Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Crystal Bowden from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Dream State” in our eighth issue!
Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?
Crystal: Giving myself the space and time to sit with ideas is essential for my creative practice. Also, reading is a constant source for me. Books live inside me, changing how I think and what I know. That inevitably bleeds its way into my work.
Poetry and collage are how I express myself and draw on my relationship with others in the most collective sense. In this way, each poem or collage I create tells a different story through interiority. I hope people find their own stories buried within the layers.
Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?
Crystal: Too many to list for sure! Honestly, I find women ridiculously inspirational. Every time I see another woman doing something amazing, whether it’s a creative endeavor or not, I feel uplifted. I feel stronger. We all have so much potential within us that at any given time is being suppressed, both externally and internally; all I can think is BRAVO. Get it. We’ve got this.
Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?
Crystal: As humans, everything we are is rooted in the natural world, so I find that connectedness essential to my work. I love to make a study of nature. I’m an avid bird watcher – my yard is full of feeders! Peterson Field Guides and the App Seek are great for identifying things I cannot put a name to.
Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?
Crystal: I’m a pen and paper person when it comes to writing. And I rarely write poems at the start, even though poems are all I write. Instead, I like to get my ideas and thoughts down loosely on the page before I ever try to turn them into something more structured and coherent. These usually look like lists more than anything else. Then I’ll take those ideas and start arranging and structuring them into a poem. Only after that will I move the poem from my writer’s notebook into a digital document for revisions. It’s best if I take some time between the original writing and revisions, so I lose some of my sentimental attachment to the original and view it more objectively.
When I create visual arts, I hardly ever go into a piece knowing my overarching goals or what will happen in the artwork. Instead, the process is intuitive and generally driven by mood and whatever is currently sitting heavily in my brain. Those inform my decisions, whether the color palette, imagery, or composition. I try not to overthink these things and let myself flow.
Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?
Crystal: Currently, I’m working on a manuscript for my first poetry chapbook titled, Before the Exhale. The title comes from a line in my poem, Middle Spaces, about all the ways we live in between one thing and the next. These show up in my work in numbered and varied ways, and you’ll see this throughout Before the Exhale.
Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?
Crystal: For other poets, I highly recommend the book, Glitter in the Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing, by Mindi Nettifee. For those who love reading poetry, read Lord of the Butterflies, by Andrea Gibson.
Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?
Crystal: I regularly publish in magazines! You can keep up with new individual publications by following me on social media. You’ll find my work included in upcoming issues from The Spring City Journal and Pile Press.
Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?