I loved (and spent a lot of money) but sometimes it’s a little thing that makes the difference. Click here to find a list of all the vendors that were at Spark with links to their websites to see all the goodness and to get a prezzie for yourself!
5. Make your meal look pretty.

At dinner on Saturday night during Spark they had these cupcakes that looked like flowers and had icing about four inches deep and given my addiction to all things buttercream I was hooked. But guess what? I didn’t eat one! It was too pretty and so extremely decadent that I just couldn’t! But food presented in a beautiful way is art, too. And the feast at Spark was presented to us (those that attended) as if we were royalty. So next time you have a meal, put a little garnish on your plate, use your good china, buy a bouquet of flowers to put on the table. You don’t have to be at Spark to make your table shine!

6. Surround yourself with people that inspire you and lift you up.

Sometimes these people are close friends, other times they are strangers in a place (like – hello! an art class) that brings people together because of a shared interest. It’s hard to feel bad about yourself when someone else nearby says “YOU are AWESOME!” Try to be that person that lifts someone up, too. At Spark – whenever someone said something to me that felt good I tried to send it back out there to someone else. And that felt good, too.

Writing is a lonely endeavor and even though I’ve been doing this for years (freelance writing) every time I turn in an article or script or copy of some sort something inside me tells me  –

“you stink, jennifer. they aren’t going to like it. this will be your last writing job. they are going to find you out and tell everyone else that you stink, too. and that book that you want to write? nope. you won’t ever write it because you aren’t good enough.”

I don’t like that voice! But it’s always there somewhere.

Sometimes I finish something that I actually think is awesome and then my editor doesn’t use it or the client rips it to shreds. I get upset and hurt because when I write I put myself out there.

And the voice says – “see?! i told you so!”

But the reality is that sometimes my editor doesn’t have room to run a story or sometimes a client just had another vision (or maybe no vision?!) and yes – sometimes maybe I write something that isn’t the best thing since sliced bread. And I have to find a place where I’m ok with that.

Spark helped.

Thanks Margie.

Spark organizer...Margie Romney-Aslett







  1. 1
    Nancy Wyatt says:

    Sister! This post is AMAZING and you are AMAZING! Love that you went and even though we weren’t in the same group I know we had a connection there! I loved meeting new friends and it brings me joy that you went and that you came back with all of this! You totally got it! love it, love you Spark Sister! Can’t wait for next year!! xoxo

  2. 2
    Nicki Woo says:

    I’m so happy for you. Not jealous one bit. Sounds like you had a blast, and I’m so glad that you did. And your pictures crack me up. Boy, you are grinning from ear to ear in each one 🙂 And, can I just tell you that your Masthead is Soooooooooo CUTE! It is. It’s crazy perfect. Love it and love you. Keep livin’ the dream my friend:)

  3. 3
    LindaC says:

    I love your post! It brings out the feeling of Spark. Wish I’d met you earlier at the event but at least we met up on the shuttle and had some time to gush over our experiences at Spark together!

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