Monday, November 4, 2013

Samantha Schurke: Interior Designer (MamaTalk: Creativity)

I got to know interior designer Samantha Schurke through my local MOPS group and other community and church activities. Even though Sam is incredibly visual and gifted at any kind of artistic or craft endeavor and I am more geared toward words, we have found so much in common. In fact, conversations with her about creativity and how it functions in the life of a mom were a big part of the catalyst for this series. I so appreciate her honesty about the challenges; you can always count on Sam to be open and honest and real. I also greatly appreciate her dogged ability to keep pursuing the gifts God has given her, even through the challenges that having a young family and a young family business bring about. I hope you enjoy her perspective and visit her websites!

What are your primary outlets for creativity?  Tell us a little about your background and how you developed these creative skills.
Since I was a little girl, I have been interested in art and design.  My dad and I would draw up floor plans for new tree houses and forts that we would build. We would make material lists of what we needed and go shopping for hardware.  Painting and setting up the new room, fort or yard was my favorite part.  Then I was over it, ready to move on to the next project.

After taking a couple of years off after high school, I started looking into Interior Design and Industrial Design programs.  I ended up receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design.  I currently work for myself, subcontracting to companies, offering professional interior design services, visual boards, rendering and CAD work.  I mainly work with commercial interiors.  That is how my creative brain pays the bills.  I also enjoy sewing, DIY projects, and continually trying to expand my knowledge of graphic design.

Do you think creativity is important as a mom?  Why or why not?
Being a mom forces you to be creative, whether you know it or not. It requires out of the box thinking to come up with new creative solutions every day. As moms, I think it is important to have CONFIDENCE in our creativity.

What is a time in your life when you felt most fulfilled creatively?
Exactly two years ago this week, I was submitting a full-scale design package to Hilton Hotels for approval of a three-story hotel remodel.  It was accepted and praised by my customers and the reviewers.  This was a huge project that was a culmination of about a year’s worth of programming and design phases.  I had never worked on such a large-scale project before and the results were very successful.  At the time of the submission, I was too overworked and stressed to feel proud of this accomplishment, but now, looking back, I feel so thankful to have had the opportunity and to have made it out in one piece.

My son celebrates his 2nd birthday this Friday… you do the math.

How did time or energy for creativity change after you became a mom?
I usually have the energy to explore new creative pursuits; the time is another story.  In my line of work, innovation and continuing education are imperative.  I struggle with feeling like I am not current with trends, products, and technologies. Before having my kids, I would be constantly gathering information and resources during my free time.  This opportunity no longer exists.  I spend (eat) a significant amount of time at the beginning of each project refreshing and collecting new information.  It is frustrating at times to not have the time that I desire to “learn” about my ever-changing field.

Do you ever feel guilty about making time for creativity?  How do you cope with that?
I don’t.  Sometimes I have a hard time justifying it to others though.  Creativity is my “hobby.”  I don’t go skiing or watch sports on TV or collect action figures.  I create.  I have always been flexible with how my creative outlets are dispersed.  I find the need to draw or sketch random thoughts or ideas on scratch paper all over my house.  This gets it out in little spurts.   Sometimes my creative pursuits spill over into day-to-day functions, like drawing pictures of what I need at the grocery store instead of making a list.  I’m ok with that.
Sometimes my creative pursuits spill over into day-to-day functions, like drawing pictures of what I need at the grocery store instead of making a list.  I’m ok with that.
Have you ever felt pressured to express creativity in exactly the same way as some other mom (maybe a friend or a mom on Pinterest or a blog)?  In what way?  Have you found any ways to get past these pressures?  How?
I feel the pressure to start a blog.  Blogs are such an awesome outlet for creative people to put their ideas out into the world.  I love DIY and interior design blogs and often think, I should do that!  As you can probably tell by now, writing is not my gift.  I draw, sketch, layout, design, organize, and format.  Writing a blog requires content and I have no desire or skill to document the written word so why do I think I want to blog?

I think sometimes I get lost in my creative pursuits and have to backtrack, reminding myself what I really want to do, and refocus on what I am good at.

Have you found any ways to use your creative skills with your kids?
We draw, paint or cut something out and glue something else back together daily. This is fun for me. I like crafting and so do my kiddos so that is a great creative outlet.

As for my design background, up until now, not really. Besides making overly-elaborate scale models of castles out of paper mache for a Valentine box, my skills are not really needed or appreciated by my children as of yet. However, my days of tree-house building are right around the corner and I will celebrate the day my boys ask me for help drawing up the floor plan for their creation. I just hope that I can have the maturity to not just take over the project. 

Tell us what you love about the unique ways you express creativity. 
I like to create things that are my own. However, I have always done a good job being able to balance it with learning from what others have done. “There is no original thought.” “Don’t reinvent the wheel.”  Brilliant people have been coming up with creative solutions since the beginning of time. Especially now, in our technologically-rich world, we have access to resources that those even a generation ago did not get to utilize.  Take the project, research what others have done, and put a new spin on your solution.  I love that I live in a world that has such excellent access to ideas.

What advice would you give to a mom who feels that since having kids, she has “lost herself”?
I guess it is just like anything else.  You just have to make it a priority to carve out the time for it. Just like date night: schedule it.  Put it on the calendar: "Tuesday the fourth--FIND SELF!" I think it has also been helpful to me to find a way to contribute financially using my creative skills.  My husband is much more supportive of creative time when it has a paycheck attached.  I am not always doing exactly the dream scenario that I envisioned myself, but I am using my creative brain and trying to be flexible.

Samantha says: I live with my husband, two boys and seventeen sled dogs in Bigfork, MT.  In addition to my family, I share my home with many visitors throughout the year that come in conjunction with my family's other business, Base Camp Bigfork. Base Camp Bigfork provides year-round lodging, guided services, and equipment rental for those recreating in the Flathead Valley.  I spend much of my creative time these days volunteering with my local MOPS group where I have the privilege of thinking of fun and creative things for sixty-four wonderful women to do throughout the year. It is a good life. You can see examples of my Interior Design work through my website or by calling 871-9727 to set up a time to meet, in my office, at 8525 MT Hwy 35, Bigfork, MT.

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