We had the good fortune of connecting with Wisdom Body Collective, an artist collective working through the sacred feminine, and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wisdom Body Collective, why did you pursue a creative career?
Working creatively is deeply natural, second only to breathing. It is through the mode of creative expression that we’ve been able to reconnect with our bodies and earth, ecologically and psychologically. -Steph
I am not sure that a creative path was ever exactly a “choice.” No matter what I did throughout my early life, I was constantly called back to writing. It was a matter of embracing what I love most with open arms and mind to see where it takes me. It is the space where I feel most alive, where I feel the most myself, entering an intimate conversation with my psyche and channeling the work of other creatives and writers who inspire me. I turned to writing as a career path because it is my most genuine life and the community that holds me. I live through language. -Chris
I’ve never known anything else was a viable option to sustain life. -Amy
At some point, I realized that every job I had I turned into a creative endeavor–whether it was creating a zine with co-workers when I worked at a movie theater or incorporating elaborate art projects in the English as a foreign language classroom. I saw that no matter how hard I tried, the creative forces always found a way to express themselves. I finally decided that despite not always being able to measure the usefulness of art, it was something I could undeniably feel the potency of–and that maybe that was the point.–Emily
I chose and continue to choose a career in the arts because I believe that in art is the power of humanity; the capacity for restoration and reclamation of inner wilderness and divinity. The craft of writing and engaging my body in the artistic processes bring me immense joy. I intend to enjoy work as fully as possible and share that joy widely because life is just too short to do otherwise. -Ada
Making art feels like coming home. There were many years during which I felt like I had lost complete sense of myself—I wasn’t making or doing anything creative. And so, there finally came a moment when I decided to fully immerse my being in the language of creation. I spent a little bit of each day writing poems on scraps of paper or collaging with found materials from my walks. These tiny endeavors made me understand that I exist in tandem with art, and my existence will always be constellated by the desire and need to create. — Chloe
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
We hold the value of the divine feminine at the forefront of our creation, which makes our collective unique. The feminine translates as an experience. Locating the sacredness of femininity that lives in each person is a divine meeting of self, ancestor, earth, and the most vulnerable and precious human essence. Challenge for us roots in experiences of art and the body in a culture whose current travels in other directions and other modes–we’re not interested in creating and being in the ‘traditional’ patterns and sectors of art, society, or even feminism. We practice in process with is also a deep practice in patience on a path that may not be easy and is in no way quick, but it suits us as we grow and evolve together.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Wisdom Body Collective’s little itinerary by Stephanie Michele.
Walking is something all members of our collective connect with. Walking as meditation. Walking as a creative entry point and tool for moving thought. Denver has a plethora of funky neighborhoods, but the RINO Arts District would be our first stop. The brilliant mural alleys pop with color from local artists. The visual intake delights the senses and the people-watching atmosphere opens up pathways for writing and creativity.
-After inhaling sweet color connections, we would make our way to the Denver Botanic Gardens, located outside of Cheesman Park. I think entering by way of the park is more intimate, so I’ll include that as a note. *Note: Walk through Cheesman Park. The Botanic Gardens feature a wide variety of plant life, from the lush green hum of the Japanese Tea Gardens to the bamboo forest, to the dry native grasses and desert cacti nestled amidst unique sandscapes. The garden is a pleasurable escape in every season. In summer it teaches us how to be bright, how to absorb nutrients. In winter, it teaches us how to hold on. May the conversations and ideas that blossom there allow us to navigate the world in harmony and peace.
– Delightfully, Denver is home to several quaint and local bookstores and coffee shops, two activities that linger together in a romance. To name a few of my favorite coffee spots: Pablo’s on 6th, which is my daily dive, NOVO, Crema, Stella’s on South Pearl, and The Mutiny Information Cafe on Broadway, which houses coffee, books, records, community events, and etc. in an eclectic opening. With a heart full of aromatic sweetness, we shall venture into bookstores. Wisdom Body is full of eclectic readers and writers moving through the world, experimentally, to the beat of the sacred feminine. Diving into books is an anchor for us all. Some of my favorite book stores are Tattered Cover on Colfax, with its sprawling ballroom scenery, Book Bar, for newer reads. Mutiny Info Cafe, Kilgore Books, and Capitol Hill Books are havens for rare finds and community investment. Tuck yourself into a corner, hide behind a shelf, or strike up a conversation with a beautiful stranger, indulge.
-Great restaurants are on every corner in Denver, but I think the endless string of eateries on Colfax would suffice any appetite. Colfax is the main street that runs east-west through the city, the longest street around. One must follow their senses down this unique street trusting the body, encouraging it towards its innate sensory instincts. For brunch, we shall stop in Annie’s Cafe. For a mid-afternoon lunch, I’m thinking Gyroz, a seemingly small drive through with delicious gyros and desserts. For dinner, The Goods Restaurant, which features endless Vegan options to choose from.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our origin story is a little funny, Amy and Stephanie were at auditions for The Vagina Monologues, and suddenly wondered why we were telling stories of other women’s bodies when as writers we could and should be writing our own experiences. As Helene Cixous writes, “Women must write through their bodies, they must invent the impregnable language that will wreck partitions, classes, and rhetorics, regulations and codes, they must submerge, cut through, get beyond the ultimate reverse-discourse, including the one that laughs at the very idea of pronouncing the word “silence”.” We are grateful to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, who brought us together within our MFA Creative Writing and Poetics Program across cohorts to embrace a style of poetics that is experimental, embodied, and contemplative which charges our creative work. We wish to especially highlight the mentorship of J’Lyn Chapman and Michelle Naka Pierce who have guided us in our journey as writers and teachers and drawn us closer to the artistic lineages that inspire us.