Today I’m chatting with Barclay Martin, another in person real life friend (and no relation to Talyn Martin from a couple episodes ago).

I met Barclay just as I was planning to leave Vancouver Island – and felt so sad. She and her partner Donovan Rose are kindred spirits, living in the Cowichan Valley running The Ou Gallery.

The Ou hosts creative workshops, events & artist residencies – which is one way that Barclay brings the colours of the world back to her, and to the Island.

Before creating The Ou Gallery, Barclay’s love for travel, languages, & art has led her on a wonderful journey all over the world, from dancing on the Ghanaian coast, to traveling through Mexico with a circus performer, to studying International Development in England, making videos about colourful chalk in Bosnia, stuffing her face with ‘pain au chocolats’ while living in the North of France & creating Inside Out murals with youth & mothers in Peru.

It was so fun to reconnect with this friend and learn even more about her, and I’m pretty sure you’ll feel the same way after listening in.

Enjoy our ramble through the childhood story Possum Magic (and The Twits) as well as Barclay’s relationship with her body and creativity.

Resources from this episode:

Connecting with Barclay:

Connecting with Janelle:

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Things we chatted about in this episode:

  • on having difficulty recalling any ancient tale or fairytale, but remembering how her parents read her a bedtime story every night
  • chose the children’s storybook Possum Magic, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
  • stories about grandparents have always been so important because of growing up with grandparents around
  • themes of nostalgia, family and connection have always resonated
  • also loves the children’s book The Twits, by Roald Dahl
  • themes of retribution and getting back on awfulness
  • on how interesting memory is, and how to differentiate fake memories from real memories
  • memories of her grandmother’s ugly elbow and how she fed her doughnuts, and memories of her grandfather’s way of feeding wildlife peanuts and eating carrots from the garden with her
  • from The Twits – the idea that if you have bad thoughts you’re going to be ugly
  • on having huge glasses and a bad haircut and feeling like the ugly duckling and being mistaken for a boy as a kid
  • tries to come back to the positive things in life
  • relationship with creativity
  • on having a hard time lately, being mentally blocked and having trouble playing
  • feels like prying open a box she’d slammed shut for a couple years
  • getting back into her creativity feels almost painful because of not making time for it
  • grew up with an artist mom who was great about reminding her to play and be creative
  • often gets serious and puts pressure on herself
  • play feels like big colours, and being by herself, and starting over/whitewashing canvas
  • it doesn’t have to be tangible to feel like creative play
  • creativity feels very connected to how she’s feeling in her body
  • relationship with body
  • On thinking her biggest regret later in life will likely be that she didn’t dance as often as she wanted to
  • on not having enough opportunities to go out dancing in our dominant Canadian culture
  • on dance and movement and traveling in other cultures where dancing is more culturally acceptable
  • the deep destruction of colonialism
  • how dancing is the easiest way into playfulness in her body
  • on writing a letter to her body about how heavy she’s been feeling about her treatment of her body
  • on realizing the power of what your body can do
  • on going through a phase of hiding and repressing and shutting down her body
  • on trying to tell that repressive critical voice to go shove it!
  • on forgiving herself for doing that to her body too
  • on having had employers where she was choosing clothing to cover up and be careful around them
  • on raising a daughter and trying to keep her safe as she becomes a woman (Janelle)
  • on coming of age before the internet and smartphones were prevalent (Janelle)
  • on studying fashion magazines trying to be ‘pretty’ and ‘figure it out’ (Janelle)
  • on teen girls crafting selfies that are designed to look voyeuristic (Janelle)
  • on getting sucked into looking at pictures of beautiful people online
  • how teen girls have a ‘public’ profile and a ‘secret’ profile on their social media accounts
  • on paring down ‘followers’ and controlling who has access to her photos and information about her life
  • on the ego-thing of having your birthday public on facebook