Creative Family Series | Jenna Park of Whimsy & Spice

by , posted on August 7th, 2013 in creative family series

Jenna + Mark from Whimsy and Spice

Jenna Park’s Sweet Fine Day was one of the first blogs I ever got into. I’m not sure how I stumbled across it. Maybe a friend recommended to me or I clicked on it from one of the numerous ‘best of’ lists it’s made. Or perhaps it was through the a-may-zing confectionery shop Whimsy & Spice. Have you ever sampled their stuff? Heaven. No lie. Their brown sugar ginger spice and chocolate cardamom cookies are two of my favorites. And their marshmallows? To die for.

I guess it doesn’t really matter how I discovered it, the important thing here is, I did. And I was instantly hooked through its design, photography, and writing. It didn’t hurt that Jenna was part of a husband and wife team who have been together as long as Dave and I—it was like finding a kindred spirit.

I met up with Jenna this past June. She is just as funny, smart, talented and lovely as she appears online. In fact, I grew to love her work even more after meeting her. I asked Jenna if she’d be up for talking about creativity, since she and her husband Mark live it every day. Here’s what she said…

How do you define creativity?

Creativity can mean a lot of things – being able to problem solve, expressing yourself through visual imagery, words or sounds, generating ideas, or breathing life to an idea. Creativity doesn’t have to mean “art”. It exists in all disciplines.

whimsy and spice smores

Have you always considered yourself creative?

I have always been creative since I was kid, whether it was painting, drawing, designing and sewing clothes, making jewelry or later in college, writing music. I feel like I’m creative in a different way now, mostly because I design for a living and I’m designing for clients. I would like to get back to the kind of creativity that I was immersed in when I was younger – art for just art sake and making things with my hands. In recent years, photography has occupied that space to some degree.

creative family interview with jenna park

How do you nurture your own creativity?

I make sure to get out in the world, see and experience things, talk to people.

interview on creativity with jenna park

Did you grow up in a creative household? If so, what were some of the ways your parents nurtured your creativity and curiosity?

My parents encouraged my art all throughout my childhood and supported me 100% in going to art school for college, which I realized later as an adult wasn’t necessarily the same experience that some of my other Asian friends shared. My parents didn’t have the same interest in my music, however, when I transferred from art school to study music. They didn’t understand it.

©jenna park

How do you hope to nurture it in your kids?

I was a perfectionist when I was a kid and was always reluctant to show works in progress because I was so focused on the end product. One of my downfalls as an artist, I think, was that I was afraid of failure; it can definitely hold you back. I see similar traits of perfectionism in one of my kids and I’ve been trying to communicate that making mistakes is not a bad thing. I try to encourage being as free as you can without focusing too much on to the end product because the process itself can be just as interesting and valuable.

thoughts on nurturing children's creativity

What are some of your favorite ways to spend time together as a family?

I love exploring the city, whether it’s going to an event, a museum or just picking a neighborhood to spent the afternoon in. Luckily, there’s always something going on in NY, and many times it’s free or affordable.

interview with jenna park from whimsy and spice

How have you been able to integrate work with pursuing your creative passions?

While I have made a career out of graphic design, it has never truly been a passion. Working on our bakery business and building something that is ours has been much more creatively satisfying. Each component of building and running a business, from designing a brand, to creating the products, to marketing the company fits together like an intricate puzzle, and one that needs constant fine tuning. It’s an evolving process.

whimsy and spice home towels

What are you working on now?

I’m working with a few new clients on design projects – a fashion brand and a digital music service. We’re also working on some new products for our business for Fall and the holiday season.

©jenna park

From time to time everyone’s creative juices wane. How do you handle that? (do you do something specifically or do you just ride it out?)

I don’t force it. I find that if I do have a block while working on a design or a project, I step away and take a break. Sometimes I’ll look through art or design books and sometimes I’ll go to a museum, but even taking a walk around the neighborhood and getting a new perspective helps.

Many thanks to Jenna for being here today! I can’t wait to see her and Mark’s new products. I’m already mentally placing my Christmas gift order (and some treats for me as well, naturally)…

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6 Responses to “Creative Family Series | Jenna Park of Whimsy & Spice”

  1. Jess Abbott Says:

    August 7th, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Great read!

  2. Sandra Says:

    August 7th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Lovely and inspiring interview! And the Jackson Pollock from MOMA- as an aside, it’s being restored right now and the MOMA site has a series of posts about it.

    The photography is gorgeous too.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I love Jenna’s photography. It has such a cinematic quality to it.

  3. susan Says:

    August 8th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I’ve also been a fan of her blog (and edible delights) for some time now…thank you for this interview!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    My pleasure Susan. I’m looking forward to their holiday products! No doubt they’ll be incredible.

  4. Jenna Says:

    August 16th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Jen, didn’t realize this was posted. Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog and sharing with your readers! xo

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