the stories we tell

Years ago I joined Toastmasters, an organization to help you to get comfortable with public speaking. I remember exactly how I felt every Tuesday morning. It was like I was going bungie-jumping. I was so anxious and excited as I made my way to that group for an hour before work each week.

In the beginning, although I wanted to, I thought that there was no way that I could do public speaking. I will admit too, that I made fun (in my mind/ and likely to friends) of all the people that sounded so robotic, using their "Toastie" methods. They'd been toasted I told myself.

I couldn't see my way (yet).

Three things about all that, that I know now...

One: I know now that I couldn't imagine myself talking out loud to others because the voices in my head were so negative that even I didn't want to hear them anymore, so why would anyone else?  I was forced to jump quickly to my first task, as Pink says, "change the voices in your head...

Two: The people that sounded robotic, were learning and practicing and you typically do not look comfortable while you are learning and practicing, (and that's ok.) I vowed after that to honour anyone who I ever saw as trying to learn anything. It is admirable, especially those that throw themselves out there while they figure their way through it. Those people sharing their process, that really  teaches others what courage looks like. 

Three: It's a well known thing, it even has a name (!), glossophobia, the fear of public speaking. I was there, truly petrified, until someone at Toastmasters suggested to me that public speaking was just storytelling.

Storytelling? I could do that!

So, I started telling stories.

What does this have to do with my tile business you may ask....?


My tiles are visual stories. Visual stories made from porcelain mosaics. 

When I first applied for the Interior Design Show back in June last year, I had made 2 tropical leaf tiles. Then I went to California, and apprenticed with the incredible Betsy Schulz for two weeks. Betsy creates incredible mosaics of, (and only of) local flora and fauna of Southern California. She takes it a step farther though, to personally viewing her ceramic murals as a teaching tool for children and for adults. That was it!  When I came home, I started searching for local inspiration. The Milkweeds were inspired by the patch down the road that a neighbour had corded off. The monarchs were inspired by the many that I saw flying south as I kayaked up Lake Simcoe throughout the summer, the beech leaves from the forests where I hiked with the dog, the peonies from my garden, the family of 9 swans stop over across from my parent's house until Lake Simcoe freezes every winter (tagged male swan #907)!!  You get the picture.

I realized that the magic was in the everyday and to just start watching for it.

I encourage you today, to search for the speck of magic in the everyday and promise me that when you see it, you will take a photo, or sketch it or that you will write about it, and share it out, but even better yet - tell the story to someone!

We are here to inspire each other.

Of that, I am certain.



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