Creative Q&A: Alauna Whelan

Hello everyone! Today is a chance to meet another of my creative online friends - this time is the beautiful Alauna Whelan. Alauna and I have been online friends for several years now, connecting via Facebook business groups, and Instagram where she shares her stunning jewellery creations. I'll let her tell you more about herself and her creative life...

Hi! It's lovely to have you here, can you introduce yourself: What’s your name and where do you come from? What do you do?

Hello everyone, my name is Alauna Whelan. I was born, raised, and reside in Saskatoon, SK which is located in the western portion of Canada, often known as the prairie provinces. This September my husband and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! We have two beautiful and energetic boys, aged 8 and 5, our faithful dog, Casey, and the ruler of the house Jonathan the cat.

It was never my intention to start a business, it was something that happened very organically. With the birth of each of my boys I deepened my trust in myself, was forced to practice advocacy, embrace my intuition and find solace by turning to the metaphysical.

What I do has been a continual evolution. My background is in mining and minerals. Before we had children I worked in both potash and uranium, specifically in a lab doing quality control and quality assurance. I also did some project work and feasibility studies.

I had a horrific birth experience with my first son that resulted in PTSD which wasn’t properly diagnosed until nearly two years after my son’s birth. I returned to work after my maternity leave but had another health crisis which resulted in a nervous breakdown. I was unable to go back to work. I kept seeking answers and support from the health care system but didn’t receive the help I desperately needed. I continued to utilize what was provided while also incorporating alternative healing modalities, such as aromatherapy, crystals, cranial sacral therapy, homeopathy, astrology, and self-regulation therapy.

Through it all I was very open with others about the trauma I experienced and my journey towards reclaiming my life. This actually cultivated deep connections with women in my local community. Sharing openly and vulnerably about our truth and lived experiences was profound, it lessened our burdens.

After my second son was born I began providing postpartum services and herbal products. It was such an honor to support women during their transition into motherhood. After my youngest son turned two, I began searching for a piece of crystal jewelry that could represent my journey. Despite my best attempts I couldn’t find what I was looking for. A friend gifted me a tray of beads and tools and I began creating pieces for myself. I slowly began transitioning away from postpartum work and into jewelry.

The original talisman necklace was the piece that started it all for me. From there friends and family began requesting pieces for themselves; my focus began with custom design and just snowballed from there.

I currently offer one-of-a-kind crystal and silver jewelry, and botanical candles. I am thrilled to be weaving my love of aromatherapy into my products.

After years of therapy and healing I am finally in a place to consistently offer something of beauty to the world. I meld crystals, storytelling, folklore, aromatherapy, botanicals, and affirmations into my work. The modalities that brought me immense comfort during my darkest days are now the foundation of all that I offer.

(Wow Alauna, that is quite some journey to where you are now, and I love how you've been able to assimilate every experience into the beautiful work you do now, and the support you offer to other women.)

Photos from Alauna Whelan

What’s your personal definition of Creativity? What does it look and feel like in your life?

For me creativity is an intimate act of unwavering devotion. It is the space in which I continually show up and am connected to something far greater and vaster than myself.

I feel as if I am just a vessel or channel that creativity pours through. I get caught up in the possibilities of what can be created, getting lost for hours making items and then can’t recall the pieces I have made or the stories that accompanied them once they leave my hands.

I adore the process of catching an idea and bringing it to fruition. The step-by-step process of crystallizing the idea into a physical item. Once it is finished I reflect on how to make it better by honing and refining my process. This is where my background in quality control and operating procedures really helps me :)

(Oh that is so beautiful! An intimate act of unwavering devotion... And I love that you can savour that space of flow, and then meld heart and mind by reflecting and learning.)

Apart from in your work or business, how do you let your creative side out to play?

Every week or two I treat myself to fresh florals. I am a homebody so having a home that is comfortable and inviting is always a priority for me.  A number of years ago I took on the task of applying feng shui to our home. I adore being surrounded by beautiful art and midcentury design, so I make a point of investing in vintage pieces and art that I love. We have far more art than family photos in our home, most of it created by amazing women!

A large part of creativity, for me, is connecting with nature. My children are the fourth generation to spend summers at the family cottage. It is there that I feel most connected and replenished. Watching my children play and make memories is the ultimate reward for being a parent. Collecting rocks, seashells, foraging for botanicals, and swimming in the water fills my soul with immense joy.

(Fresh flowers are such a beautiful and easy thing to treat ourselves to aren't they? And making your home space a sanctuary of positive energy and a place you love to be is so precious. The idea of connecting with your family legacy as well as with nature is wonderful, and I totally agree about swimming and collecting little treasures too.)

 Photos from  Alauna Whelan

Photos from Alauna Whelan

Have you always felt creative? Have there been times when you’ve struggled with it?

As a young child, I loved crocheting and drawing pictures for loved ones. For a good portion of my late teens and 20s I shut down and cut myself off from creative pursuits. I felt that career, income, and ambition mattered most. Interestingly, that was a time in my life when I felt quite lost. I kept striving but couldn’t find contentment.

Having experienced the absolute destruction that trauma imparts, I had no other choice than to build from nothing. I slowly rebuilt my life, embracing creation and my own femininity, whether that was through my children, a sewing project, my marriage, my wonderfully supportive husband, our home, a warm meal, a perfect cup of tea, making homemade soap and lotion, an indulgent aromatic soak in the tub, buying a pretty crystal, or collecting tarot decks.

It’s in those moments of pause that I cultivated presence, which allowed me to connect with the divine. I now seem to have no shortage of ideas and my creativity is always bubbling away. I do fear that one day it will dry up, so I often frantically jot down my ideas in a journal so I have a reserve to draw upon.

(I think many of us can relate to feeling cut off from creativity as we try to find our way in the world of work, and so many of us also find joy in rediscovering those childhood pursuits, or learning new ones. Those little moments are so precious - and I'm exactly the same about writing down ideas before they disappear!)

Where do you find inspiration? Who or what do you look out for?

I find inspiration everywhere! I am deeply blessed to be surrounded with such talented friends and fellow creatives. I always admire those who have some grit and aren’t afraid of showing their vulnerabilities. I long for authenticity and realness, for watching people heal through their art. Spending time with women fuels me, it comforts and nourishes me on so many levels.

My boys remind me how to be resourceful and persistent (much to my own demise, lol!). Their innocence acts as a reminder for me to slow down and live in the moment. My overwhelming drive and ambition needs to be tempered. They have helped me to embrace imperfection and learn to practice gentleness with myself.

Lastly nature, I always gain so much wisdom from mother earth. Her seasons, her cycles, her ability to nourish seeds, grow, blossom, and release.

It was so difficult to narrow it down to a few people that inspire me, here is a short list of a few of my faves:

@flint_feather_photography - Jenna and I connected shortly before she moved a few provinces over to British Columbia. Her photography moves me, she captures nature in a way that resonates deep within my bones. She actually did the photos for my elemental line of jewelry. We often DM back and forth over what books we are reading and sending pics of quotes that fuel us.

@janeswildheart - Carolyn’s photography showcases her adventurous spirit, gooey heart, adoration of her mom, and love of nature. I just love and admire everything about her!

@paperocelot - Mahshed reminds me to slow down and take in the beauty of textures. She designed the labels and custom wax seals that adorn my packaging. Her creativity and vision continually inspire me.

@lisamcloughlinart - Lisa’s Textured Tarot cards have been a staple for me lately. I love her gorgeous textile art and the messages from the cards are like a balm to my soul.

@lvnea - I love her moody photography and her botanical perfumes are delicious!

@sweetspiritapothecary- Demetra’s products are full of love, she is an amazing creatrix! She lives my dream life at her lakeside cabin with her partner Colin, foraging and making potions.

@needle_and_pink - Stef is such an amazing mom and someone who pushes me to be more present with my own kiddos. I love following her stories and watching her little one’s grow. Her authenticity and realness sheds light on the challenges of juggling family, health challenges, and running a home based business.

(Goodness what a list of incredible women! I'm going to enjoy checking out all their Instagram feeds, and I'm sure my readers will too!)

 Photo from  Alauna Whelan

Photo from Alauna Whelan

What top three tips would you offer a nervous creative?

  • Journal first thing in the morning. Do a big brain dump on paper and you’ll be amazed at how much better your day goes.
  • Just do it! Don’t worry so much, forge ahead with an idea and don’t cling to how you think it should be. Waiting for something to be perfect is the fastest way to NEVER do it. Often times it won’t be the end result you expected but the experience you gain from pushing forward will make you wiser, more confident, and more capable of doing it again. I think of all the projects I created and how they didn’t take off, but the experience I gained was priceless. So much so that I am still drawing on it! Bravery and courage can be a great substitute for confidence ;)
  • Stop comparing and take breaks. Unfollow people who make you feel less than. Find the people who you can relate to and admire. Know that nobody knows what the hell they’re doing. We are all muddling through the dark. It’s important to keep our eyes on our own lane and put energy into creating for ourselves, that means knowing our own limits and boundaries. When we compare, we lose focus and disperse the energy we could be using to fuel our own gifts. Never discount the power of unplugging, having a real life chat with a good friend, and tending to your needs.

(Such great advice Alauna, thank you. It's certainly true that with the constant presence of social media these days, it's so easy to fall into the comparison trap and forget about what's right for us. Letting go of the outcome is also something I'm still learning to do myself - we can get so fixed on wanting a particular result, instead of making space for something that might be even better. And yes, always always write stuff down!)

Where can we find you online?

Website: alaunawhelan.com

Instagram: @alaunawhelan

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alauna.whelan

(Wonderful, thank you so much Alauna, it's been an absolute pleasure to hear more about you, your work, and your creative life - I wish you well for whatever comes next!)

 Photo from  Alauna Whelan

Photo from Alauna Whelan

I hope you've enjoyed reading this Q&A, and I'd encourage you to go and check out some of Alauna's links - her jewellery truly is gorgeous! I look forward to introducing you to another amazing creative soon, but for now - have a fabulous creative day!


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