“…but I’m not creative”
I hear this so much which makes me very sad. Lots of my workshop participants enter my studio, muttering the immortal words ‘I was rubbish at art at school’. It seems that many people are missing out on a whole heap of fun by simply basing their level of creativity on whether they got good grades in their art class.
It really doesn’t matter to me what you got up to in the art room at school, what I’m interested in is the here and now, so when people arrive to one of my mosaic workshops apologising for ‘not being very creative’, I ask them to leave their past experiences in the carpark. What I want them to do is just give it a go, without a preconceived judgement of their own ability, because I know, once they get stuck in, they’ll be pleasantly surprised and probably rather hooked!
So this creativity lark. What is it and why is it important? According to the online dictionary (www.dictionary.com) , ‘creativity’ is described as
‘the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination’.
Ok, so where in this definition of creativity, does it say that in order to ‘be creative’ you need to make detailed and convincing pencil drawings, noting light, shade, texture and line of the set of sheep’s skulls, Mr Hall, set up in the art class when you were twelve? Ummm – nowhere.
An ability to draw is just ONE way of expressing your creativity. There are so many different and varied ways to be creative. You can bake tasty treats by experimenting with ingredients, you can do gardening and choose different colours and textures to brighten up your outside space or you can take photos on your phone and carefully curate them on your Instagram feed. Those are just a handful of ideas on how to practise creativity and none of them require you to draw. My Dad is the most creative and innovative person I know, but my goodness, he cannot draw for toffee!
But here’s the thing, creativity or ‘being creative’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you just use your hands and are good at making cool stuff. Here’s the good news, just because you felt you couldn’t draw that still life at school or you wouldn’t know one end of a knitting needle from the other, it doesn’t mean the creativity game is over. I believe being creative is also about being a problem solver, coming up with solutions that didn’t exist before and finding a way to resolve an issue. For example, perhaps your job requires you to manage a team and on a day to day basis you have difficult challenges to deal with to get your tasks done. Creativity can play a big part in the way that you look for solutions on how to achieve the end goal. I would challenge everyone when they claim they are not creative as I believe there will be aspects in their life that the ability to have a creative approach comes into play on a weekly, if not daily basis.
So, let’s go back to making cool stuff with our hands, as that’s what I’m all about here at Inspiring Creativity. There are so many benefits to engaging in a creative activity, especially crafting as it has been proven to have a positive impact on well-being because it is so relaxing and therapeutic. Crafting is a brilliant stress buster and for me, mosaic really is one of the best activities to teach, I’ve seen, at first hand, the benefits and transformations in so many people when they engage in it. Numerous participants I’ve worked with over the years have commented on how ‘absorbing’ making a mosaic is, which is a great word to describe it. Engaging in a creative activity helps to develop new skills and increase problem solving but it can also be a very sociable activity, helping you to connect to a community of like-minded people. Even in a quiet room of people mosaic making, there will be a connection between the participants. Most of all though, engaging in a creative activity is a whole heap of fun.
So why not give creativity a go? There’s no right or wrong, the only mistake you can make is to think that you don’t have any creativity. In my mosaic classes and workshops, you are the artist. You are the designer. It’s your vision not mine. I’m merely giving you the tools to unlock your imagination and am here to inspire YOUR creativity.