The Slow Path

cherry blossom

When I was little I was always looking ahead for the next good thing, Christmas, birthdays, the usual. As I grew older it was the anticipation of 'when I'm 16' , 'when I can drive' , when I grow up. It's hard not to look ahead when what you have at the moment isn't great. I remember talking to a friend about my need to have something to look forward to - it really became clear that my anticipation for things to come was a way of avoiding what was currently not making me happy. It was a survival mechanism I think, to look forward meant that I could imagine something better, something happier, that I would somehow change too and fit perfectly into my possible future. I feel sad that it took me nearly 37 years to realise how important the present is, how happy and content I could be in myself. But I am so glad that I woke up when I did.

I catch myself peeking into the possible future, musing on what could be, but instead of dwelling there, in that intangible reality, I am trying to make significant steps each day to make the things that I dream of come true. It's important to dream but dreams alone aren't very fulfilling. My son has taught me how to be present, his cries, his laughter, his pulling at my sleeve are daily reminders of right now, the present, reality, being awake. There's nothing quite so grounding as dealing with our day to day life. And it's not all rosy, there are bad days, tired days, sick days but for each one I am mindfully present.

Plans are forming for new creative adventures and as I embark on them I am excited about the journey not just the outcome. For one of the first times in my life I am thoroughly enjoying and embracing the slow path, allowing myself the time to lift my head and look around me as I travel on.


Do What You Love

make it happen

Creativity definitely works best when there's no expectation attached to it - no final outcome, no one to please, no judgement. But trying to make a living being a maker inevitably puts a layer of pressure on the creative process - is it good enough? Will anyone like it? Will anyone buy it? What are my competitors doing? The answer in any creative capacity is to do what you love - make work that matters to you - if you build it they will come (thanks Kevin) - a friend reminded me how infectious someone's creative joy can be - if you love it and value it so will others. We are undoubtedly often our own worst critics - can't we be our own cheering section sometimes too? It's hard not to look at what other people are doing and think - why didn't I think of that or if only I'd got there first. Remember there is only ONE GLORIOUS YOU. You are unique and authentic - invest in what you love - get really freaking good at it - shout about it. Figure out what amazing concoction of interests makes you YOU - including all the bits that perhaps aren't the most fashionable now - how else do new trends start. Be a pioneer and stick to your guns - mix a bit of plaid with bit of floral - what's the worst that can happen? Just be you - trust you - trust your own taste - be willing to take chances and see where the path leads. Be BRAVE.

Poster on my wall: Words to Live By - Remedy Quarterly


about creativity

my kitchen table

I have been involved in the arts and arts education all my adult life. Creativity is definitely what runs through my core. Some of my best childhood memories involve sitting at the kitchen table making Plasticine™ creatures with my mum and sister, making impossible rooms and dens in the garden, Lego™ adventures on the green carpet and under the furniture. I spent a lot of time lying on the floor and imagining what my house would be like to navigate if it, or I, were upside down. A creative mind helped me through difficult times as a child, brilliant and terrible times as an adult and wonderfully emotional and revelatory times as an artist, mother and professional.

I am very lucky to have been involved in all the creative aspects of my career thus far. I've seen some brilliant, ridiculous, bizarre, unpleasant, hilarious and moving work by artists and performers, and have had the pleasure of teaching some amazing and surprising students, being part their creative journeys. I've been behind the scenes and in front of the camera (Sus) and as I write this feel very privileged at what this creative path has brought to my life.

Sounds good, and it has been in parts. It has also been frustrating and exhausting at times. I struggled for a long time about being able to truly call myself an artist. I worked as an illustrator for nearly 12 years with highs and lows. I was so delighted when I had my first piece published (mum had it laminated) and felt very proud of my £50 cheque. I think that from then on my worth as an artist came from whether people liked, bought or commissioned work; it rarely came from that place within, that creative core that was lying dormant waiting for a bit of nurturing. I gave form to other people's ideas and kept my own tucked away for another time. There are countless books in my studio of thoughts, ideas, dreams that never came to fruition.

Teaching was, as I look back on it now, my creative outlet. I set briefs for my students to help develop and expand their creativity, briefs that I would have loved to have been given myself. I dedicated much more time to my teaching than to the development of my own artistic career, but along the way, all the research and tutorials fed my creative core. I thought at the time that I was less of an artist for focusing on the teaching, but it gave me so much more, a broader more open view to creativity.

my studio

I became braver and tried new directions over the last six years, working in arts and arts education in more organisational and research based roles which have given me more of an opportunity to work with people who are at hugely different stages of their creative career and those who believed that they weren't creative at all.

My firm belief is that EVERYONE has the ability to be and think creatively, we are all creative in our own ways. It isn't necessarily with a pencil or some paints, it might be with food or words or music. It might be lying dormant waiting for a bit of nurturing. Being creative saved me, literally. My creativity now filters into every aspect of my life. I no longer make the distinction that I am an artist - I reject the term artist and label myself a CREATIVE. Free to make when I want to without judgement or label, and follow my true creative passion: to bring creativity to everyday life, and help other people bring a bit to theirs.


hello there

my kitchen table

My life is not picture perfect. I rarely do the ironing, am often rushing and doing things last minute, I have to deal with tantrums and sleepless nights. My life is normal. But I am happy and content so it is perfect for me.

I started this blog because I want to share what I know and help mums and dads and grans and grandads and aunties to make life a bit lighter.

So this is it - my creative life with all its highs and lows - 100% authentically me.