mycreativelifeinterviewsOn this creative path I’ve met and become friends with many wonderful, interesting people across the world. It’s high time I introduced you to some of them.

‘My Creative Life’ is an interview series where we get an insider view of artists and their lives from different disciplines and on different stages of their own journeys. My intention is to ask questions that are perhaps a bit different from the usual – the answers to which might spark ideas or simply reassure you as you follow your own artist path.




Our first interview is with Deb Dane of Inner Compass Designs. I’m delighted to begin with her because not only have I had the pleasure of working with her, but I’ve been following her on her journey from having ‘lost’ her creative self to recovering it step by step, and building the gorgeous creative business she’s running today. She’s very real, very honest, and pours so much love and dedication into her work. And she’s no stranger to the experimental approach, and wanting to try All The Things, which so many of us can relate to. 🙂

Meet Deb….

{All emphasis is mine. And don’t forget you can highlight any part of the text to share it.}

bloom ring / inner compass designs

Tell us a little bit about your creative work in the world {whether it’s your business or your pleasure, or both!}.

After twenty years of doing no art I had a reawakening and reconnected with that part of myself. I was like a starved woman who then went to a buffet. I have now spent 3-4 years trying so many mediums and ideas out from hand lettering to mandalas to embroidery and mixed media. I guess I am still in the creative dating stages, but am not sure if I will ever commit to one medium and be focused.

In my work I have taken this newfound passion and brought it together with my writing. I have taken my words and ideas about intentional and authentic living and am bringing them to life in three dimensions. I studied silversmithing and have launched my first jewellery collection of pieces that serve as reminders of all that you are and how worthy you are of love and acceptance.

I plan to develop and create other products for home and lifestyle in the coming months and years. 

What is your favourite thing about being an actively creative person?
I love how much I learn – both in a practical sense as my skills develop, but also in how I learn so much about myself and continue to grow as a person.  As a recovering perfectionist being creative is constantly challenging that part of myself and pushing me to let go more.
third eye pendant sea glass / inner compass designs
Is there anything you wish were different? Have you learned a way to accommodate that?
I wish I had more patience and discipline so that I could be content working on one thing until proficient before moving on to something new. I am learning to find balance and set limits, but still allow for variety and exploration.
In 2016 I plan to start an art every day/365 sketchbook challenge and will use that daily discipline to tackle learning and experimenting, but with a focus on actual growth. By pushing to work on it daily I hope that I will let myself try new things knowing I only need to create something small some days. I also hope I will improve through repetition and revisiting themes or mediums through the year.
Do you have any favourite resources, books or blogs around creativity you’d recommend for inspiration or support? {Including your own!}
My favourite artists blogs and Instagram accounts are yours (yes!), Alisa Burke, Pam Garrison and Amanda Claire (her 365 sketchbook postings have inspired me to start my own).
What one easy and simple creative activity would you suggest to someone who feels like there’s no time for creativity in their life?
Join in with an Instagram challenge. The community support is great for building you up and holding you accountable.  I learn so much from others that I do not work in isolation but browse the hashtag and make connections that grow my practice in so many ways.
  • When I started participating in hand lettering challenges my lettering practice took off.
  • When I joined a quick sketch challenge I pushed myself to play even for 5 minutes a day.
  • Photo challenges get you out with your camera.
  • If you are not already self motivating then use challenges the same way non-exercisers use a trainer. Let them set the tasks and you show up!

connected small studs / inner compass designs

What’s your creative process like? Are you an all-in-one-intense-hit-then-collapse type or more of a slow and steady sort? Or something else?
I dabble on and off. Some days I do a bit of lettering then I do some drawing later. Other days I sit down and work in my art journal or on a more complex lettering piece or mandala and might spend an hour or more straight. I usually like to complete things in one sitting, but do work in sessions if my time is limited or my task is great.
What does being actively creative bring to your life that you might not have expected? 
Being actively creative unexpectedly brings connection to my life. I feel I am a part of something bigger than myself. This is both with connecting to other artists and makers and also connecting with those who receive my creations. I feel a real exchange of energy. My work almost always has meanings and stories attached so there are intentions and energy infused in everything.
It also brings release. I was always so tense and tight trying so hard to do things “right” in art and in life. Actively creating on a regular basis helps me break down that tension, get my hands dirty, learn that mistakes can be blessings and nothing is permanent. I can cover up yuck with another layer, cut up art to repurpose, experiment in real time instead of always trying to figure things out first (this is my greatest struggle creatively).
what do with your lifeHave you ever lost touch with your creative self for a long period, and if so how did you bring it back?
Yes – after being an artist all through primary and secondary school (visual arts, creative writing, photography) I was steered away from them by well intentioned teachers who deemed me not talented enough to pursue them as an adult.

I entered college (university) and never took a creative course again.

I spent twenty years with that part buried so deeply I did not even join in with my very creative kids, declaring myself “not creative”.

My first tiptoe back in was via stitching after some tapestry play with my daughter’s preschool class.

That first crack led me to observe other artists online via you tube videos for a long time while I played with colours of cotton thread.

Joining in with an art swap was the first big step I took and that required every ounce of courage, but was the beginning of the big cracking open. I never looked back after that, reclaiming time, space and resources for my developing interests. Eventually I re-appropriated my kids playroom for an art space and then my business.

I would boil all that down to vulnerability.

Let yourself be vulnerable and:

  • ask for what you want and need
  • share pieces of your creativity with someone else
  • let people in, but know that you and your art are wonderful regardless of feedback.
  • make art / create for yourself above all else.



I am a New Yorker living permanently in Australia. My work is handmade in my home studio in Brisbane. My mission in life is to spread the messages of self-compassion; wholehearted living; and that we are all connected. 

The pieces I design and create help tell a story. When you wear them, they will help you feel strong and confident, enjoy your unique life adventure, and love yourself just as you are.

Your Inner Compass Designs handmade pieces tell YOUR story and YOUR journey.

You can connect with me on instagram @innercompassdesigns or on the website blog

My weekly newsletter is where I share life lessons and inspiration for your journey of intentional and authentic living plus updates and discounts on my products.

If you have any questions or comments for Deb, or have had any ahas reading her words, please do share in the comments!