Explore & Create Stories #7: Nicole Bilinski

Nicole and I have been all systems go with our creative goals this year as part of the Creative Women’s Circle Resolution Project. I’ve been so excited to hear all about and follow Nicole’s adventures into being true to her self and making sure creativity is a part of her life. I was just blown away by her determination and passion to make this real with a mission to practice every morning. With the blessing of her boss, and true alignment, Nicole is showing all of us just how it is possible to find time within a busy life and various commitments to explore-create-make-be. I just love it, and I do so hope you enjoy reading this latest #exploreandcreatestories interview. 

Tell us about what you do.

In my day job I’m an Executive Assistant.  I work for a General Counsel/Company Secretary in a large company. In my soul I’m an artist. I guess it’s more accurate to call myself a creator of things, both strange and wonderful.

What are you passionate about?

Helping others rediscover the child within. I want my art to invoke that feeling when we believed anything was possible, like unicorns.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a series of drawings featuring button eyed rag dolls. I’ve hand-made each rag doll, complete with a calico heart embroidered with the dolls’ name stuffed inside. In each composition the rag doll is doing something, whether it is looking into a shattered mirror or hanging from a skeleton hand (as you do), which creeps some people out because OMG its button eyes are looking at me…

What led you to your latest project or focus?

I came across some cool rag dolls on Etsy that really struck me with their personality. I don’t even recall looking for rag dolls at the time, I think I was browsing random items and one click led to another and another and another. I thought they would be an interesting object to draw, so I borrowed a friend’s sewing machine and started making my own unique rag dolls.

How do you approach creativity in your life?

With an open mind. Anything I see, hear, touch, taste or smell can spark an idea.  I use a note taking app on my phone to jot down these random thoughts. My notebook reads like a cryptic message: raven queen, bubble pop, ink, target, freedom…  Good luck deciphering that!

We talk a lot about "being in the moment" or “being" when creating. What does this mean for you?

The world is as big as the tip of my pencil and time doesn’t exist. Magic is real people.

 What’s the biggest challenge you find in approaching your creative endeavours?

Creating creative time. I’d often feel drained after working 8 hours in my day job and just not be in the headspace to create.  I faced the same issue when I tried to go to the gym in the evenings, it just never quite worked.  But then I thought, what if I channelled my fit self from 3 years ago, who went to the gym 6 days a week, in the morning? What if I went to the studio before my day job? What if I woke up half an hour earlier and didn’t snooze my alarm? What is dry shampoo? So now on studio mornings, I’ve put in 1 ½ hours of work before I even get to my day job.

How do you find your zen?

A hot cup of tea, an uncluttered work space, Sennheiser headphones and Birds of Tokyo.  Ok and a little bit of Kanye.

When you experience flow, what is the impact on your productivity?

I’m easily distracted.  Usually by shiny things. However, when I experience flow, there are no distractions. I’m focused entirely on creating and that’s very powerful.

Tell me, who are you clicking on at the moment? 

Always Instagram.

Tell me, who are you listening to at the moment? 

I’ve gotten into podcasts recently: Mystery Show, Design Matters and Big Magic to name a few.

Tell me, who are you talking to at the moment? 

Usually my cat.

Tell me, who are you are reading at the moment? 

A beautifully illustrated edition of Alice in Wonderland. The latest issue of Frankie magazine. And The Essential Rumi just arrived in my letterbox.

What advice would you give to someone who thinks they aren’t creative?

When we were children, we didn’t question our creativity.  We were curious. We explored. We discovered. We are all creative, we just need to remember that we are.

What’s the best ever quote you have seen in terms of creativity or flow?

“What you can always do is open the door and set the table for art to come in. You can’t guarantee that art will come in, but you can invite it and you can show up."

Neil Gaiman.



Connect with Nicole and her beautiful work via Instagram - @littlebitsane

If you like this post you may also like to read the following interviews ….

Explore & Create Stories #6: Helen Kara

Explore and Create Series #5: Kylie Budge

Explore and Create Series #4: Annette Wagner