Each month, Nikki Wilson interviews an Ignite Member, asking five simple questions, to find out what creativity means to them, and how they see culture and creativity, and its potential, in Chelmsford.
This month Nikki talks to Indigo Sapphire Moon.
How would you describe what you do?
I would describe myself as a creative, in a wider context but more specifically, I describe myself as a writer, artist, activist and curator. I have a degree in Creative Writing and Masters in Environmental Humanities so I try to use the skills and knowledge gained from this and channel it into my work. I like to create my own opportunities and therefore, run my own online platform, Creative Being, which uses creativity to amplify positive change and marginalised voices. I interview inspiring change making folk, create creative content and collaborate with other folk or organisations.
I also work as a manager for The Art Place which is a project run by Ideas Hub Chelmsford and am a Creative Producer for another charity based in Bath, called House of Imagination. I specifically focus on their House of Imagination project. I like having a variety of different jobs as it makes me fulfilled to be working with many empowering and resilient folk and learning new skills.
Most recently, I’ve curated my own exhibition, “Earth 23” which explores how climate change is affecting the natural world and can empower us to create change. This has been an incredibly rewarding project because it combines my passion for nature and the environment with my creative skills and interests. The exhibition is held at The Art Place and 10% of each artwork sold will be donated to The Rainforest Trust UK who focus on protecting tropical habitats and endangered wildlife.
I’ve also contributed some poetry and photography for Essex Pride’s Behind the Rainbow exhibition at Chelmsford Museum. I feel honoured to be part of this exhibition as it celebrates self-expression and identity of LGBTQ+ folk in Chelmsford. Our community continues to face discrimination and this exhibition feels like a quiet form of activism. In a way, we’re saying to visitors, “we’re here, we’re queer and this is what we can do.”
And who, or what gives you creative inspiration?
Nature is my biggest inspiration. I feel a kinship to wildlife, to the soil and to the trees and whenever I’m connected to nature, I feel waves of ideas. Nature offers a sacred space to exist with my creativity in a way that I can’t in the human world. Nature doesn’t judge, it simply allows me to “be” my authentic self and this stillness helps me tap into my creative juices which are sometimes buried underneath layers of anxiety and worry.
But there are many humans who inspire me too! All of the marginalised folk who strive to create a better world for themselves and others, activists from the past who fought for their rights and those today who continue to do the same. Creative folk who use their creativity as a form of activism and actively seek to create change.
I’m also influenced by music, TV and film. I’m autistic and I become obsessed with certain songs, TV shows and films to the point where it’s all I can think about. The creative process involved in creating these also inspires me to be bold, authentic and listen to my unique voice.
If you could try any new creative or cultural experience or practice, what would it be?
This is an exciting question. I’ve played drums since I was 9 years old and I’ve only performed at a concert once. I enjoy playing by myself as it feels like a meditative process. However, I would love to be part of a band or to be able to perform with others. It is a creative experience that terrifies me but also excites me. I also practised dance when I was a child and thoroughly enjoyed the process of moving my body to music. I would love to explore that further with others as I find dancing a powerful experience.
What excites you about creativity and culture in Chelmsford?
Working at The Art Place excites me! It feels like the creative hub of Chelmsford. It’s a wonderful community of creative folk and I’m always excited to see what creative work is being done. I think it’s a valuable part of Chelmsford culture. Every place needs creativity to nurture, inspire, fulfil and guide us as a community and The Art Place offers that with open arms. I’ve made many connections through The Art Place and this excites me. I’m constantly inspired by artists who support themselves through their art and feel immensely lucky to be part of such a vibrant, diverse and beautiful community.
What would you like to see in Chelmsford that isn’t here yet?
I would love to see more hubs for The Art Place dotted around Chelmsford. There’s such an expansive community there and it deserves to grow and reach more people. I would also like to see a community space dedicated to nature, wellbeing and eco-workshops. Somewhere folk can go to connect with nature, learn why we need to protect and cherish it and develop skills that benefit nature in the process. It would be exciting to see meditation and mindfulness classes take place there and community walks through Chelmsford’s nature reserves.
And! It would be a dream to see a vegan LGBTQ+ cosy cafe that has a small library where folk can read, a creative space where we can explore our creative roots and somewhere we can feel safe, relax and socialise knowing there is a place for authenticity, friendship and community to reside.