NEWSFLASH! Introducing Creative Challenge 52

The 30 day Creative Challenge was so much fun that we've decided to continue, albeit in a slightly different form. We've signed up for a year of creative madness, and we'll be reporting on our creative progress each week. It's my very great pleasure to introduce you to the Creative Challenge 52 team today, and to give you a sneak preview of the wealth of creativity you can expect to see in the coming year.

Trish Urquhart


Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire, has exciting creative plans for the coming year.

  • Her main focus will be to cook creatively, often simply, with the food she and Richard Beynon grow in their garden in Johannesburg and while on their narrow boat, Patience, in the UK. Trish and Richard are expecting to spend about half of next year on their boat, perhaps between March and September, so we can expect some interesting nautical contributions. This challenge just gets better and better.
  • Trish is planning to work on her photography to gain better control of the results she gets. And she may even attempt a few little video clips later in the year. Bring it on, I say.
  • She's also determined to post weekly additions to her food blog. That's very good news for those of us who follow her.
  • Trish and Richard have some big interior decorating projects planned - both for their home in Johannesburg and for Patience (the boat, not the virtue, although if my experience with renovations is anything to go by, I suspect they'll need the latter).
  • They're also planning some work in their garden. If we're lucky we'll get an insider's view.
  • Allaboutwriting is exploring the possibility of hosting a writer's retreat in Venice in September of next year. Trish is still researching options and may end up staying in a hotel, but she's hoping to find a suitable serviced apartment so she indulge her cooking passion, Venice style. Fancy a trip to Venice to get in touch with your inner muse?
  • Trish may be traveling to produce documentaries for Left-Eye Productions, and she's hoping to bring us some exotic creations from distant places.
  • Last, but definitely not least - contain your excitement - Trish is planning to turn her year of sublime cooking into a book of some kind. Sign me up for a pre-order of that! It's going to be an awesome year.

Telena Routh

Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, also has big plans and it's going to be thrilling to see her creative output over the coming year.

  • Firstly, she wants to branch out into larger wearables. This has certainly gotten me intrigued and I feel a commission coming on.
  • Telena is planning to learn some new techniques and, to that end, she's enrolled in the Contextart Forum in the Blue Mountains next year, where she'll be taking a class with Majolein Dallinga who makes costumes for Cirque du Soleil - Cirque du Soleil, I tell you! Telena has also signed up for an online felted bag workshop, so there's going to be no shortage of interesting creations coming out of her studio this year.
  • As if all that weren't enough, Telena intends to continue creating for the regular exhibitions put on by the North Shore Craft Group. In her ample spare time, she'll be teaching, examining and maintaining her regular oboe practise. Anyone feeling tired by all this incredible productivity?
Telena Routh with one of her amazing creations

Telena Routh with one of her amazing creations

Kanen Breen

If you followed our 30 day Creative Challenge then you'll be expecting a lot of colour from Kanen Breen in the coming year. You won't be disappointed. Here are his glittering plans:

  • He's going to transform his Potts Point studio apartment from a cluttered mess into an organised art space. When you're finished, Kanen, could you please come over to my place?
  • He's going to investigate DIY ways to maximise the space itself and the storage capacity within.
  • He's going to focus on larger projects like furniture restoration, wall papering (do they make sequined wall paper?) and tiling.
  • And he plans to use sequins, glitter, fabric and feathers to transform his abode in line with his artistic vision. This is going to be a sight to behold. I can't wait to see this project as it progresses towards its inevitable sparkling conclusion.
The one and only Kanen Breen.

The one and only Kanen Breen.

Stephen Bennett

Stephen Bennett likes a good challenge and his plans for the coming year are brimming with creative life.

Steve's selfie. No selfie is complete without a feature cockatiel

Steve's selfie. No selfie is complete without a feature cockatiel

  • His main creative focus is going to be on writing limited range songs for young singers. It's not always easy to find interesting repertoire to suit young or beginning voice students, and Steve plans to target that niche with his composition.
  • A keen and skilled guitarist, Steve's also planning to write some music for guitar with various other instruments, as takes his fancy.
  • He's got some wood working projects he wants to complete. This is great news for our household because he makes fabulous furniture.
  • He's thinking about learning how to wood carve. This I would really like to see.
  • Inspired by my improvements over the 30 day creative challenge, he's planning to pick up a pencil and learn how to draw.
  • In keeping with a lifetime of photographic output, he wants to continue his ongoing struggle to produce fine art photographs. My job list looks like getting limited attention this year. I guess there's a downside to everything.

Georgia Bennett

Georgia Bennett

Georgia Bennett

Georgia Bennett is embarking on this creative challenge to really focus on her singing and songwriting. I'm a huge fan of her work (completely unbiased, you understand) and I can't wait to listen to more of her songs.

  • Georgia intends to continue writing and recording her songs. If her previous output is anything to go by, she's going to be prolific in the coming year.
  • She wants to speed up the development process to get her finished product ready in less time.
  • She's going to work on her video and audio recording techniques. She's been recording herself completely raw to date, with very low sound levels and not even a hint of reverb. Time to take her recordings to the next level.
  • She's going to put together a repertoire of cover songs (in addition to her original material, which forms her core creative output) to perform at live gigs.
  • She's planning to learn to sew her own clothes.
  • She wants to experiment in the kitchen to come up with some new vegan baking recipes - she's a very creative cook.

Scarlet Bennett

Like my wonderful creative challenge colleagues, I've got big plans for the coming year. Always prone to taking on too much, I haven't used this occasion as an opportunity to break with tradition.

  • I have one novel finished and two others at roughly the half way point. I plan to finish both in-progress novels in the coming year and I'll report on my word count here.
  • Still on a writing theme, I'm trying to muster the courage to write and post some short fiction during Creative Challenge 52. I've never been a short fiction writer. Although I've tinkered with short stories, I'm much more comfortable with the longer form. So this is a real challenge for me. I've starting psyching myself up for it.
  • Encouraged by the progress I made during our 30 day challenge, I'm going to really work this year at improving my child-like drawing skills. You may as well know up front, however, that there's really only one subject I want to be able to draw: horses. I'm a huge fan of artist, Kim McElroy. Her pastel drawings of horses are quite magical (check out her incredible work here). She captures everything I feel in relationship with horses and she's created a DVD called The Secrets of Drawing Horses. I've ordered the DVD and I'll be recording my progress using Kim's methods over the coming year. The usual caveats apply, of course. Full credit to Kim, responsibility for sub-optimal results rests entirely with me...
  • I'm going to continue using sterling silver, semi-precious gemstones and, occasionally, copper to fabricate hand made jewellery.
  • I'm embarking on a year long urban farming adventure and I've committed myself to producing organic food and flowers on our Canberra suburban plot all year round. Given Canberra's weather conditions, this is not a task for the faint-hearted. See details of my urban farming project here.
Scarlet with Mister Mo, who passed away on 25 June 2014. Together in the dam he loved to splash around in.

Scarlet with Mister Mo, who passed away on 25 June 2014. Together in the dam he loved to splash around in.