← Load previous


The beauty in our world deserves to be cherished, sustained, and rediscovered. We share this life, and every day we have the opportunity to act as thoughtful participants in it. What do we care about? What do we take for granted? Would we miss it if it disappeared? Preservation begins with asking deep questions and turning our attention to the environment around us. Marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle wrote in her book, The World is Blue, “Should we race to see how quickly we can consume the last tuna, swordfish, and grouper? Or race to see what can be done to protect what remains? For now, there is still a choice.” Our daily habits are a mirror reflecting back what we truly care about. Our actions are key to protecting the wellbeing of our communities, cities, and planet. Pause for a moment to notice what is being neglected and take an audit. We can break out of patterns, simplify our lives, and focus on the things that will last a long time. Together, we can chart a brighter path into the future. Our Charleston chapter chose this month’s exploration of Preserve and Chris Nickels illustrated the theme. Thank you to our Global Partners—Mailchimp, Adobe, and WordPress.com—for supporting us.JOIN OUR NEXT EVENT - MAY 31ST with Shobha Rao



It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies. 

It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly. It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge. We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans. We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives. We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life? Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varano illustrated the theme. This month’s speaker is James Trucker on March 29th, grab your tickets here.

CM/SF is turning 8 years old.  Happy Birthday!

Thank you for celebrating #CMSF8 with us! We had such a magical evening dancing, smiling, and graffiti-ing with all of you. We hope the feeling was mutual! 🎉

The biggest of shout-outs to BiteUnite, 1AM, ColorBloq, TagPrints and Casper, for helping make it a party. If you’re looking for an awesome team-building activity (or need somewhere to host it), don’t hesitate to reach out to these local organizations!

Photos by: Ben Conde

Photo by: Tanarak Photography

More photos in our flickr album.


What do a planet, an attractive face, and a snowflake have in a common? Symmetry. Symmetry is prevalent throughout life. You can fold a sunflower in half, stories have an arc, and the human body can bend and create mesmerizing shapes. There are also irregularities that enhances life; it adds beauty and complexity. If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives. Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy. Alan Lightman wrote in The Accidental Universe, “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.” But chaos will happen whether we like it or not, it’s how we respond to it that either creates order or more chaos. When in chaos, create your symmetry. Our Saint Petersburg chapter chose this month’s exploration of Symmetry, Anna Fadeeva illustrated the theme, and Mailchimp is the presenting partner.Join our next event.


When you look at the artwork of Frida Kahlo or Salvador Dalí, there’s an element of surprise. Why does it feel familiar yet also otherworldly? Surrealists sought to break free from the shackles of the rational mind and dive into the deep end of the unconscious. The canvas, then, became a mirror for what emerged out of that process. This movement was inspired by events in the 1920s on the heels of the first world war and continues to influence artists, writers, photographers, and filmmakers. This cultural and artistic movement ushered in new techniques that helped humans expand their minds. Today, we recognize a sense of the surreal in unexpected moments in daily life. Art exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room are becoming readily available, encouraging people to immerse themselves in experiences that break reality. A ballet performance or a silent meditation retreat can be a dreamlike experience. Whether we experience a surreal moment or dabble in processes like drawing without thinking or writing without self-editing, there’s something to be learned about ourselves and what lingers under the hood of our desires to keep life orderly and controlled. Happy New Year! Our Brussels chapter chose this month’s exploration of Surreal and Charlotte Dumortier illustrated the theme. SURREAL is presented globally this month by WordPress.com.

JOIN OUR NEXT EVENT with Jeff Raz at Heron Arts on February 1st.



Join the platform you won’t outgrow. Our global partner Wordpress.com is offering a discount to CM members. You can learn more at wordpress.com/creativemornings! You’ll be building your idea on the platform that powers more than 30% of the internet.


Our global partner Mailchimp has made it easy to create posts for Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter right from their email builder! Read how in this blog post.


Fit five years of artistic growth in one. The Adobe Creative Residencyprovides a year of support as you focus on your art. This year-long program provides mentorship to artists specific to their creative niche and business needs. Application opens in January. Visit their site to learn more: Adobe Creative Residency


Graphic designer and letterer, maker, seamster, problem solver, mama (of 2), plant mama (of 50+), swimmer, and eater. Not necessarily in that order.

Three years ago, I began an ambitious personal project to draw every combination of 2 letters that the alphabet provides us. Monogram Project (see it on IG @hopemengdesign) kicked off with AA and will conclude sometime in the (very) distant future with ZZ.

More recently, I’ve been working on a project that merges two of my disparate interests: sewing/quilting and design/typography. Text/tile (@texttilestudios on IG) is a multi-disciplinary project that consists of a typographic system based on quilt blocks. At first glance, you may only see a random geometric design, but upon closer inspection, you may notice that the quilts contain an embedded message.

Find out more at: www.hopemeng.com @hopemengdesign and @texttilestudio

Q&A with Hope

    What does Tradition mean to you?

    Tradition is a starting point, but a crucial one. My practice in design and lettering has been rooted in an understanding of graphic design history and traditional letterforms. You can’t really do original work or innovate unless you know what has been done before you to set the stage.

    How is this concept reflected on your creative work?

    I think tradition really shows in my work. With Monogram Project, even the pieces that push the boundaries of legibility start from a place of our common understanding about what makes an A an A and what makes a B a B (for example). I try to boil the letterform down to its true essence before building it back up to another form.

    It’s a similar thing with the Text/tile project, though that’s further constrained by the medium of fabric and the visual language of quilts. I just love the concept that quilts have traditionally always carried stories and with Text/tile, that’s just being made explicit.

    What have you been inspired by lately?

    I am inspired by humanity! By that I mean: the mark of the hand, imperfection, wabi sabi, the organic form that flows from the hand when you’re trying to draw a perfectly straight line. My own work tends to be really polished and perfect and I am trying to evolve from that, and let go—allow my hand show through.

    Any advice for someone in our community who is looking to tap in more traditional techniques or creative pathways?

    Try to make something directly with your hands—when we use a mouse, it controls a cursor which then moves pixels on a screen. Find a practice where you are directly manipulating a tool, even if it’s just making marks with a pencil on paper. There honesty in using a tool directly. There is something so satisfying about creating a physical object, not just one that lives in 0’s and 1’s.

    Thanks to Hope for collaborating with us in a unique knitting piece that we’ll be giving away at our even on December 14th - join event here.

    CM/SF’s Creative Spotlight looks to highlight local creatives by collaborating on a fun project centered around the monthly theme. There are tons of local artists, makers, and creators in our city who are doing rad things – we want to spread the world and spark our community with their creativity!

    Know someone doing rad things? Drop us a line or two over email at sf@creativemornings.com.

    December’s theme is TRADITION

    Traditions are sacred because they cultivate consistency and a sense of belonging. It’s the bread and butter for fostering connection and community. 

    We’re in a time where traditions are being challenged and remixed. We question how they came to be and the context in how (or if) they fit into the future. “This is just the way it is” is a statement of fear, not possibility. It undermines the human capacity to adapt and create change. Traditions are made by us, for us, so therefore they can be reinvented with intention and imagination. You may not start the next national holiday, but you can bring to the table your generosity, your kindness, your vision and heart to create a more welcoming future. Our last 2018 global theme TRADITION was chosen Barranquilla chapter and Andrés M. Felfle illustrated the theme. 

    Join us in our next event on December 14th.



    Nicole grew up in New Orleans and worked in New York City, before making her journey west to California. Currently she lives in San Francisco, where she can quickly escape to the woods and nearby beaches.

    ​She is a ballerina, yogini, audiophile, animal lover, chocoholic, and artist.

    Nicole creates illustration and concepting for fashion, graphics, home decor, paper goods, and entertainment productions. Previous clients include: The Bay Bridged, Entire Productions, Fog City Songwriters, Gamago, Gymboree Group, Pottery Barn Teen, San Francisco Parks Alliance, and Sofar Sounds.

    Most projects are done by hand in a variety of mediums and styles with digital manipulation, as needed. Nicole is available for freelance, commissions, and illustrating private events or concerts.

    Find out more at: www.nicolealbum.com or @nickytickytipsy

    Q&A with Nicole Album

      What does Restart mean to you?

      Restart means another opportunity to grow and change. Restarting is a part of the greater cycle giving us a new opportunity to blossom. Sometimes we choose to restart on our own, like quitting a job or a break up. Other times, life decides that for us, like a death or natural disaster.

      I believe that from destruction comes enlightenment. Without the need to restart we wouldn’t have the opportunity to try again, make different choices, and learn more about how we want to show up every day.

      Nicole live sketched at our November’s event:


      How is this concept reflected on your creative work?

      I usually have a dramatic increase in sketching. In the literal sense, each page is a fresh start. They are sketches and there for disposable, allowing me the opportunity to try different choices or routes, before committing to the ones I may take to my professional work. I also do a lot of sketching outside of my home. The nature of spending time in places I haven’t been, observing other people, and drawing in the moment, are all ways to refresh my creativity and open up space for different ways of thinking. Even the trash-worthy scribbles serve a purpose for helping me breakdown and rebuild, again.

      What have you been inspired by lately?

      What a broad question?! Inspiration is constant. Everyday there is at least one small experience or visual image that brings me inspiration. Some days there are many. Inspiration may be a few words someone says to me, or a beautiful 10 foot painting. Everyday the answer to this question is different.

      I’m inspired by many of the artists in my real community and those of the virtual realm. I am hosting a costume, figure drawing event in a few days, and the model performing has become a muse for me. I love her innovative costumes and sense of fantasy. I also find a lot of inspiration from music, films, tv shows, and being outdoors. A terrific live performance, beautiful costuming, or fresh smells and tastes can set my imagination on fire.

      Any advice for someone in our community who is looking to change things around and restart with a new mindset?

      My recommendation is to get physical. Thinking about the steps in a dance class, bike path in front of you, or which wave to surf, allows your ‘creative’ brain a rest. The break your mind gets from the issue you are restarting can help you see more clearly what you want, when you begin again. Even a slow walk or floating in a pool is considered meditative. Plus, as Elle Woods once said, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins. And, endorphins make you happy.’ It doesn’t have to be intense and don’t over do it. Your muscles need rest, too. You’ll be physically and mentally hungry for whatever comes your way next. And, when inspiration strikes you will have the energy to grab it and hold on.

      Thanks to Nicole for creating this unique postcards & live sketching at our event!. Take a peak at Nicole’s sketching process.


      CM/SF’s Creative Spotlight looks to highlight local creatives by collaborating on a fun project centered around the monthly theme. There are tons of local artists, makers, and creators in our city who are doing rad things – we want to spread the world and spark our community with their creativity!

      Know someone doing rad things? Drop us a line or two over email at sf@creativemornings.com.

      November’s theme is RESTART

      I need to disconnect. There’s too much noise in my head. I am burning out. I need space to rethink everything. I need a hard reset. Exhaustion is like dehydration—when you feel it, you’ve gone too far. So we finally cave in and heed the words of people who’ve found their centers again: take a trip into nature, go for walks, unplug completely. The challenge with restarting is that we often save it for the end rather than creating pockets throughout our weeks where we prioritize reflection and solitude. Restarting is essential. It’s a way to digest experiences, reflect and cultivate self-awareness, and remind ourselves that life is to be enjoyed. It’s refreshing and feeds greater intention and momentum into our creative endeavors. If you find yourself feeling like you’re on a treadmill with an invisible hand increasing the velocity, remind yourself: only you have the power to get off and recalibrate. Our global exploration of Restart was chosen by our Cologne chapter and illustrated by Marie Maerz. Thank you to Adobe for empowering the global creative community this month. 

      Join our next event on November 16th with Steve Daniels.