News

May Meeting Recap: Inspiration and Creativity

By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern

On May 11, we welcomed three creative women to our monthly meeting: Henna Veitch, a jewelry designer; Betty Sayn-Wittgenstein, a chocolatier; and Natale Adgnot, a visual artist. They joined us to discuss creativity and share their stories of following their dreams to become creators.

Henna Veitch saw her opportunity to change her path and launch her jewelry business when she moved to Tokyo 18 months ago. She originally started a corporate job in the science field by “accident,” since there were no textile jobs in her native UK. But she knew that job wasn’t what she was truly passionate about. The support from her family and another “accident” upon arriving in Japan — breaking her ankle and forcing her into isolation at home — fed her creativity, leading her to begin Design by Henna.

Betty Sayn-Wittgenstein also found herself at a turning point when the bank she was working at went bankrupt and was acquired by another company. She decided to get away from the laptops, cellphones, and desk work, and instead found herself applying for an internship at a chocolate atelier. She immersed herself in life at the atelier, discovering a new world and a newfound sense of freedom through her chocolate creations. What she didn’t know was that her 6 week ‘just for fun’ internship would turn into 7 years, a passion, and a new career. She is now gearing up to open a storefront for Passion Chocolat in Tokyo.

Natale Adgnot had been creative from her childhood, and the feedback she got when she was young fueled her passion. She faced a minor setback when it came to entering the college of her dreams, but she managed to convince her parents and majored in graphic design, studying samples that her grandmother, an interior designer, had left behind. A chance meeting on an airplane led her to internships in Washington, D.C., allowing her to meet people from around the world and kick-start her life as an artist. Natale now exhibits her artworks in galleries throughout Tokyo.

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Upon being asked if the process of creativity was solitary and how it felt, all three women had different answers. Henna said that because there are so many different mediums of expressing creativity, not all of it is solitary. For her, the process is exhilarating and a sort of high. Betty added that the process of creating is in fact a social one as she gets to meet inspiring people in her field. She also mentioned that seeing her clients smiling after buying her chocolate makes her happy and motivated. Natale agreed that you need to be introspective to find your authentic self, but rather than a high, the process of creativity was a moment of peace for her, allowing herself to tune everything out and focus on her art.

While parting with their own pieces can be difficult, all three women agreed that parting with their creations legitimizes their work. Natale explained that she enjoys imparting happiness to other people, rather than keeping the works of art to herself. Betty agreed that she always tries to make a recipe better every single time for her clients’ enjoyment. Henna also enjoys making custom pieces that incorporate the stories of her clients. Each woman expresses a part of herself by sharing her work. As Natale said, sometimes you need to plant seeds and hope that they will grow, even if you won’t be there to see the fruit. You have to hope that somehow you are making a difference with your actions, work, and creativity.

Creativity is a phenomenon where something new and valuable is created. We are all capable of it. Curiosity is what leads to creativity, allowing you to discover something in yourself that you didn’t know was in you.

We are excited to see where Henna, Betty, and Natale’s paths will take them next and hope that they will continue to inspire and share their creativity and beautiful work.

Stay curious, stay creative.

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