Category: Jamie’s Creative Life

From Receiving Inspiration to Sending with Love

By now you’ve probably heard the story of how inspiration woke me up in the wee hours last January and wouldn’t let me go until I had poured the Studio Yearbook out of my heart. I didn’t know what I was creating. I just wrote and wrote and wrote for hours. After I had messily put every idea onto paper, I thought to myself, “I think maybe this is a thing.” I mean, how could it not be if it woke me up in the wee hours to be created? For the past year, I’ve been following that inspiration to fruition. I’ve followed it all the way here…

 Box of Yearbooks
photo by Suzie Ridler

Yes, The Studio Yearbook is now officially “a thing”, a magical wonderful thing.  This guided journal pulls together practices and principles from Jamie Ridler Studios in one creative place. It is a clean, open and inviting space just waiting for the magic of the creative who steps into it. It is a guide, a companion and a daily reminder of the artist within. It is inspiration come to life.

After a full year of use and testing, by myself and an amazing teams of creatives, it is awesome to not only see the yearbook in print but also to be sending it out into the world. We created 100 print copies that sold out in 36 hours. We also created a PDF so people could get immediate access (and no shipping fees!) and dozens of people printed them on the first day, like Lorraine in London.

Lorraine in London Yearbook
photo by Lorraine

Here in the studio, we worked to get the print copies ready to go out into the wide, wonderful world! It took a dedicated week to pack them up with care.

It’s important to me that each step of the way, we infuse studio creations creativity, magic and love. My sisters, Suzie and Shannon, helped me do just that with the Spring Studio Yearbook.

Handmade Envelopes

I knew I wanted to tuck a few treasures into the print copies of the Spring Yearbook, which we affectionately call The First 100. Shannon made a collection of beautiful one-of-a-kind envelopes, which we then added some treasures to.

Shannon and Ephemera

We had an amazing night, listening to music and packing up each envelope with intention. We let our intuition choose a treat selection that felt just right somehow. We trusted absolutely that the right envelopes would find their way to the right creative hearts. (And according to Bryonna, the magic worked: “They might have been random in the envelope, but the Universe directed that envelope to me!”)

Our Packing Table Set-up

The next day we had a packing party! We lit the twinkie lights and played some music. We set up all our supplies with care and one by one we put the packages together with love.

Suzie was in charge of washi tape and she tuned into her intuition for every choice she made. She and I would read the name of the person who was getting the yearbook and then Suzie would reach out for the washi that felt just right. Next I would package the yearbook in an envelope, imagining the beautiful artist that this book would be a companion to this spring. I imagined her receiving it with delight and filling it with her own unique creative spirit.

Shannon and First 100

Then Shannon would finish it off with a commemorative First 100 sticker and it was ready to put in the mail. Even getting these beauties posted had magic! Though it took me three trips with a granny cart and lots of patience from post office patrons, the two clerks were kind, supportive and really helped get these yearbooks out with efficiency and care. I’m so grateful to them both.

Journal & Washi Tape
photo by Suzie Ridler

Making a project like this come to life is thrilling – and a lot of hard work.  I am beyond grateful to everyone who has been a part of bringing it to life – my sisters Suzie and Shannon, my husband Justin, my marketing maven Kim, the alpha team, the beta team and the cheerleaders, plus the whole team at the printers and the staff at the post office.

Every moment of care and kindness, every word of encouragement, every act of support, all of it bolsters the magic of a creation.

The Studio Yearbook is richer, stronger and more vibrant because of everyone who has touched it. Now, it is out in the world, ready to be filled with the magic of the creative heart it will pair with.

If you’re ready, the Studio Yearbook is ready for you.

Interested in getting a yearbook of your own? Find out more here.

Saying Goodbye to a Poet, an Artist, a Canadian Son

“That Night in Toronto”

It’s hard to say what Gord Downie meant to so many in this country. It’s even harder to say what he means to me. Since news of his cancer and The Tragically Hip’s final concert last summer, I felt so moved and I expected to be called out.

“Did you have every album?”

“Do you know every word?”

No, but there are words etched in my heart, lyrics that make me cry – every time. There are songs that are a part of the fabric of my life and the life of a generation of Canadians.  And there is the way that somehow, with a magical force of presence and art,  this man, his work and his passing have brought us together.

I recently read Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone in which she exhorts us to “Hold hands. With strangers,” to join in moments of collective gathering.

“All of these examples of collective joy and pain are sacred experiences.” Brené Brown

In that spirit, Justin and I went to Nathan Philips Square last night and sang our hearts out along with a crowd galvanized by Choir! Choir! Choir! I cried my way through Bobcaygeon and belted out Courage. I was pulled into The Stranger and let loose in New Orleans is Sinking.  I did it alongside others wholeheartedly doing the same, each with their own soft spots and memories, each with their own Gord.  Every moment deepened my belief in the power and impact of sharing and art and the worthiness of making this your path.

The arts bring us together.

The arts send us home.

Sing Along… (Lyrics available here thanks to Choir! Choir! Choir!)

We get to feel small…But not out of place at all

It was in Bobcaygeon
I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at time

Don’t tell me what the poets are doing… Don’t tell me that they’re talking tough.

It’s sad but true… I’m kinda dumb and so are you.

Sundown in the Paris of the prairies

Courage… it couldn’t come at a worse time.

Her son has gone alee… And that’s where he will stay

I’m moving fast.. On the path nobody knows

Learn more & Contribute – Downie/Wenjack Fund

I come from downtown… Born ready for you… Armed with will and determination… And grace, too.

No dress rehearsal … This is our life…

Picking out the highlights of the scenery… Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

The event was livestreamed to Facebook. For a time you should be able to find the recording here.

Found Poem #2: The Remnant

The remnant,
The faces,
The griefs,
The terrors,
The ruin

Letters to each and all

The deepest wisdom
Of all the earth

The city throbbed
Day and night
The narrow ways
Were crowded
The wide road
Yet dark

A strange cry rang out
And the point was a rich sword

Found Poem #1: The Raven

To lie in bed,
Gnawing with wrath at weakness,
She ravened up
And wandered in the wilds.

Bold and insolent,
Able to bear shame and anguish no longer
and stubborn

Forced to fly
White with great age
And the calmness of deep learning

While I am tucked away in the studio building The Academy for the fall, I am taking little breaks to nourish and express my creative spirit.  I have a love of poetry and have been delighting in creating little found poems from an old book.

August Flowers

With the seasonal approach of the studio, one of my plans has always been to take time off between seasons. So far I have often found myself right into the next, plotting and planning, designing and creating behind the scenes. This month, however, it looks like there will be time for me to meander the boardwalk, journal in coffee shops and catch up on my sleep. In anticipation, I find myself walking slowly through my neighbourhood, enjoying the beauty this time of year holds.

Morning Glories


Star of Billion

Star Burst