We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Muscoplat and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amy, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
I have many, but here is one. It’s the simple adage that ‘wherever I go, there I am.’ I try to remember that, even if a vacation feels great for a change of pace, there are often no true geographic cures. Happiness and even calm, are inside-jobs and that is daily project I’m glad to be “working” on! Truly.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I began as a librarian who worked in family and children’s programming, then adult programming; always teaching and making crafts, and teaching writing on the side. I also did private reference librarian work on the side. Eventually, I finished an MFA in creative writing, got more professional experience teaching paper crafting arts and making and selling handmade cards. I started to focus on planning large scale, interactive programs that focused on wellness and helping people find the joy in their everyday lives. Or, programs that were aimed at helping people to find what led them to their own resources for finding calm, mindfulness and wellbeing.

The process was quite organic. I focused on what could help other people, while working part-time in the public library and teaching writing classes while Joyfestival Industries was growing. One thing I consistently taught and loved to make myself was handmade greeting cards (and the art and intent of letter writing, ie how to express yourself best in a card!)
People love this, because making handmade cards, especially if you have a specific recipient in mind when you’re making them, can be very therapeutic. And, finding easy ways to reach out and touch others with one’s written words speaks to so many of us these days!

Along the way, I learned that I love teaching mindful journaling (expressive/therapeutic writing) and designing spaces and exhibits where people can explore concepts for “finding their happy.” There is no one book or system or approach to finding the key that helps people find what speaks to them for their personal happiness, joy, calm, positivity, gratitude, mindfulness and/or “being in the flow.” It’s an individualized process and I want to help people with programs and resources that allow them to find their own creative outlets: to spark the flint that allows them to shine forth their inner goodness, talents and joys.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of the great things in this town is the beach, so I’d suggest we set aside a lot of time for activities down by the ocean. One time, we might make a big picnic basket of good food, making sure to include some great locally made chocolate in addition to regular food (think John Kelly Chocolates). We’d head down to the Annenberg Beach House beach area for a sunset picnic.

Another time, we could spend the day by the water, rent stand up paddle boards and enjoy the view of the ocean and mountains and hopefully see some dolphins passing by in the waves. We could rent beach cruisers and bike up and down the bike path and head back to get a drink or some refreshments at the Back to the Beach Cafe, with our chairs sunk down into the sand.

Going hiking on Los Liones trail is a great workout and gorgeous view from the top. It makes a fun way to see the coast from up above. Friends who’ve joined me before always love this one!

Wandering around the Huntington Gardens is another fave, followed by a good meal at Real Food Daily.

Chocolate tours at Letterpress Chocolates on Robertson Boulevard have reopened this month, so that would be a neat way to enjoy seeing LA and my out of town guests would “learn more” about our favorite dessert!

Lastly, we might gather with a bunch of friends and head to Paint Lab in Santa Monica, where we could paint together in their outdoor studio area while everyone catches up with each other.

All in all, it would be a fabulous week!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve really had great mentors in this town and in life: I have to say that being in the library field for over 25+ years has allowed me to meet wonderful people with a wide breadth of experience. That being said, I have to thank the U.S. Peace Corps for giving me two-plus great years overseas in the Republic of Kiribati many, many moons ago, which I think solidified in me the need to remember that it’s always about the human connection. That’s been one of my great loves in working with the fabulous patrons here in Santa Monica and Los Angeles. You get to meet interesting people who add richness to your life.

All of my students in the Mindful Journaling for Health & Healing workshops, the participants in JOYFESTS, Happiness Rooms and ‘Creative Card Making with Amy Muscoplat’ classes, in person and online, have each taught me something and helped me to become better as a teacher and facilitator and to grow as a person.

I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with amazing family and friends, most especially my wonderful husband, who nurtured my faith in what I was trying to do and would, in the early days, volunteer to help at programs I would produce. My grandmother always believed in and encouraged me to pursue positivity in life and she continues to model never slowing down in working to help others, to be kinder, and to keep one’s mind engaged in learning and giving.

Website: https://www.joyfestivalindustries.com

Instagram: @joyfestivalindustries

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amymuscoplat/

Other: Pinterest: @jofyestivalindustries Handmade Card Gallery: https://joyfestivalindustries.com/gallery/

Image Credits
Amy Muscoplat

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