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2012 Twenty Questions Interviews : Marjorie Sarnat

20 Questions Interview with Marjorie Sarnat

Co-founder of Jr Imagination®


Marjorie Sarnat

1. What's your name?

Marjorie Sarnat.

2. Where are you from?

Granada Hills, California.

3. Who are you today?

Co-founder of Jr Imagination®, author, artist, designer.

4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)

Jr Imagination offers products that encourage kids to believe in the power of their imaginations. These include apps, books, lesson plans, games, and fun activities that enable children to develop their creative thinking skills. Our goal at Jr Imagination is to grow the creative potential of every child, lead young dreamers to success, and raise the next generation of achievers. I'm the author of hundreds of lesson plans, apps, games, activities, books, and a blog for helping teachers and parents foster creative thinking skills in their kids and teach them to "think outside the tests."

5. What's your story (how did you get here)?

I was in high school when I first came across the writings of the man who would become my lifetime hero, Dr. E. Paul Torrance. Growing up in a family of intellectual superstars, I felt overshadowed and unremarkable until I learned that my creativity is an intelligence, too. And in many ways having creative thinking skills is more important in life's journey.

I enjoyed my first career as an art teacher whose focus was to develop creativity in my students, over and above technique and aesthetics. The kids amazed me every day. After moving to California in the 80's I applied my own creative thinking talents to Marjorie Sarnat & Associates, a product design studio that provided a steady stream of new ideas and designs to the giftware, crafts, toy, home décor and fashion industries. Through my two careers I witnessed that creative thinking skills can indeed be taught and enhanced with practice.

This revelation led me to address my lifetime passion. In 2008 I co-founded Jr Imagination®, an educational products company whose mission is to grow creative thinking skills in all children, gifted, mainstream, and learning challenged. Creativity knows no bounds.

6. Why is creativity important to you?

Creativity is important to me because I've observed that it's the number one factor that distinguishes our breakthrough innovators and achievers from the others, however competent they may be. Creativity is one of humanity's most valuable assets, yet it is seldom addressed in our school systems. It's my mission to help teachers and parents fill that gap.

7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

When I was in college at Eastern Michigan University, studying to become an art teacher, one day my professor said, "teaching art is about developing creativity, first and foremost." A bell chimed in my head. It was then, in an instance, that I knew my life's calling somehow involved a form of intelligence called "creativity." I loved art, but my passion shifted to include creative thinking as a talent unto itself.

8. How did you embrace it?

My belief in creativity as an important form of intelligence validated my passions and raised my self-esteem.

9. How did that feel?

As a highly creative individual, I learned that I was gifted, too, and that gave me confidence to follow my dreams in the world.

10. Where has your journey taken you?

My journey, as described above, has taken me to create Jr Imagination today.

11. What challenges have you faced?

Today's challenge is to let people know we exist and that we have marvelous products for growing creativity in kids.

12. What worked for you?

As a creative person who generates and develops new ideas on an ongoing basis, what works best for me is having an environment that's conducive to concentration. We each have different needs in this regard. It's important to know how you best concentrate, and create your own most supportive surroundings. I also need interaction with other creative people, access to reference materials, and blocks of uninterrupted time.

13. What didn't work for you?

The opposite of the above.

14. What three tips can you share with those starting on a similar path?

  • Believe in the importance of your imagination.
  • Keep a record of all your ideas in a journal or idea box.
  • Learn to select and put your best ideas into a tangible form.

15. What are you working on now?

I'm continuing to write new lesson plans, books, and design new games and activities for kids — and maintain my blog, Raising a Creative Genius.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

New product offerings — stand by.

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

I continue to develop my talents as an emerging fine artist, as well. I find that painting for personal expression helps keep my creativity flowing in general. One form of creative activity seems to enhance the other. It's all good.

18. How will you make that happen?

I exhibit my paintings in art shows throughout the year, and am a member of regional and national art organizations. My works are represented in galleries, too.

19. What question would you like to be asked (or are just itching to answer) that's not on this list?

Do the Jr Imagination products work for adults, too?

The answer is YES! Creativity knows no bounds — including age. Although our products center around topics that kids know and like, creative thought is creative thought. Age doesn't matter, and it's always fun to give your creative muscles a workout.

20. What's your Web site and blog address?