Nicole Chilton

Nicole Chilton is a multi-media abstract artist and writer living in Southwest Missouri. She works quickly and intuitively, capturing emotion rather than reality, and uses vivid color and floral motifs as inspiration. Her current project, The Dream Diary Project, explores dream interpretation through art journaling, and can soon be found in workbook format for all dreamers.

The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Tapioca Dance is an e-newsletter featuring creative movers & shakers, do-ers, and makers, written and curated by Nicole Chilton. Subscribe here for weekly inspiration!

Well Fed Head

The book club I belong to has been meeting for 12 years now. It originated at the much beloved and much missed indie bookstore Well Fed Head, and after the owners closed shop, we still meet once a month at local bars to discuss books.

My involvement in bookclubs has somehow expanded this summer, to at least three different groups. Here are a few of the selections from the clubs:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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Nutshell
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All the Missing Girls
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The Name of the Wind
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Imagine Wanting Only This
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What are you reading in your book club? Don’t have one? Well shoot. Let me know! I can hook you up.

Oh My Pod

With a road trip on the horizon, I know what’s in store. Podcasts. Lots and lots of podcasts. My co-pilot (well, the pilot…I don’t like driving) is a podcast enthusiast. I personally LOATHE production-heavy podcasts, because the incantation of the peoples’ voices just grate on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I prefer the round-table pop-culture discussions, or audiobooks.

Having said that. We’ll be listening to production-heavy podcasts, ones that Dan has been saving just for this trip. Here are our potential listens:

1. S-Town:  JOHN DESPISES HIS ALABAMA TOWN AND DECIDES TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. HE ASKS a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.At 6.5 hours, this will get us to Chicago.

2. Missing Richard Simmons. On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class at Slimmons, cut off his closest friends, and removed himself from the public eye after decades as one of the most accessible celebrities in the world. Nobody has heard from him – and no one knows why he left. Filmmaker Dan Taberski was a Slimmons regular and a friend of Richard’s. Missing Richard Simmons is Dan’s search for Richard – and the deeper he digs, the stranger it gets.

3. (Not a podcast) The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny: Cutting through 160 years of mythmaking, best-selling historian Michael Wallis presents the ultimate cautionary tale of America’s westward expansion.

I am on a Donner Party kick, having just read the YA graphic novel “Donner Dinner Party” by Nathan Hale. This newly published book was featured recently on Fresh Air, and it’s just the thing to give me a meatier version (sorry) of such a fascinating story.

Q&A with Andie B.

Do you ever see someone on social media and think, I really want to be friends with them? That’s how I feel about Andie. Her talent is multi-faceted, and I find myself watching her Instagram stories on repeat, dying of laughter.

Andie is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She acts, she writes, she paints, she directs, she does it all! And that’s ON TOP OF MULTIPLE JOBS. I don’t know how she does it.

I had the wonderful privilege of hanging out with her recently, and we have daydreams of having a champagne pool party one of these days soon. (Join us, will you?)

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Name: Andie Bottrell
Current City:  Springfield, MO
What did you want to be when you grew up?  Actor/Writer/Musician/Dancer/Gymnast aka Creator/Performer
What are you now? Struggling to breathe and stay above water!
Day Jobs: 1. Client Relations Manager at Piatchek & Associates, 2. Medical Writer at NKP Medical Marketing, and 3. Archive Metadata Researcher and Writer for the Louis Armstrong House Museum.
Trying-To-Make-My-Career Jobs: Artist at Lines Were Drawn Etsy Shop, Actor/Writer/Filmmaker at “please someone invest in me/hire me/pimp me out” of such projects as Mind of Mercer (short film), Ms. Maron’s Couples Counseling (short film), Landlocked (webseries), The Weight (feature film starring Clayne Crawford), and most recently Seek Help (webseries)…as well as several plays (most recently as Karen in Unnecessary Farce at Tent Theatre last summer).
How did you get to this point?
Day jobs: Lots of craigslist perusing for jobs that allowed me the flexibility to work odd hours and from various locations.
Passion jobs: Creating obsessively and constantly because it’s the only way I know how to survive and it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted with an insatiable thirst.
Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do?
Sometimes! And those are the BEST! Occasionally I get a month here and there where I get to mostly JUST create and there is nothing greater in my opinion. My ultimate goal is to create/showrun/write and star in a tv show (like Lena Dunham, Louis C.K., Issa Ray, the Broad City babes, etc.) I would love to JUST do all of that.
Current project(s):
We just released Seek Help (a webseries). I wrote/directed/produced/acted/edited Seek Help with a great group of people (Jonathan Stratman, Michael Watterson, Kate Pennington, Lisa Murphy, Sarah Wiggin, Kolyn Marshall, Kristian Jett, and Jordan Essary). So, now it’s promote, promote, promote mode to try to get eyes on it. And I’m trying to figure out if logistically we can make a second season happen. I am also in the process of editing my art and poetry book Let’s Talk which will be released later this year.
What are you reading/listening to/watching/making:
I don’t really have much time to read anything not related to work stuff.
When I’m working I’m usually listening to Amazon Prime playlists (love that old school jazz). I’ve also been rocking out to Alice Russell, Erykah Badu, Florence & the Machine, and Chet Faker.
I’m always watching TV, even just in the background when I’m working at home. The Office is my “office.” Fraiser is my bedtime story. I recently binged Shameless and, like everyone else, The Keepers. I love stand-up specials and true crime documentaries…that’s my emotional entertainment equivalent of a sweet & salty snack.
I’m usually always painting, drawing and/or writing something on any given day. Right now I’m into making large spray paint abstract and figurative paintings, ink line drawing portraits. I’m also working on a few scripts, and editing my poetry/art book.
How do you express yourself creatively? Painting, writing, acting, playing music, etc.
Have you ever written a fan letter? If so, to whom? Haha! I did! When I was about 8 years old I wrote a fan letter to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and included a truly embarrassing picture of myself. I did NOT receive a response.
Drink of choice?  Water. Staying hydrated is the number 1 rule for living. If there is no water, vodka will do.
Who inspires you, and why?
Oh my. The list is long! Lena Dunham: She did what I want to do to and she did it with a body like mine in an industry that notoriously pretends bodies like that don’t and shouldn’t exist except as a punchline or project. In all honesty, this had a huge impact on my life. I literally grew up believing that women that weren’t Hollywood-thin couldn’t be loved or seen as sexy or be successful or happy…obviously that was a pretty damaging belief and one that needs to stop being promoted as fact in our society.
Miranda July: She’s also an obsessive creative weirdo like me and I just love everything she does!
Josh Thomas: His show Please Like Me is the perfect balance of comedy and drama. It’s just perfect! And he’s another creator/writer/actor type.
I mean, Louis C.K., Issa Ray, Shonda Rhymes, Jenji Kohan, Judd Apatow, George Saunders, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Maria Bamford, Marc Maron, Egon Schiele, Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, etc. As I said, I could go on and on!
Favorite tool to stay productive (for example, a set of watercolors, a specific planner or app, an exercise program…)
I write a lot of to-do lists and promptly lose them. I’ve bought a lot of planners and calendar/schedules with great enthusiasm only to abandon them completely a week later. It’s strange because I am very strict with time when I am working on a film project and as a writer I set deadlines and follow them. But in my daily life–when I’ve tried to schedule out blocks for this job/that job and this project/that project and eating and working out and cleaning, etc. I just get entirely overwhelmed and don’t do anything. I think because I’m juggling so many balls all the time, if I see all those balls laid out it’s just debilitating. But if I just wake up and start doing things, and go from one to the other by whim, it feels more “free.” Of course, I also end up neglecting a lot of things that way, most usually my health/house and well-being, but someday I’ll figure it all out! Or not!
Honestly, I have more tools in place for being less-productive. To wind myself down I take a lot of baths (sometimes more than one a day or night to calm down) and I listen to this Scottish dude’s meditation app “Positivity” and I sniff essential oils.
 
Something you have learned this year?
No one knows anything, everything is doomed. Haha JK-ish. I mean, I have felt like that a lot this year…but I guess to state a more positive lesson: Anything is possible–of course, that goes both ways (positive and negative). This year I’ve struggled a lot with starting to believe the “negative” things–the things I might not achieve in life that I always thought I would (both in my career and personal live), but now, at 31 years old, it’s all starting to feel a lot more unlikely. So, I’m learning how to keep going when your hope is fatigued into near non-existence.
What can people do to make the world a better place?
Be kind!
Actively seek out points of view that make you feel uncomfortable and try to put yourself in their position.
Surround yourself (in social media and in real life) with people from all walks of life, in all types of bodies (shape, size, color, ability level)–don’t let the only images you see of people be bought and paid for to sell you products to improve yourself. You are absolutely enough just exactly as you are–you are worthy of love, respect, and kindness.
Tell people how you feel about them often–if you think something nice about someone, always tell them.
Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and accept that everyone’s life has influenced how they react in any situation.
Be patient with people and always keep the lines of communication open for those you love.
If you feel alone and you don’t want to be, reach out to others–others often feel lonely too.
How can people find you?
www.andiebottrell.com; www.seekhelpthewebseries.com; Facebook (Andie Bottrell); Instagram (andiebottrell); Twitter (andiebottrell); www.andiebottrell.etsy.com; Youtube (Andie Bottrell); Vimeo (Andie Bottrell).

Q&A with Cristen J.

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I have known Cristen as a mutual friend for over a decade, but it wasn’t until this year that the two of us connected personally, rather than waiting for the next random occurrence. I’m so glad we did! Cristen is the absolute opposite of me. Adventure-seeking, patient, loves to be outside…yet I find we have so much in common. She’s a pleasure to get to know and I hope you enjoy a peek into what makes her MOVE.

Name: Cristen Jester

Current City: Nixa, MO

What did you want to be when you grew up?   A vet.  And Indiana Jane.

What are you now? Well, I did spend time working as a biologist, but now I’m a Mom-Writer-Adventurer 🙂

How did you get to this point?  Oh boy.  I moved quite a bit, first to follow a degree, then a new adventure in a new place.  I became a wandering nomad for a little while, traveling in a van around the country before #vanlife was really out there.  Ha!  That trip changed my perspective about how I wanted to live and work, and I was never quite the same.  Which, I think is a good thing.  Now I perch politely on that edge between happy-at-home and family-travel-fanatic.  The balance between the two lifestyles is the challenge and we’re looking for a way to integrate both into one lifestyle that fits our family best.  

Are you paid doing what you love?  Hahahaha….. I’m working on that!!  In the mean time, my fiancé, Matt, has a lawn care company that is growing and retaining lots of happy clients (shameless plug).  

Current Project(s):  –  

  • Fiction Self-Help novel (there are several ideas and outlines for books, but this is the big one right now that keeps me typing away)  
  • Training as a member of the Adventure Mamas Expedition team (high alpine mountaineering trip in Colorado with 10 other outdoor adventure moms from July 8-15, purpose is to discuss how modern moms are redefining motherhood)
  • Creating a short personal film about a solo bike journey I did recently (to team up with nature, honor my local ancestors, let go of built-up grief, and celebrate life/change/and challenges by doing all that together with a physical and mental journey).  Matt is a BIG part of helping me make this one happen!

What are you Reading?  Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon

Watching?  Well, now that Big Bang Theory has wrapped up for the season, I’m watching the next round of Grace and Frankie.  And lots of Sesame Street.

Listening to?  The Putumayo albums have been amazing!  I find the yoga compilations are best for driving during rush hour for a Zen commute.  Haha!  My son, Eric, and I listen to a lot of oldies in the car.  I’m a mood music listener, though, and am all over the board, so don’t be surprised to hear anything from The Allman Brothers to Ben Harper, Rob Zombie to Bassnectar.

Making?  I love to bake.  Good, old fashioned chocolate chip cookies are easy to do with Eric.  Matt and I have been slowly building a “she shed” for my workspace, which I’m really excited for!  Imagine, a work space that’s not spread out on the kitchen table; a place to write, organize, leave notes, and it can stay there for DAYS.  Yessss….

How do you express yourself creatively?  Writing for sure, but also through music and movement.  Singing tends to be a part of the day and I believe a song exists for nearly everything, so it’s fun to reinvent words.  If it really needs to bubble out, expect to hear something cranked up over the speakers and me flailing it out in the living room.  But if you show up at the door, I’m going to act like nothing was happening.

Have you ever written a fan letter?  Yes!  To Morgan Freeman.  He’s the man, on screen and off!

Drink of choice?  Tough one.  Water normally, coffee or lattes while writing, Mexican Coca Cola when it’s been a long day and (darn-it) I deserve it, cold local beer on the river, creative margaritas when people get together, and tea at night to wind down.  Wow.  I’m realizing how compartmentalized this seems.  I do branch out, I swear!

What or who inspires you, and why?  Nature inspires me for so many reasons.  I’m not very religious yet quite spiritual, but into nature is where I go to be with a Higher Power, to be in God’s creation and see all that beautiful handiwork.  It seems like the natural beauty and systems answer so many questions when we look closely and listen deeply.  Jane Goodall and Maya Angelou, Albert Schweitzer, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir:  these incredibly thoughtful people who took risks and kept going because they had a bigger vision are definitely inspirations.  They also seem/seemed to be able to see and express life and the world around them in ways that changed how we perceive it, but inspired us to also be of service to that world.  And my son and fiancé.  Never have I wanted to see my own visions and projects come to fruition more than when the two of them became parts of my life.  

Favorite tool to stay productive (a certain set of watercolors, a planner, an exercise program, for example)?  A notebook and pen (I’m a list maker).  At night before I go to bed, I have to think about what the next day will hold and what it’s going to look like, even make a list.  There will always be three main things that “must” be done during the day to feel accomplished, with plenty of leeway with the other “to do’s” because sometimes unexpected stuff comes up.  Ahhh life.  Without some kind of task list, I’m like a hummingbird in a  friggin’ English garden.  A son (because there’s a schedule in the day around him) and a fiancé (because he knows my goals/projects, where I begin to wander, and how to gently nudge me back into focus when necessary, even if it makes me a bit pissy at first).

Something you have learned this year:  It’s a repeat lesson: life really is too short to worry about what we’re “supposed” to be doing, so do more of what makes your heart happy.  Also, everything is divine and in its right time 🙂

What can people do to make the world a better place?   Reach down into those billowy depths, find, and use every bit of kindness and patience you pull out.  It goes a long way, sticks to others, and spreads like glitter (parents, teachers, and crafters will know what I mean by that).

How can people find you?  I have a website!  www.cristenjester.com

Q&A with Krista P.

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Krista has a full, crazy, and colorful life. Every time I see her, she has a new successful project under her belt, whether it’s writing for MAKE Magazine, spearheading a tech-education non-profit, or constantly making something new to wear or display. Stop by Bookmarx in Springfield throughout July to see her first solo art exhibit, featuring whimsical and edgy cross-stitching and fiber arts!

1. Name: Krista Peryer

2. Current City: Springfield, MO

3. What did you want to be when you grew up?

So many different things! I think as a kid we all kind of go through that, but as I got older mine seemed all over the place! (A choreography dancer, an architect, a fashion designer, a model, a lawyer…) Haha, I guess that kind of is still true for me though. I still want to, and do, SO many different things!

4. What are you now?

A fiber artist, a mommy, co-founder and board member of a new Springfield non-profit The Geek Foundation, occasional writer for Make Magazine, a graphic designer, a photographer, a fashionista, personal stylist, an interior designer by nature, and a floral designer when I have time. I also hope to get more into pottery and sewing soon!

5. How did you get to this point?

The natural designer in me is inherent. My father never went to college, but is an amazing contractor on homes. He just has an eye for it. My mom also never went to college either, but she designs some amazing cakes! My kids are very lucky to have her every year on their birthdays!

6. Are you paid doing what you love? If not, what would you like to be paid to do?

I sell my fiber art projects on Etsy, and my graphic designs on Redbubble, for fun. I hope to eventually do some craft and art shows!

7. Current project:

I have a wide range of projects going from cross-stitching, to crochet, to latch-hooking, and there is currently a lovely bouquet of flowers sitting on my counter waiting to be arranged. My friend also recently bought a house, which I’m helping design! So much fun!

8. What are you reading/listening to/watching/making:

Currently reading The Signature of All Things by Sarah Gilbert, and recently got hooked on Better Homes & Gardens “Do It Yourself” magazine. How did I not know this existed before?! I love it!
As for TV, I generally only watch HGTV and other home shows (I love Home Town!), but I recently got hooked on Project Runway and I CAN. NOT. STOP! I started on season 9 because it was the first season available on Hulu, and I’m hoooooked.

9. How do you express yourself creatively? Creating new fun things with yarn, my computer, or nature!

10. Have you ever written a fan letter? If so, to whom? No, can’t say that I ever have….

11. Drink of choice? Good ol’ H2O is my go-to drink these days. But Lola’s in Nixa makes some amazing fruit teas, and sometimes I’ll make a trip out there just for one. (Welllll, there food is seriously top-notch too!)

12. Who inspires you, and why?

Artists from the past of all mediums. Ansel Adams piqued my passion for photography. Roy Lichtenstein made me passionate about art and comics. Andy Warhol made me passionate about bright colors. They both created my favorite kind of art: pop art. Architects who built the lovely buildings here in Springfield on C-Street and downtown made me passionate about living here. There is beauty and inspiration all around us if we just pay attention.

13. Favorite tool to stay productive (for example, a set of watercolors, a specific planner or app, an exercise program…):  Looking at Ravelry (www.ravelry.com) each day gets my creativity flowing. I love that site! So many talented people out there.

14. Something you have learned this year?

I taught myself how to latch-hook and cross-stitch this year. I plan to start sewing clothing in the near future too. I also hope to get back into pottery, learn macrame and weaving, and even quilting at some point in my life, too. I like to keep my mind busy being creative!

15. How can people find you?

On Etsy – A Wooly Mouse www.etsy.com/shop/AWoolyMouse

Red Bubble – www.redbubble.com/people/kristaperyer
The Geek Foundation – www.thegeekfoundation.org
Make Magazine Author Page – http://makezine.com/author/kristaperyer/

16. What can people do to make the world a better place? Try to love more than hate.

17. Brag about yourself. It’s okay. If you don’t, I will.

I’m still pretty new to this being-an-artist thing as I just started crocheting last year as something to do to keep my mind busy after being diagnosed with a life-changing disease. That disease also affects my hands and other joints pretty badly and has dramatically changed my life in a short period, but, I am so incredibly thankful for my creative mind that always has new ideas flowing, and a never-ending thirst for learning.

Recent posts

  • Well Fed Head

  • Oh My Pod

  • Q&A with Andie B.

  • Q&A with Cristen J.

  • Q&A with Krista P.

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Tapioca Dance is an e-newsletter featuring creative movers & shakers, do-ers, and makers, written and curated by Nicole Chilton. Subscribe here for weekly inspiration!