A few months ago I posted about how it feels to be a freelance illustrator and work from home. At that point I felt like a lonely warrior, who is only connected to the “real world” through internet. Things have moved forward since then and I’ve started to make some new friends from the Brussels creative crowd. I feel like I’m discovering an entire parallel universe, this magical world of people who do something with their hands, who focus on building a community and with whom I can exchange about the experience of being a creative person. I’m in the process of growing new roots in Brussels through discovering this group of people. Definitely a hugely positive added value of my “new path”.
Some of these people I met by chance (overheard their private discussions in a café and talked to them afterwards) others I contacted online (digged into the Belgian Etsy (online marketplace) forums and randomly picked a few who seemed nice). There is even someone in the below list I used to work with two years ago.
What these people have in common is that they are all from the Anglo-Saxon world, have been in Brussels for several years (i.e. they are not the typical ‘I-use-Brussels-as-an-airport-transit Eurocrats’) and almost all are or were at some point in binational couples. Another aspect they share is that they used to have 9-5 office jobs in a certain field and are now dedicating part or full of their time to creative activities. Very dynamic and “sympa” people, as the French would say and I am soooo happy for having met them! ;-)
JANE is an upcoming interior designer who loves do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and hunting and bargaining for vintage furniture. She has a website full of beautiful photos where she chronicles her adventures in creating a home for her family, helping friends decorate their homes and gives lots of ideas how to make your living space really your own. In addition, Jane has an Etsy shop with unique cushions and some vintage furniture that is also worth taking a look if you like pretty things. I already purchased an armchair from her!
LISA is an artist with so many different hats that I hardly know which one to focus on. She has worked as an illustrator and as a sports gear designer and is in the process of starting her own creative business at the moment. She uses a mixture of techniques and materials to do portraits, mosaics and jewellery. Her portraits are very clean and simple, but capture the most important aspects of her subjects. Her mosaics are just beautifully detailed and colourful and her jewellery is really one of a kind.
MAGGIE is the master of watercolour. Her fantastic paintings of iconic Brussels buildings are especially close to my heart. She also makes really cool, instantly downloadable origami cards, which can be printed at home. Besides illustration, she also develops websites, logos and other visuals and has a very successful online shop. She is always full of ideas and very helpful in brainstorming with you about your projects.
AISLING is an enthusiast of nursery textiles, vintage treasures and creative projects. She is a very active member of the Brussels creative crowd, not only does she bring together people for various fun projects, she is also organising regular creative Sundays with thematic workshops (the latest being a jewellery workshop this month). Apart from writing a blog, quilting and curating, she is also interested in the theory and practice of sustainable lifestyles. (Photo by A Mama’s Blog)
DAVID HOLYOAKE is a former colleague and friend from the Brussels environmental world. We transitioned to our creative paths around the same time and he’s been composing music, giving piano lessons and developing a super interesting initiative since then. His project, Forever Swarm, focuses on alternative visions for the future that would be more faire and more sustainable than the current world order. He is seeking out artists to communicate these alternative ideas to the general public and I can’t wait to see the flow of creations this project will inspire!