Hi everyone, how are you doing? It’s the Summer holidays yeah!
As we are at the start of the longest Summer holidays in history….almost 8 whole weeks no less, I thought it might be good to take a look at how your childhood experiences can potentially shape your future creative self.
At the moment I’m writing a new none-fiction book, all about my personal creative journey, how it’s helped me throughout my life and combining everything I‘ve learned though the Blog and from others to pass on that knowledge and inspire others to begin theirs.
For the beginning part of this, I’ve looked back on my childhood and examined what elements of that may have directed me down a creative path, both then and now and it’s been really interesting to look closer at this.
For the most part, it began with a love of exploring and being surrounded by nature, inherited from my Dad who was a keen birdwatcher and we had yearly trips to Scotland to seek out golden eagles, capercaillies, peregrine falcon’s and puffins to name but a few!
I was also a tomboy, thanks to the large proportion of boys on my street, and it was a case of play army in the woods, or have no friends! I’d disappear in the morning and not come home until tea, usually muddy or drenched from falling in the river, much to my Mum’s despair!
This was my grounding in creativity without me even realising; building dens, making up games, navigating the woods, setting up rope swings, children know how to just play and have fun, without fear of judgment or perfection analysis.
A golden eagle drawn by my Dad
As well as watching birds and being an animal fanatic, my Dad also photographed and drew them and he encouraged my artistic experiments too, the thrill of getting a new set of pencils, pens and a fresh clean sketchpad as a child has never left me.
Me with my first rabbit’s babies and holding a big toad in the middle of building our pond! Nice tash eh?
Being an animal mad family, the next step was to get a pet shop, which we did, and more adventures began as we had numerous animals at home, breeding them to sell at the shop; rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, budgies, cockatiels and zebra finches were all suddenly my friends too, and I absolutely loved it.
Because we were known for the shop, anything that was injured or rescued, also turned up on our doorstep: a seagull, hedgehogs, a mole, a lost rabbit and a kestrel were just some of the ones I remember. We also rescued a baby rook that became tame, and we called it Rollo.
All of these animals were characters that fed my imagination, creating a wealth of stories and experiences, not many children get to have a pet rook at age 11 that would fly land on your arm when called from the bottom of the street – I gained quite a few cool points for that one!
I remember feeding lambs on Scottish holidays as a kid and last year I got to do it again with one of my friend’s flocks, I loved it! Plus, my first ride on a donkey, think I must have been about 1 and a half here!
As well as these obvious creative teachings, there were other things more subtle such as my Dad would also make up stories for me at bedtime, about a boy called Ragabobbin who lived in the woods and had great adventures.
I’d actually forgotten about this until I realised I did the same for Jake, my son whose initials are J.E.T, so I used to make up stories about a boy called Jet, the super-fast boy who would get into scrapes because of his speed.
My Mum was less obvious in her creativity, but she was an expert knitter and mender, I had many an Aran jumper as a kid! I did inherit her talent for creating a meal out of anything though, the concoctions she made for me as a child are still some of my favourites, corned beef hash and pancakes is still top of the list!
What I’ve loved about this lock-down situation is that we have almost returned to these days of creating ways to pass the time and keep the children entertained in the process. There have been so many stories of cooking together, trying new dishes and creating art just for the fun of it, for the feel good factor, to get us through this strangest of time, I’ve found it really inspiring and heart-warming.
My daughter’s spicy chicken wings and my chocolate trifle in early lock down when we did family ‘come dine with me!’
I think this will continue during these Summer holidays as we are no where near back to ‘normal’. I went into town yesterday for the first time in about 6 months and it was the most bizarre experience, you spend more time being reminded of the virus in these places than at home with barriers into the road to make the paths wider, floors marked out everywhere you go, hundreds of notices and giant posters, people wearing face-masks, it’s just not a fun experience.
So, I can imagine that home and natural outdoor spaces are still going to be our safe and most enjoyable experiences for the time being, thank goodness for our gorgeous British countryside eh?
I know that many of us parents have either had children only back to school for a month or so OR they haven’t gone back at all like mine. If you / they have been home-schooling, they are now desperate for some fun and escape and so whilst I know partly it’s continuing to be mentally exhausting, I also urge you to take sometime out and have fun with them.
Exploring and den building, it’s what childhood should be all about!
Use it as a way to extend their creative skills, it will stand them in good stead for the future. LinkedIn now rate creative skills as the most desired by businesses out there because they want problem solvers and those that think outside the box.
My latest vase to get hydro-dipped!
As I mentioned in my last Blog, Jake has recently got into hydro dipping and has set up his own little business, creating pieces for friends and family and I feel much better that he’s excited about this and not spending 100% of his time on Xbox.
Holly Tucker, founder of Not on the High Street and Holly & Co has also been championing this when doing her Insta Lives, talking to children as well as adults about the advantages of working for yourself and creating a working life that you love. Like her, I’d love to see this in the curriculum as a career option and more business skills being taught as the launch of more and more small businesses continues.
It’s also time for us to get children back together with their friends and get used to being social again and thinking of games to play, just like we used to do as kids when we had no other entertainment. These are essential life skills and key to good mental health.
So whilst it’s partly frustrating that I won’t be able to carry on and work as hard as I have over the last few months now that it is Summer holidays, my children will always be my greatest creation and so supporting them and giving them enriching life experiences is equally important to give them the best chance of developing their creative skills too.
From feeding camels in Fuerteventura to releasing baby turtles in Mexico, I think the kids have inherited my love of animals and really enjoy these experiences.
Don’t get me wrong there will be days where my head is on the kitchen table and I’m despairing at the trail of destruction and empty food shelves but we don’t have them here for long in the grand scheme of things, so I’m choosing to turn a blind eye, stay calm and go on some adventures together, at least to the Sea, I’ve so missed the sea, and try and bribe them to let me take pictures!
So have a fun Summer together, make some new good memories (not related to Covid-19!), explore new places, preferably outdoor and you know what, all these new experiences will fire up your creativity too.
For those who may want to do some family creative challenges, you can always look back on the lives I have done with @psychologiesmagazine via their TV Channel (just scroll down to find the sessions) over the last month which are suitable for everyone.
Today’s (find it here on my FB page) was all about connections with pets or animals and the challenge is to write a small descriptive memory piece about that.
Here are some examples to try:
One of the animal programmes I’ve been hooked to is the live streaming from Cannon Hall Farm which is also a weekly TV show called ‘This week on the farm’ on Channel 5 on a Tuesday night, it’s been brilliant watching all the new arrivals, including this little pygmy kid!
These are just a few, I’m sure you’ll have many more, I could literally write a book on just animal stories! I’d love to hear yours so please share on The Curious Creative Club Facebook Page or DM me on Instagram either.
So, I hope this inspires you, have a fabulous Summer with the kids, and remember to breathe / get the gin in!
Take care now, until next time
Juliet, The Curious Creative x