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I feel I should introduce myself properly, my creative self that is…..

When I was a small person I was seriously into books. I used to nag my poor parents to read to me, until I could read myself (which I’m told I achieved before I even started school) and letters to Father Christmas always included a long list of books I wanted.

The natural progression from reading stories was creating stories. I remember one based around my Sylvanian Families toys which was an account of a birthday party with all sorts of weird and wonderful arboreal themed food and drink. I’m quite sure I bored my family senseless with my relentless quest to share my stories. Well, I have always liked to be heard….

I also remember art classes with a friend of my parents who was an art teacher at the same school they taught at. I’m not sure what prompted these, maybe my Mum’s particular drive to see others become creative, which is responsible for where I am today 🙂 The one thing that stands out from those sessions is learning that trees don’t really look like lollipops, but that they have many, many lines and it’s beautiful to show them all.

The quilt of creativity

So, we now reach my late childhood/early teens and by now I’m being persuaded by Mum to do patchwork. Mum is a simply unbelievable quilter. She crafted a patchwork quilt whilst I was poorly (I will come back to that, I promise) and gave it to me on my 30th birthday. That’s it there, on the left. Nice huh?! Of course what I created was nothing like this. Although I adore my quilt, and the art form itself, my appreciation only really extends as far as being an observer. Actually creating patchwork pieces never really struck a chord with me. Needlecrafts weren’t out altogether though. The somewhat ubiquitous cross stitch became a staple of family Sunday evenings. Mum, Becky (my sister) and I would sit around watching House of Elliott, or some such costume loveliness, all industriously stitching away.

Lots of people are quite disparaging of cross stitch. I think it has a bit of a painting-by-numbers reputation. However, it’s fairly easy to master and can produce some pleasing results. In fact, I can still be found nibbling away at long standing cross stitch projects to this day. However, as I tend to follow patterns created by other people, I can’t really claim this involves any creativity on my part. (Although this does raise the debate of Design Vs. Execution….another day for sure…)

So, to the present day. During my ‘poorly’ phase (I know, I’m teasing you with it now) I went a bit nuts for the lack of any productive way to fill my days. I really don’t remember what initiated it, but I went shopping for some basic bead supplies and created a couple of necklaces, using other people’s patterns. I quite enjoyed this and that Christmas Santa brought me lots of other jewellery making goodies. So, I tinkered about with this for a bit but something was missing…..

Then my wonderful husband, who loves surprising me with nice treats, booked me onto a silver jewellery making class at Farnham Maltings and I haven’t looked back.

So, currently I make various kinds of jewellery and have produced enough to open my own little shop. After all, there’s only so much jewellery you can actually wear yourself!

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Welcome – I’m Helen and I’m pleased to see you.

So, what are we all doing here? (in blogland that is, it’s a bit early in the game to come over all existentialist, isn’t it?) Well, I would like to explore the idea of what defines art and creativity. I used to think you could only claim that you were an artist  if you could draw or paint. I can’t do either, therefore I’m definitely not an artist, right?

Hmmmmm, I’m not so sure anymore.

Whilst I was stuck at home some years ago, recovering from serious illness and major surgery (which I’m sure we’ll get to at some point), I suffered a fairly devastating loss of confidence, which I now know is not uncommon in that situation. I really was crippled with a growing loss of identity and I became like an echo of my former self – it was all still there, just diminishing all the time. During this time my mum gave me a book – ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron – which seeks to uncover/recover the artist in us all. Now, one of the things that happens to you when you experience significant loss of self-confidence is that the thought of trying anything new and unfamiliar , especially a self-exploratory exercise designed to unearth a hidden part of you, is really quite daunting. I was quite happy as I was, thanks, who wants to be an artist anyway? Except I wasn’t happy, so I started the process outlined in the book. I won’t go into that now – all in good time dear friend. The important thing to know is that I have allowed myself licence to consider myself……Creative. And no, I haven’t learnt to draw, but I have learnt that there are many forms of creativity.

However, I’m still very much at the start of this journey and, I’ll admit it, I’m a bit scared. When you tell people you’re creative, or artistic, they expect great things from you – “Oh wow. Did you make that ring/paint that picture/write that play?”…..”No, that was done by a real artist, I’m not a real artist.” Well, enough I say! We’re all artists. Genuinely, honestly. I now firmly believe that every, single human being on the planet is capable of creativity.

Absolutely everyone.

Even you.

I can actually hear you all protesting – “No, you don’t understand, I’m really not creative! I can’t draw or paint, or sing or dance, or any of that stuff.” Well, I tell you now, I’m not buying it. Don’t be confounded by traditional notions of creativity, e.g. painting portraits, sculpting from clay or writing bestsellers. It is my mission to help you find your creative outlet. Through this blog we will play with new creative ideas, encourage one another and learn the many, many benefits of becoming immersed in creative activity.

So, for now – please leave a comment simply saying either ‘Yes, I consider myself creative and this is how I express it – ****[insert mode of expression/form of creativity here]’ or ‘No, are you crazy?!’ and we’ll take it from there!

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