Monday, July 9, 2012

Creative outlets for workaday interns

One of 8,000 things I love about working with interns is that they never fail to surprise me in good ways.  Recently, I wore to work a pair of nicely-made wood and aluminum earrings that I purchased for a handsome price at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival here in Denver.  As I filled my coffee cup that morning, another intern complimented my earrings and said, "Did you buy those from X?", X being an intern in our office.  I said no, I got them from an art fair, and thanked the intern for the compliment.  A few hours later as I was heating up my lunch, an architect waiting for the microwave asked me, "Ooh, did you get those from X's Etsy site?"  Again, no, but thank you for the compliment.  

It occurred to me that maybe I should see X's work for myself. I asked him for a link to his site, and once there I beheld some of the most elegant, well-made, and reasonably priced jewelry I'd seen in a long time.  He did outstanding work. And it occurred to me: how many interns are doing what X does, finding time outside of work for creative endeavors with perhaps even a bit of microcapitalism thrown in for good measure?  X makes time on weekends and evenings to indulge in this hobby-turned-second-income-source. In talking with X, it appears that this hobby/income gives him above all a source for replenishing the well of creativity, which is often lacking in an intern's usual work day.  

Making families and detail components in Revit is nice, and checking shop drawings is educational, but where's the pure creativity in it?  It's easy to get overwhelmed with the dailiness of our profession, and I don't want that everyday-ness to kill your creative spirit.  I've recently started making (bad/horrible/amateur) multimedia collage/art projects in my spare time as a means of getting back to that feeling of purely wanting to express something through a visual means.  I'm still as bad at it now as I was in college (I swear, sometimes I don't know how I made it through six years of studio), but it feels good to paint with watercolors and make tiny designs with ink and cutcutcutcutcut with an X-Acto knife. 

And something else occurred to me: I have a blog that's read by interns all over the U.S., and indeed the world.  What creative outlets do you pursue?  Would you want to show them on this site?  And would you want me to link to your Etsy site or to a brick-and-mortar store that sells your goods?  Let me know via email from the sidebar or in the comments below.  I'd love to get a community going here for interns's creativity and entrepreneurship.


  1. Quite an enjoyable post!
    Things that get my creativity juices flowing are baking and thinking about content and formatting for the blog that I keep meaning to create.
    I hope to run a pastry and sweets booth at a local farmer's market someday!

  2. Great post! I'd love to see interns' creative work here (or links to Etsy shops, etc.). It's so important to keep that creative side alive and well-fed. I neglected mine for many years and ended up completely exhausted, burned out, and as if I'd chosen the wrong path in life.

    Can't wait to read others' comments. BTW, I've Tweeted this post. Do you have a Twitter account? If so, please let us know! :-)

  3. Love the post...and the blog!! I'm an intern who is riding out the recession by "repackaging" skills from a former career in business & being marketing consultant for an architecture firm. I make semi-precious stone beaded bracelets & beaded scarf necklaces in my downtime. This one little act of creativity puts my brain on auto pilot, tones down the frustration of looking for an internship position, and offsets the milquetoast aftertaste that marketing sometimes leaves me with. No Etsy page as yet, though I do get many compliments from friends & strangers. I'm pretty much my main client...and I need a bigger jewelry box!

  4. I have taken up sewing. It seems kind of archaic to some people but I thoroughly enjoy it. I think of each piece I make in a very architectural manner, I think, and I now browse sites like Modcloth thinking, "how could I make that dress" rather than just pining over it. I wish I had more time for my hobby, really.