Last year we took a few weeks off to travel to one of our favourite places, Bali. While we were there we stopped in at Deus Temple of Enthusiasm, Canggu. As we were wandering around admiring all their amazing motorbikes, we found ourselves out the back where they shape surfboards. We noticed some amazing Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards and then we noticed Joel Fitzgerald. What a lucky day, to catch Joel and his beautiful wife Chrystal at work designing and shaping their boards. They were so lovely, they took time out of their day to chat with us. We talked about the process you go through, from design to finish, to shape a board. You could see they are passionate about what they do. We have kept in contact with Joel and Chrystal and the journey that they are on and are excited to share a bit of that with you. Chrystal has taken the time to chat with us about her life, passions, creativity, designs and ideas about community and collaboration.
ROAR: You are a woman of many creative talents such as filmmaking, photography, design, craft, surfing and more. Were these passions instilled in you growing up? Who played a role in supporting your creativity?
Chrystal: Thank you for your kind words and proposing such thoughtful questions. It is an honour for me to respond and although I have yet to see myself in some of these ways I am living into it :) In answer to your first question; Yes art and craft were instilled in me at a very young age. My mother Julia read to my sister Leilani and I every day, and when my grandmother Heather was visiting she too would tell us stories. Storytelling and playing outdoors were our primary sources of joy and entertainment. When we weren't horse back riding, building forts or adventuring my sister Leilani and I were at the public library. I also had the rich Hawaiian culture around me from an early age.
Making flower leis, wreaths, ti leaf skirts, singing songs, dancing and just talking story were also big parts of my childhood. These traditions continue to be a source of creative strength and inspiration for me.
My mother played an integral role in my creative development and still does. She always supported me in all that I wanted to do and enrolled me in sewing, piano, hula and theater classes to see what I enjoyed most. She always made time for me and asked me what I wanted to do. Sports and arts were and still are far more interesting to her then my socialistic achievements.
During my early life there were a few caring teachers that encouraged me, however the people that fostered and helped me develop my love for film and visual story telling were from the Academy for Creative Media, at the University of Hawaii. Which is where I received my Bachelors of Arts in Creative Media and how I initially came to Australia in 2006. Presently, my mother, sister, friends, and husband Joel continue to support me in all of my creative pursuits.
ROAR: Where did you grow up and how did your environment play a role in making you who you are today?
Chrystal: I was raised by my mother Julia alongside my sister Leilani in the Ka'u desert on the island of Hawai'i' for most of my youth. It was there in the Wild landscape of Pele's lava trail that I was home schooled in a community of like minded individuals. In this fringe community, down dirt roads, we lived 'off the grid', no running water, or electricity, and at times without four walls. Less distractions made this natural lifestyle integral in the preservation and nurturing of my creativity and imagination. Hence my childhood has and continues to shape my personal development.
ROAR: What are some creations and designs that you have been involved in recently and currently that you are excited and passionate about?
Chrystal: Recently I have been involved in the creative design of surfboards, short films and my own personal art. Of these what is bringing me much joy are my dreamcatchers, which I hand-craft from primarily recycled, repurposed, vintage and found beach treasures. I am also involved in the creative processes within my husband and business partner Joel Fitzgerald's surfboards. Vintage fabrics, color, texture, anything old that has a life and story, enchant and excite me.
On the film side I have been inspired by the collective up rising of women, by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and the company I keep. Lauren L Hill and I worked on a short video a few months ago and that has inspired me to tell more of my own stories, something that I have known for a long time was coming. This is exciting time in my life as I am stepping out in new ways. Here is a link to the project that I am currently developing 'Vignettes of the Slide' it is like life ever evolving :)
ROAR: We have noticed that you collaborate with and support other creative inspirational people. Tell us your thoughts on collaboration and community and give us a couple of examples where you have seen this flourish in your local community.
Chrystal: We are designed for community. The people I surround myself with are all my mentors and profound sources of inspiration. Examples of successful collaborations are prevalent in the Byron Bay community. An example close to me is the collaboration between Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards and artist/laminator Matt Yates. Some beautiful one of a kind surfboards that are truly works of art have been the result. Another example is the Byron Bay Surf Festival, which is what I believe to be a collaborative event. There are many other local examples in the fashion, and arts community here in the shire as well. The numbers of collaborations are growing all the time as people see the mutual benefit of sharing skills, trading, being of service.
ROAR: We see you as a great role model for young women. What is some advice you would give to girls growing up trying to figure out who they are and what they what to give and achieve in life?
Chrystal: The advice I have for growing girls is to truly follow your heart, be brave with this following and always always trust your intuition. I also encourage you to remember that God lives in each of us and we all have the power to reach the dreams of purpose, which we are given. Rely on God's vision for you and ask for help when every you are faced with doubt, prayer is a powerful gift. Along with prayer and persistence make time to play daily :)
I have just started a group called the Women's Evolvement Party, my ultimate goal is to be of service to a larger community of Women for personal and global healing. At the moment we are gathering for book club and women's circles, in the future we plan to take more active roles in the community and overseas :) Click here to view the site.
ROAR: What is something you are really excited about for 2014?
Chrystal: Today! Yes each moment is a miracle. Other things I am excited about are going home to Hawai'i' Nei, day dreams, a feature film that I am working on with dear friends, traveling and collaborating with like minded people on creative projects.
Photos provided and copyrighted by Joel and Chrystal.