Artist Spotlight: {Eye} Wonder Workshops + Giveaway

Eileen Nishi by Thea Coughlin
I had the pleasure of meeting Eileen Nishi, creator of {eye} wonder workshops, last fall at Squam.  She is incredibly talented and full of inspiration.  I participated in her class last fall and learned so much about my self and my creative journey.  I am pleased to introduce you to her and her workshops.  Please welcome Eileen from {eye} wonder workshops.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a global "waker", enlivening and inspiring others as an insightful photographer, e-course instructor, loyal friend, mixed-media artist, blogger, mom of two hilarious boys, and believer in the universe.
How did you get started in photography?
I took a photography class when I was about 10 at my alternative elementary school in Eugene, Oregon.  I remember learning about how to load film into our cameras (35mm), and how to process our black & white prints in the darkroom.  Looking back I can’t believe we were using all those chemicals!  As an adult I picked up a camera again about 6 years ago when I was navigating a rough time in my life.  I had decided to start a blog, and told myself that a good blog had to have good photos.  And to take good photos I needed a good camera.  I’ve been taking pictures ever since!
How did you come up with the name {eye} wonder workshops?
I have two boys (11 & 14), and along my journey as a curious Mom I’ve found myself on countless occasions saying “I Wonder . . .?”  When I was brainstorming for class names that popped into my head and it was just right!
What is your favorite photo that you have taken?
Urban Laundry by Eileen Nishi
This was one of the first photos I took with my new camera years ago, and I love it because it is an image that begs to tell a story.  Whose pants are those?  And how did they get there?  Additionally, I think I had to climb on a trash-can to get this shot – and when I look at it I’m reminded that it’s OK to do things a little outside my comfort zone to get pictures I love!
Why is the intuitive process important when documenting daily life?
Life doesn’t come with an owner’s manual, so my belief is that if you can learn to use your intuition when approaching photography, it will in turn help you navigate your life journey as well.
How or where do you gather inspiration?

1.  Spend time with kids.   I know not everyone has kids, and not everyone even likes kids – but if you have the opportunity to spend a little time with some nieces & nephews, or maybe your friends’ kids, or even volunteer in a classroom from time to time?  I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away having learned something new or feeling inspired to get in touch with your inner child!
2.  Move – Sometimes I find the easiest way to get inspired (& get un-stuck!) is just to MOVE.  A quick walk around the neighborhood or several laps around the track down the street, some simple yoga stretches or just shaking my arms & legs around can get my creative juices flowing.

3.  Expose Yourself to Art –  Go to museums, galleries, libraries, and keep your eyes peeled for public art.  Inspiration can hit when you least expect it.
What do you wish the participants will gain from taking your workshop?
I want my students to learn how to slow down and really see the world around them, which will help them capture photographs they are really excited about.  The class includes some personal growth prompts and projects as well – which are a big part of the process.   If they walk away with a new way of seeing the world and seeing how they are being in it?  I will be thrilled! 
by Eileen Nishi
You work full time, you are a mother to two boys, and you run workshops.  What advice do you have for other women when they are on the fence about taking your class?
My approach to e-courses is to carve out a little time in the evenings or weekends when there is a break in the chaos to watch the class videos or devote some time to the assignments.  My kids are at an age where they are pretty self-sufficient, so of course that helps.  I don’t give a lot of homework in my class – and I think the projects I do assign are one’s that can easily be done at any time if my students want to take notes & practice on their own later.  The idea is that they’ll be gaining lifelong skills – so if someone doesn’t get a chance to do the assignment or post their photos . . . they can still get something out of it.
Do participants have to come to your class with special knowledge or equipment?
No!  In fact, my belief is that good photos are a product of the person behind the camera (rather than the equipment), so no fancy cameras are necessary.  You can even use your phone!
What is your next big project?  Anything bubbling?
The winter months are when I do my best brainstorming, and at the moment I’ve got a few ideas that are rising to the top.  I’d love to teach at an art retreat in person, and also add another class (or two!) to the series of {eye} wonder workshops.  I’ll keep you posted!  


The next session of {eye} wonder :: intuitive photography for everyday people will start on April 1st, and go through May 10th. As a bonus, there will be an extra week of class added to the curriculum (it used to be 5 weeks, now it’s 6)!

In addition, Eileen is offering a FREE SPOT in her class to one lucky reader. 

To enter, leave us a comment below and tell us why you think you deserve a spot in {eye} wonder workshops. You have until March 1st to enter. The winner will be announced March 4th.

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