I’m Hilary Clark and I am an Artist and a Creativity Coach. I didn’t always claim those titles. In fact, I actively avoided believing in my own creativity for a good portion of my adult life.
As a child, I knew I was creative. I began writing poetry in 4th grade, as the US curriculum considers that the age to start. I remember being absolutely fascinated by all the poetry forms. I dove into haiku and sonnets, couplets and iambic pentameter with avid zeal. I think I wrote a poem every day, or maybe that’s just childhood memory painting a pretty picture. Whether true or not, I was prolific. Poetry writing stayed with me into high school and college.
My senior year in high school, I was the editor for the school’s literary anthology. What a coup! I thought my future was clear before me. I’d go to college, major in English, and grow up to be a famous author of poetry and novels. I can still remember the joy of those days and that belief in myself.
I lasted as an English major all of two trimesters in college. My professor critiqued my writing style, which was a blow to my young ego. I rebelled against what I saw as his harsh criticism and decided I’d show him – so I changed majors. Hindsight allows me to see he was trying to teach me to become a better writer. If I’d known then what I know now, I would have followed his advice.
Instead, I switched to a political science major, which made sense at the time, but was the beginning of the end for my belief in my own creativity. In my senior year of college, I did have space to take a few electives, all of which were writing classes. But then I graduated and entered corporate America. There was no time to write. There was no time to be creative. I came home every night wanting to write or create but I was exhausted and drained. So I gave into the exhaustion, set aside my creative dreams, and settled into a years long internal conflict where I dreamed of being creative but never did anything about it.
During that time, the urge to create would occasionally be strong enough I’d dabble. I’d write a poem, or try my hand at a short story, but I never stuck with it, convinced I didn’t have it in me anymore. However, in 1998, the urge became overwhelming. My first father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. He was given 30 days to live. My reaction to this news was to create. He felt constant chills from the cancer so I made him a lap quilt with simple piecing and minimal stitching. I knew how to sew, but I didn’t know how to make a quilt. I did it anyway and he was able to stay warm beneath it in his final days.
Making that first simple quilt opened something in me. Over the next decade, I made a number of lap quilts, with periods of constant making interspersed with long dry spells. In the last few years of that decade, I shifted from lap quilts to experimenting with making art quilts. Then I got divorced for the second time and I stopped.
From 2008 to 2014, I did very little creatively, although my work in Aviation Construction Management did offer opportunities I didn’t recognize as creative at the time.
In 2014 I decided it was time for a career change. I wanted out of aviation construction management, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I enrolled in an online, self-directed career coaching program. What I learned surprised me. I went into that program hoping to find a new and interesting job path. Instead, what I found was a soul-deep need to create. For me, this meant making art.
From that moment, I committed myself to creativity. I chose to return to art quilting. I set myself up so I’d see my tools every evening when I got home from work. Initially, my work was intermittent and sporadic, and then, one day, I realized I needed to turn creating into a habit if I was going to maintain the peace creativity was giving me. I defined what that habit could look like for me and then I gave myself permission to fail – as long as I tried again the next day.
And it worked. By developing, growing, and maintaining this habit – what I call a regular creative practice – my creative skills grew. So did my level of joy and my feeling of freedom to express myself. The more I created, the more my eyes opened to all the other possibilities available to me. Eventually, after over 25 years in Aviation Construction Management, where I successfully managed over $8 Billion in construction contracts (if that doesn’t take creativity, I don’t know what does!), I left to expand my creative practice into my own business, one where I make and sell my art and also coach and mentor people just like you as you develop your own creative practice.
My creative practice includes my art business, where I create and sell textured fiber paintings, abstract compositions using geometric shapes done in pen and ink, poetry writing, an intrigue/romance novel in progress, graphic art in the form of inspirational messages for the desk or wall, and working with my clients to help them be more creative.
In addition to the joy I feel from being creative and working with others to help them develop their creativity, I’m partnered with an incredible man and have two grown step-sons. All three amaze me with their intelligence, strength of character, and support. I love craft beer, sunshine, reading, baking and doing my best to never grow up while navigating growing older. This is my goofy face:
I believe creativity is your greatest gift. Isn’t it time you believed that too? Please let me help you discover this part of yourself. Our first conversation is always complimentary. Let’s get creative!
Artist & Creativity Coach