Well, the book about creativity I’ve been saying I’m going to write has finally started to take shape!  It’s working title is So you can’t draw…?  I’ve written the intro and thought I’d share here and see what you think 😊

So, you can’t draw?  If you’re like me, someone told you this many years ago in school and that deceptively simple, throwaway comment has stuck with you and niggled for years, eating away at your view of yourself and your skills without you even being really consciously aware of it. Or maybe it’s much less fraught with others viewpoints and is simply something you’ve decided for yourself as you’ve tried many times to draw something good and failed, at least in your own expectations.  Whether it’s external or internal voices or influences we all have things that make us afraid to try, sure we’re bad at things, question what the point is and maybe even envy others who are good at it.

As odd as it sounds this is very normal and generally we don’t come up against these beliefs as we tend to avoid the things we’re ‘bad’ at…But, the thing is, have you ever noticed how much these voices, these beliefs, can limit you?  Constraining the things you may want to try because you’re afraid and sure you won’t be good at it, so rather than try, you pass it on to someone else.  You never give yourself the chance to find out how much fun it is, whether you really are good at it, whether that even matters, because really, what is good?!

This book has been born out of the many times I’ve had people come to my studio and say they aren’t creative, they don’t know how to find ideas, they haven’t done anything artistic since school.  The memories of teachers, parents and friends making thoughtless comments and making fun of our efforts as children only for those comments to follow us way too far into adulthood.

In fact, I count myself among them. I had a teacher say that I couldn’t draw at secondary school and still remember the comment.  I then got my lowest grades in both my art GCSE and A Level.  The thing is, they were right, I couldn’t draw, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t learn if someone bothered to take the time to teach me.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a family who wanted me to follow my dreams and supported me when I decided to fight for the chance to be the artist I’d wanted to be from the age of 5.  I went from school to do a foundation year at college where everything changed. I had the chance to try lots of different mediums, to learn how projects are structured and where to find ideas, how to see and how to think artistically and creatively.  Amongst all of that, they also taught me how to draw so that by the end of that academic year I had a portfolio together that got me an unconditional offer to the art college I wanted.  All it took was time and dedicated teaching.  Being taught by people who believed what they were teaching was important and that each of us were there for a reason.

Since graduating my degree I’ve been working in the arts and as an artist for over 25 years. I’ve been a professional artist and creative organizer/facilitator, making and selling my own work as well as making things happen with community arts and supporting other creatives with their work and dreams.  My artwork medium of choice is clay but my career has been varied and I thrive on that variety.  In the last 10 years I have come back to my own individual artistic practice, setting up my studio in a small Cambridgeshire village where I run a membership, classes, workshops and more.  I offer opportunities for people to experience clay from birthday parties all the way through to mentoring for other ceramic artists. I love the combination of making and teaching that this gives me, it keeps me on my toes, constantly learning and evolving, and this combination is a big part of what has led to this book.

I believe that creativity is a fundamental part of being human, we are born with the innate capacity for being creative and it sits at the heart of our learning as a child, but often, as we get older, life can disconnect us from our core creativity (although we are always creative, just sometimes we don’t feel like we are).  It feels like it’s being eroded by the day to day, the routine, buried under the simple and complex decisions of living but really, it’s always there, it just takes a bit of awareness, practice and focus to reconnect, dig it back out and let it shine.

I also believe that creativity brings many benefits to us as individuals and to our wider society.  From the increasingly documented wellbeing benefits like stress reduction, aid in emotional management and resilience, building confidence and making mental space to help with problem solving, there are many good reasons to take part in creative activities. More broadly creativity helps build places, from how they look and feel to how they sound and work.  It builds communities, industries, economies and more! It opens hearts and minds, it connects, comments and challenges.  It helps us live our lives.

Such a huge topic will never be covered in one book but the goal here is to inspire you in your own journey of creativity.  To help make it more easily digested I’ve divided this book into two parts. Part one is the more theoretical side of things, looking at what creativity is, what it means and why it’s important.  It introduces some of the current theories of creativity and explains the concept of the everyday creativity of life. It gives an overview of the current scientific thoughts, skimming the surface but giving you enough information to dig a bit deeper if you find you want to.  This is the bit that’s all about why we should accept, strengthen and grow our inner creativity and all the benefits that brings to us as individuals and more widely to our lives.

In my studio over the years I’ve found that when students start class many struggle to know how to come up with ideas of what they want to make or how to develop a concept once they have it.  This inspired part two which is all about making things happen, taking action and reconnecting with your creativity.  It provides a range of practical exercises to energise and activate your creativity in its broadest sense, problem solving, artistic and innovative.  It also includes an artistic framework for those of you who would like to stretch this side of your creativity.  Having gone to art college and learnt a process for creating artwork I realised that if I could break this down into a format that would be helpful for many of my students, helping them find and develop ideas, then translate these into artistic work.  I call this model the 4 week make.

We are all creatives.  We are all creative every single day of our lives, sometimes in big ways but mostly in tiny ways.  My goal for this book is to help you see that you are a magnificent creative being, acknowledge and celebrate your personal creativity and suggest easy ways and small things you can do to live even more creatively.  Imagine a life where you no longer have the negative soundtrack from childhood in your head saying you can’t draw, rather you live each day joyfully practicing creativity and seeing creativity everywhere! Oh what a wonderful world!

So, what do you think?  Does it sound like an interesting book?  Would it be something you might buy?  Your thoughts would be great, thanks 😊

Creativity beginsIf you’re looking for a tool to help grow your creativity now, check out my Creativity Journal!  Full of creative exercises, colouring pages, inspirational quotes and pages to write your thoughts and creative ideas it’s a great way to get started with a bit of conscious creativity each day.