Thursday, 28 February 2013

On creativity

There's a Tom Jones song in which he sings :

I was born like this,
I had no choice,
I was born with the gift of a golden voice
And twenty seven angels from the great beyond,
They tied me to the stage right here in the Tower of Song.

When I hear it I get struck by how lucky I am to be able to live by the gifts I was granted. Whether by genetics or a gift of the gods, the day I decided to live true to myself was profound. I have often felt that creativity is seen by many as a luxury, an indulgence, something to be sidelined and controlled.  It is seen as a precarious career choice and not economically viable. Yet, despite all that advice it is in me to create and I do not feel alive unless I am creating. After having my boys, I thought it would be best to shelve my creativity, to try and find direction that would provide securely for them, and to subvert my creativity to tend to their needs. In some ways I had to, there wasn't enough time or energy for both. Then I became disengaged from myself, and broken. It was then, in a moment of clarity that I accepted myself for who I am, who I want to be, and who I want my children to see me as.  It took me a long time to reach this level of acceptance. What I want to give my children is an understanding of their gifts and the strength to shine. There is a wonderful TED talk by Ken Robinson that I re-watch regularly. In it, Ken Robinson questions  how we educate our children by squashing their creative souls, and with that their ability to think independently, and to create solutions.

I read that if the same money that has been given to the banks to carry us through the banking crisis had been invested in the Creative Industries, we would have a new (creative) industrial base to move our economy forwards. Through social networks, I work alongside some amazing designers, makers and thinkers, all pieces of the jigsaw of our creative industries. Most of us work freelance and make a modest income. There is a huge amount of good will and hard work with small economic rewards.  What if there were social investment in art centres and studios, bursaries for studio spaces and tax breaks for new creative businesses? What if small start up funds from venture capitalists were available to help small creative businesses expand? What if we were told the story of how our Computer Gaming industry sells ideas to the world or our freelancers provide designs for the world to manufacture?

I think it comes down to undervaluing creativity at school. If you do art it's because you flunked your academic subjects, it's because you can't rather than because you can (both statements untrue).  Education needs to embrace the thinkers, dreamers and creators so we can move towards valuing our national creativity. I went in to the Reception class at my son's school where learning is three dimensional and play based. It would be great if it remained that way and the onus was on teaching our children to think independently and creatively. Instead I feel we are educating them to be cogs in a wheel that no longer functions. I am going to start to ask my children 'What do you think?'.  The children at my Valentine workshop were full of their own ideas.  I was told that a heart wasn't really this shape and each child placed the wing differently on each bird, some happy with one, most needing to stick down two.  It was fascinating to see the world through their eyes.

Valentine heart workshop

Well, I didn't start this blog post expecting to come up with a manifesto for the future of the nation (!), more that I wanted to celebrate the wonder of being creative and the joy of living a daily creative life.  I went to York at the weekend with two friends from my London days.  I have come back full of new projects and ideas.  I loved the pleasures of sharing food with good friends, travelling by train across Yorkshire, losing myself in a good book whilst travelling, day dreaming, embracing the unexpected.  Again, it is the time out, the spaces between work that are the fuel for my creative life.  I forget that so easily!  It is by going away that I come back and see things afresh.  It is by being true to myself that I feel fulfilled.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

New Work

Today would have been my Grandma's 102nd birthday and it still amazes me that she nearly lived to see it.  Forever in my heart I have celebrated her reunion with my Grandpa in this piece called 'Together Again'.

'Together Again'

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

New shop

I have a new online shop where you can find my prints, cards and workshops.  There are online exclusives, and there will be archive work available too.  As a shop launch you can buy a set of 8 cards for the offer price of £15, including postage.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The space between

What's it all about?  This life; what is it for?  Where am I going on this journey?

I ask myself questions about life, and love and spirituality and creativity and the answers I find are translated in to the themes of my work.  I like to take the time to think and reflect.  Grandma's death reminded me that I love to write.  I love to write letters, and to receive them and to have those deeper conversations on life and who we are, who each of us are as unique beings.

I recently attended a Refectory Table course called 'Telling your story'.  It gave me time to think about who I am and where I am a creative business development way. As with the previous course I attended there, I hadn't realised how much I'd be looking myself in the face.  Pete Mosley's expertise as a creative mentor meant that I finished the day with a clear view of who I am and what makes me tick.

So what is that?  My creativity is a huge part of me, and carries itself in to each and every part of my life, my home, family, garden, cooking, making. But, I like the stillness in the gaps between the business of life.  I like simplicity.

I put together a basket of 'me'.  In it there is my knitting, a diary, an ipod shuffle with meditation music on, a writing pad.  Given a half hour to myself I get something out of here, knit or write a letter and feel put back in touch with myself, and with that peace within.

That peace within I try to carry in to my work.  In the simple things I find my muse.  Celebrating the shared wonder of love and light, beauty, home and family and the transience of it all.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Simple Utility

Utility - the amount of satisfaction you get from consuming goods and products.

There is nothing more satisfying than investing in the right tool for the job.  The items that become an extension of us, used again and again, that wear the patina of life.  They stay with us until all their potential has been exhausted and then some live on; a testament to our friendship. 

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