Launching Test Kitchen: a Letter from the Editor

Mar 07, 2018

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BJ and Hillary Wall, Owners of Cork & Chroma Paint and Sip Studios

Image by Lumi Photography


Creativity. I’ve been fascinated by it, and the process of something coming from (seemingly) nothing for as long as I can remember. As a young person, I was constantly exercising my creative muscles. I could be found in my room listening to Celine Dion and Mariah Carey while putting together jewellery kits, organising my fancy pen collection, or working on a scrapbook. I was totally transported by music, singing in choir and learning instruments.


Mostly, I deeply admired the people I saw who were living creatively (admittedly, sometimes that admiration was misplaced as envy). Each spring, my dad used to take us to the local high school’s musical, and I longed to be the one on stage singing. In school I watched my art teacher carefully as she made shapes, so that I could echo the movement of her hand when it was my turn to draw. And I became a perfect mimic of all my favourite Disney songs, rewinding the tapes again and again to practice (I still do a damn good performance of ‘Part of Your World’ in the shower occasionally). I wanted to discover what the magic key was, why people could put forth this incredible output, and how their process worked. I wanted to embody what I saw in these creative people; the talent, the freedom of expression, and the ease of which it appeared to flow from them.


Through the years I gravitated toward some outlets more than others, but I always thought of myself a creative ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. I loved making things, and I liked the person that I was after I made them. It felt like each creative activity linked with an invisible thread to the next, informing my choices, and providing a certain intuitive wisdom of what was ‘right’ for each project.


Opening Cork & Chroma with B.J. in 2013 was a personal dream, because suddenly I found myself in a room with 30 people each night who were keen to make something of their own alongside me. Night after night, we were all in it together while we each created our own unique painting on canvas. No matter how many nights we painted a particular piece, no two guest’s paintings were ever the same. With these notions in mind I started chatting to our guests about their process, and found that so many of us, beginners and seasoned creatives alike, share similar experiences while digging deep into our creativity.


Those conversations led to the birth of Test Kitchen. I had an urge to make a place which could explore and share the creative process outside of those magical three hour paint sessions in studio. Somewhere to break down the mystical qualities of creativity and provide resources to explore our individual ways of expressing ourselves.


I’ve learned creativity is a word that people think they either ‘are’, or ‘aren’t’. But the truth is, everyone is creative.  There’s a collective of experiences, emotions, talent, and imagery inside each of us that create a cocktail of unique expression just waiting to flood out. It’s a matter of knowing where to start, and having the tools to explore it for yourself.


Stay with us – it’s going to be so much fun.


Hillary Wall
Founder & Editor-in-Chief



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