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How being creative has saved me (many times)...

So here we are! My very first blog. It's only taken me several years to get around to doing this! Ha ha! It's seemed a really scary idea putting my thoughts down onto page but recently I've been listening to a lot of Susie Moore (Let it be easy) and it's made me realise that not being perfect is better than not showing up at all. (If you've not listened to her podcasts I'd really recommend them - very thought provoking and inspiring.)

As it's the first blog post I thought I'd just tell you a little bit about myself and how creativity has shown up in my life. There is some info about me and why I started making on my about page but I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk a bit more about me!...I know so egocentric ha ha (I'm not normally I promise!)

I've always been creative - right from a young age. As a kid I wasn't a fan of reading and I found school challenging at times - feeling constrained as if life was for living not sitting in a classroom so I sewed, crafted and painted at every opportunity and was told at the age of 13 that some of my sewing was good enough to get me a GCSE. (I did do GCSE textiles down the line but hilariously got a D because of the exam!). Being creative was a way of expressing myself where as in the classroom I was timid and blended into the background. As I got older I wanted to immerse myself in more and more craft and tried every type of craft going including stained glass, mosaic, woodwork, beading, felt making, printing, card making and photography as just a few examples. It gave me a sense of freedom but with focus at the same time.

My parents always thought I'd go into a creative job but as all 'good girls' at school are taught 'to get a sensible job' I went on to study teaching and got my first teaching job in a primary at age 21 with the aim of helping children find their talents and an outlay for expressing themselves. It was a great job to start with but over the years the opportunities for creativity and free thinking for myself and the children was squashed more and more. (I wont go on too much about it as I could spend days talking about how broken the education system is!) I found I needed a way of switching off and de stressing more and more important and so in the end I took an evening course with a friend making silver jewellery. We went every week for nearly 6 years. Something about creating unique designs from raw materials was incredibly satisfying. I tried a range of techniques including casting, fold forming, enamelling, etching, granulation, inlay and stone setting as well as built up skills of sawing, polishing, soldering, finishing etc. Learning new skills, playing and exploring was deeply satisfying and exactly what I needed. (I mean what is not satisfying about hitting metal with a big hammer or playing with fire when you are stressed?!) I loved to look at how objects could be used for a different purpose or in a different context and started combining materials to create different finishes. There was always an element of risk and trial and error but at the same time logical thinking which really pleased me! Also that if everything went truly wrong you could melt it all down and start again.

It was finally at the end of 2017 after my husband had been seriously ill that I reflected on the fact that I had spent way too many years miserable in teaching and decided to leave.

I'll be honest when I left teaching I felt pretty inept. Teaching made me loose a huge part of myself and my identity. Although being a leader, a SENCO and graded as 'good' or 'outstanding' during lesson observations and book scrutinies the constant targets and shifting goal posts made me feel as if I wasn't good at anything and that no one was interested in my thoughts and that I had no skills to offer. That huge self doubt along with having just survived the trauma of my husband's illness, being a new mum and the guilt of giving up a career left me feeling incredibly lost.

I had already been dabbling with The Lucky Sixpence, only as a side hustle, but had met some incredible suppliers in doing so. I organised a shoot based around a headpiece that I had in my mind. I will be forever grateful to the team who helped me put that shoot together as it partly saved me. By being creative I immersed myself in the materials and the process - disengaging with the noise and chatter that can go on when you doubt yourself and releasing some of the upset and trauma of the previous 6 months. Seeing the outcome of that shoot made me realise that I did have something to offer the world and helped me reconnect to myself.

It's taken a few years to reduce the self doubt but my creativity has taken me to some really exciting places so far. Being cover of Rock n Roll Bride and Wed magazine and being published on world wide blogs are things I could never have dreamed of back when I was teaching. Bridal brands choosing to use my accessories for their collection shoots is one of the most amazing complements and the fact that people come to me to buy items that they will wear on one of the most special days of their lives is the biggest honour.

Now the chatter of doubt is reducing I'm able to look at my creativity with a fresh vision - I can see how I want to channel it and am even more excited to shape my future in a creative way.

This blog post ended up going in a different direction to where I thought it would when I first started writing so thank you for letting me have space to reflect! I'd love to hear about how creativity has helped you...or how it may in the future. Leave a comment below.

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You’ve worked so hard to get where you are and deserve all the success you are now rightly enjoying - I’m so glad we met at that wedding fair in Exeter!

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