Over a decade ago, I came across a quote which has stayed in my memory since:
"Had I not fallen, I would not have arisen.
Had I not been subject to darkness, I could not have seen the light"
The quote has special resonance for me now, given how good I feel about this year, in contrast to the last. Incidentally, as I look back through my Instagram feed from the past couple of months, there are quite a few photos that play with this contrast between darkness and light. Above and below are a few – catch the full story behind each, over on Instagram.
I reached a turning point mid-last year when, I decided to stop talking and start making, putting an end to years of creative frustration. It's not that I was previously lacking in ideas but rather, that I had been fooling myself that I just didn't have the time.
And then I made the time and it led to so many great things: showcasing at events like Africa Utopia and the Renegade Craft Fair; getting featured on one of my favourite blogs, Fly, not once but twice and; generally receiving such great feedback from people.
To keep the making momentum growing, I've set myself a challenge for 2015: to create a piece of plant-inspired art, every single day. Why plants? Well, besides Africa, nature is my biggest muse and I think we can agree that plants make (most) people happy.
On this last day of January, I can say that I have successfully stuck to the challenge! I'm really proud of myself for that. Especially as this month has been busy beyond belief – I've had so many excuses not to create my daily piece! In this way, this challenge has been a great exercise in self-discipline.
It's also been good for helping me to let go of expecting everything to be perfect. As I shared with one of the drawings from last week – I'm not necessarily happy with each drawing but, I'm happy I've made each drawing.
Above are some of my favourite pieces from January. I post them each day after making them, on Instagram (#plantsomethingdaily) and on my new Facebook page, dedicated to my art. View the collection so far and follow the journey – help keep me accountable!
Have you set yourself a daily/weekly/monthly challenge this year? I'd love to hear more about it and see what you're working on.
Rather than be frustrated, I'm reminding myself that, ultimately, we can start whenever we like!
For those who are working on starting (or restarting/refreshing/revamping) a business, I'm running a 3-part workshop in London, in collaboration with business coach, Danielle Anderson of Step and Stone. It's titled, 'Stand out from the crowd.'
The sessions will cover: identifying and crafting your unique voice; building an online presence that is in alignment with this and; leveraging the power of social media, with confidence. We want you to be able to market your business in a way that's authentic to you, effective and fun!
You can take one or all three sessions for a comprehensive foundation. Find out more details here.
I'd love for you to join us!
In less than 2 days, many of us will be enjoying a public holiday (whether we celebrate Christmas or not) and we'll hopefully have some downtime.
If you find yourself at a loss for ideas of how to entertain the younger ones (and those young at heart), I've got just the thing for you! I've created 3 different colouring sheets for you to download and print.
There's a garden scene, aka Bustani (see above); a fishy scene and; a composition made up of landmarks and landscapes from various African cities (bonus points if you can name any of them – let me know in the comments below).
To get a hold of your downloads, all you have to do is sign up to the Afri-love mailing list here.
Once you've signed up, you will receive an email with links to download the sheets. Simply print and enjoy. If you're already subscribed, the links are in the latest email, sent today.
Fellow Instagrammers, please share a picture and mention me @lulukitololo – I'd love to see how you and your loved ones improve on my creations!
All drawings copyright Lulu Kitololo. Please note that the colouring sheets are for your personal use and may be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever.
It’s less than a week to go until Christmas so, ordering your gifts online is now pretty much a gamble. If the thought of braving the madness shops this weekend makes you want to crawl into a dark hole, fear not – I’ve got some ideas that will hopefully keep you in the festive spirit.
The gifts here are all things that you can buy, right up until Christmas Day. They are organised by interest so, hopefully you’ll be able to find something appropriate for all the people on your list – whatever they fancy!
I know many of us are counting down to Christmas and the opportunity to take a break; spend quality time with family and friends and; rejuvenate our energy and spirits. For some people, thinking about work is the last thing they want to do as the year rolls to a close. But for a few of us, whose work is fuelled by passion and a desire to realise a dream, there is no ‘off’ button. If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to the down time, so that you can spend it strategising and planning how to take your business to the next level, in 2015.
I have a feeling many of you resonate with what I’m saying and I’ve got some wonderful news for you! I’ve partnered with the coolest startup coach I know, Danielle Anderson, to deliver a ClarityCall webinar on the 10th of January, to help you get started the way you mean to go on. This is an exclusive opportunity for you, my Afri-love community, wherever in the world you might be.
I've done this exercise with Danielle myself and it really helped me to focus on what was most important for my business at that time. It can be really hard to have that kind of perspective when you're juggling the myriad day-to-day demands of work and life. The results and momentum that I've experienced in the past couple of months, are testament to the power and value of giving myself the time to do this with Danielle. I wish this sort of pause, clarity and progress for you all so, I'm thrilled that Danielle has offered to run this exercise for us.
About This Webinar
Entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners share a common trait: trying to turn a vision into a reality. In this workshop, we’ll tackle the question responsible for many restless nights: “How will I ever get to where I want to be?” You’ll be guided through a powerful, reflective exercise to help translate your big dream into a clear, actionable plan and get your business off the ground.
The Renegade Craft Fair London is 3 days away and Lusungu and I have been busy getting our ‘Fly South For Winter’ collection ready! It’s inspired by our motherland love and a yearning for the tropics in these wintry times. All the designs are hand-drawn by me and then hand screen printed by Lusungu (aka Creativity and Noise).
The term ‘networking’ used to put me off. I’d imagine an awkward room full of strangers, standing around trying to impress others. Others who, had already made up their minds about who they were going to pay attention to or not.
Cynical, I know but, I’d spent countless evenings at networking events, hoping for a different experience, in vain. Instead, I’d come home feeling, if I’m honest, a bit less confident and wondering if there was something wrong with me.
Yup, been there. Over it.
A necessary evil?
At the same time, I knew there was a reason people were putting themselves through this. I knew it could be a solution to one of the common challenges that we touched on in the first CAKE Series Twitter chat, a few weeks ago: how to focus on your current plate of work, but also keep new work coming in.
The turning point
The past year has been very different and it’s all thanks to some amazing women that I know, who each invited me to be a part of something. I’ll get on to that in a moment, but first … Once I found ways to network that worked for me, I realised 2 things: