I was once told, in no uncertain terms
‘You are not creative’.
I believed them. This was my Art teacher, in Year 7 Art Class. I was gutted that my lino print on an old school case was a dismal failure of creativity.
I dropped Art.
Meanwhile as a teen at home I was taught to cook, creatively. I was taught to do embroidery. I was shown how to knit and crochet, but these did not become loves of my life and I am not necessarily expert at them. I learned to decorate cakes, and even had people ask me to do their cakes in those years.
I grew up with a couple of DIYers for parents, so I learned to paint, sand, strip down and refurbish furniture and walls and even hang wallpaper. Really good stuff!
But I wasn’t creative….
I loved to colour in, but I didn’t dare draw.
I taught myself tapestry, my little sister taught me cross stitch. I still have a cross stitch in progress. (I call these UFO’s)
Folk Art and decorative Painting
And then there was Folk Art and Decorative Painting that swept me off my feet in the 90’s.
Oh My God! Give me a paint brush, a few stroke techniques, some decent paint and a pattern to follow and there was no stopping me! My mum introduced me to this art and I was hooked. I could paint! In fact from that I learned to draw. I learned to paint freehand, and do scenery. I learned about all manner of mediums. I booked into every workshop I could afford with those who were publishing at the time. I studied Jo Sonja, I did a workshop with David Jansen, I joined the Folk Art Society of Victoria. I helped deign and deliver a program for accrediting teachers of Folk Art and Decorative painting. I taught it. I even hosted a Canadian teacher in my studio. More on that another day. The point is, I had been told that I was not creative. PHOOEY!
At around this time I had also got into scrapbooking and before long I was running a full time studio with classes in both scrapbooking and decorative painting. (I look forward to telling you more about this journey in blog posts to come. )
Discovering new creative outlets
After this, I moved home, and left my studio behind, but not my creativity. I started doing huge paintings – a giant pyramid, a massive wall of books, trees, under the sea scenes. I transferred all my decorative painting skills to stage sized canvases for the local Gang Show, which my children were part of. I also helped out in costume design.
I was, simply, very creative. A bit messy. (Actually very messy but who is telling this story?) But very creative. My nickname was ‘Arty Farty’.
I was inspired to tackle things I had never done before, to solve problems to meet the needs of the show’s director, and have fun, loads of fun! It was hard work, but the process was awesome. I got to use an overhead projector to get my sketch up on big canvases! Huge canvases….like this one. I never dreamed that taking one step to learn a simple comma stroke with a round brush would lead to this, but it did.
Meanwhile, I decided I wanted a quilt for my new country style bed. I could not find one that I could afford that I really liked, so in honour of my DIY parents, I made one. I learned patchwork with my dear friend and teacher Sandra Boulton.
I have made a dozen or so awesome quilts since then, and while not perfect, they are a complete reflection of her mantra ‘we don’t make mistakes, we do variations’.
‘We Don’t Make Mistakes. We Do Variations’
That is it! That is what creativity is all about, for me anyway. You see, through all of these things, I do not think I was ever perfect in execution, but it doesn’t matter a bit! And I always have my students make use of their creative license.
Creativity is about joy in the journey of learning and doing and making mistakes, I mean variations, and overcoming them with creative license!
So here we are in 2017, I am still creative. I continue to scrapbook. I recently finished a quilt, I have a hand made dear Jane that has been more than 10 years in the making, and while I do not paint much I am feeling the urge to do something in that area. I also now do digital scrapbooking.
Do not listen to anyone who tells you you are not creative, including yourself. It is a limiting belief. It is not factually accurate either since you have a human brain. We are all creative and we all benefit from exploring our creativity whether it be in home craft, art, cooking, sewing, photography, writing, or any other creative pursuit. Remember how it was for you as a child before Inner Critic came along and took the joy out of your creative play. You created with playful abandon.
You are creative.
I am creative.
And on this blog I am going to share my journey of creativity with you, both from now and in the past.
Enjoy. Go create something!
PS Please leave a comment or a question below. I would love to know if this resonates with you! Do you catch yourself saying ‘I am not very creative’? If so, remember this is a limiting belief you tell yourself.