Listen for the whispers…

Hi everyone, how are you doing?

It’s been a funny old week, work interspersed with pet vaccinations, dentists and eye tests, trips out with the kids and friends – my first in a long while as I come out of shielding, only then for my husband to be poorly again with a high temp and shipped off for another Covid Test (don’t worry it’s negative) and then for more restrictions to come in to play as we are one of those identified areas – just when I was liking visiting people in real life again!

Lovely to have our final Wow Wednesday meeting, before we break for Summer at Yorkshire Sculpture Park this week as it re-opened

And the weather has been all over the place, from pouring down to baking hot on Friday, it seems even the weather gods are perplexed with life right now!

As we get deeper into the School Summer holidays it’s getting more and more difficult to have some separate ‘work’ focused time and I’m trying not to stress about it but it’s not easy.

There have been some enlightening moments thoughout this week though and this is what I wanted to speak to you about… listening to some fabulous podcasts has been one of them. Let’s start with Michelle Obama’s new podcast where she interviews her husband and says this quote below, which makes me feel like just shouting hallelujah to be honest.

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Could not agree more Mrs Obama, and thanks for sharing @hollytucker! Swiftly adds to podcast list!

After watching her documentary ‘Becoming’ a few months back it gives me a huge amount of faith that there are people in the world that know what they are doing and understand what their purpose is in life.

Add in another one of my hero’s, Oprah, and I’m not necessarily a big religious follower but all I can say is when I listen to her podcast, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversation’s I feel like I’ve been to church and come away with a book full of wisdom and knowledge, not least her episode this week on listening to the whispers (Life first speaks to you in a whisper’ 22nd July episode.)

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She talks about examples where she’s done this, and has people on the show who have experienced it too, like the women who listened to their instincts in America, that something was just not right when they met Phillip Garrido and his two daughters, which then lead to Jaycee Lee Duggard finally being found after 18 years of being held captive.

I can really identify with this in both big ways and small and have always looked for and listened to the signs that are out there in the Universe. Oprah talks about the messages first being a whisper and if you don’t listen then it becomes more like pebbles being thrown at your window, the longer you don’t listen, the harder and more forceful the message.

This feels especially true last Summer when I first discovered the small lump on my collarbone towards the end of May and mentioned it to a physio I was seeing at the time, as I thought it was something muscle related. He said that no it wasn’t anything like that and to keep an eye on it.

As you know I then promptly forgot, which is unlike me and kind of unbelievable given I was putting sun cream on throughout that Summer and especially when we were away in Majorca at the end of August.

Finally when the kids returned to school, I woke up one Monday morning with a start and a voice literally shouting in my head, ‘Check on the lump’ which I did immediately and it had at least doubled in size and that’s when the 7 weeks of investigations began which lead to the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and subsequent treatment.

That may sound far-fetched, but it was more than a whisper, it was an urgent command, because I hadn’t listened to that first internal whisper.

The more in tune we become with our gut, or that feeling of hairs standing up on the back of your neck, and senses heightened, the more protected we’ll be and have more trust in our decisions, that they are the right ones.

Since making the huge decision to leave a safe corporate life 4 years ago, I’ve grown to trust my intuition more and more and that ‘sixth sense’ is proving so useful as I go down new roads building this creative venture.

Since being young, I’ve always believed that I have a purpose in life, that I am meant to help people and create connections, I can’t even explain it, it’s just always been there. We all have superpowers, every one of us and I consider being observant, being able to easily connect and using that instinctive desire to help, to be mine, to be my purpose.

Now that I’m learning, slowly, how to become a coach, I’m trying even more so to tune into my instincts, understanding when to pause and listen at a deeper level, it’s all fascinating stuff and I’m enjoying developing these skills.

You can use this too in your direction, which way do you want to go creatively for example? Not so long ago I had a great strategy session, with Business growth expert, Michelle, from our Wow Wednesday group..

She easily streamlined all my work into 4 key areas: Writing and writing related work, Coaching, (which I’m newly developing), Wow Wednesday further development and Art, all in this priority order in terms of amount of effort and work required to get them all really going and with a clear vision and lots of key measurables.

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I recently enjoyed creating this local grasses print and 3D picture, it’s now hung in my living room!

Art, I had put last on the list, not because I don’t enjoy it, I probably enjoy it the most in fact, but the effort required to make it feasible income-wise is quite a lot, unless you are at that point of being a solely professional artist, which I’m not.

But guess what, since I sorted all that out and felt comfortable with where my focus needs to be, what have I been drawn (literally) to most over the past few weeks? You guessed it, the Art stream of work!

 

Since that strategy work, I’m now selling my cards at my favourite local bookshop Read, will soon be selling through Bloomindales florist online and I’m meeting with The Flex Collective this week in the hope they may consider selling some of my framed needle felt work so I’ve also been busy creating more pieces to show, it’s just such a gratifying thing to do, creating little landscapes of wool!

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Needle felting, it’s so satisfying to do!

Then, yesterday after picking up some new card samples in Holmfirth, I popped into Ribbles café, and was looking at my samples when Sarah, one of the owners came over. She looked at the cards (all needle felt designs, see below) and loved them, and asked if I could provide the original in a frame, for her to buy!

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The sample cards I picked up, I love how they look so 3D! 

We then got talking, shared a love of certain podcasts, talked about the craft fairs they’ve got coming up towards Christmas, how business is returning to the café and also that they hire out upstairs for workshops (which could be perfect for my writing ones!).

I’d been in the café a few weeks before with a friend and had a good feeling about it, as well as enjoying their delicious dandelion and burdock cake. When I returned to pick up those cards, all the other cafes in Holmfirth were closed, including Bloc, which I normally visit as it’s right opposite the print shop but now I can’t help thinking it was my subconscious sending me back there, to connect with the ladies that owned the shop!

So to me, listening to the whispers can be a powerful thing, it can send you in all kinds of directions and can also warn you of the wrong path to take or to take note of important things such as health issues or big life questions.

Suzy Walker, Editor in Chief at Psychologies magazine wrote about this too in this month’s edition. She has been taking evening walks in London during lock-down, and actively asking questions in her own mind as she does so, and the street has given her answers, genuinely! Check out her article, it’s a great read!

But how do you do it? Here are a few tips

  • Ever entered a room and wondered who to go over to? Who are you instinctively drawn to? Who looks friendly and happy to chat?
  • When driving and trying to decide on which road when you’re driving somewhere new, which choice is your first? Don’t question it, go with your gut
  • When trying to choose clothes we often weigh up the positives, what could it go with etc, but instead choose the item that you connect with most, the one that makes you feel amazing and boosts your self-confidence, you are much more likely to wear it
  • Tune into your body, we so often ignore it and spend so much time in our head, how is it feeling, truly, what are the aches and pains we are masking and saying it will be alright to ourselves, what is our body actually trying to tell us? How can we listen better to it?
  • Trust your instincts with confidence when it comes to dangerous situations, that is when your sixth sense is at its peak, e.g. take a taxi home or walk home down a dark path alone, sounds obvious but we can often have a false sense of security, especially when we’ve had a few to drink. I think this last point has been heavily influenced by the latest book I’ve just finished – ‘How to disappear’ by Gillian Mcallister – fabulous thriller!

So, my message today is simple, listen to that inner voice because it is your best guide. All humans talk about a sixth sense and it’s well documented in the animal world too, part of the historic sense and understanding of fear, when enemies or predators are close by, that has kept us safe all those years back and still does now, but these days we are more easily distracted from it’s messages.

Sixth sense is described in the dictionary as:

‘a supposed intuitive faculty giving awareness not explicable in terms of normal perception’

Like I say it’s a powerful, intuitive force and we’d be daft to ignore it, we are lucky to have it and it can help us in all areas of our lives, so listen to those whispers and see where it takes you, you may be surprised…and never ignore them when they shout!

Finally speaking of instincts, at the beginning of lock-down, when I knew I could no longer get into the office as often as I’d like as the husband is working from home, we took the decision to get a log cabin for me to use as my little ‘Curious Creative Club’ space (kind of my treat present for getting through chemo).

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An example picture of the log cabin coming, my soon-to-be little piece of paradise!

Now in terms of size it is tiny, just 2.5 x 3 metres as it can only fit in a certain place in the garden, BUT I can’t wait for it to arrive, hopefully mid-end of August. I lived in dens in the woods as a child, so this little space will be no problem and will be decorated with all the things I love; art, plants, books, cushions, signs, candles, blankets, etc, I CANNOT WAIT, so I’m just warning you in advance of log cabin spam coming your way, can you tell I’m a bit giddy?

Until next time, hope you’re all enjoying Summer, in between the rain!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

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P.s Don’t forget Session 6 of ‘Gain Creative Confidence’ on @psychologiesmagazine Instagram tomorrow, LIVE at 1.30pm, I’m talking all things perfectionism with a task as usual for you too, hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going off plan – because the world won’t end if I do!

Hi everyone, this is a short one, I’m gonna be honest, today I’m tired, it doesn’t happen often, but last night I forgot that it was my turn to post this morning on the Yorkshire Writer’s Lunch Blog, at 10pm no less, so it was a late one, after 12,  before I got to bed. Note to selfread the daily planner where you actually put your plans and deadlines in, on a daily basis!

Then add in the prep for the Psychologies live Insta today, juggling some plans for the week (trying to keep the kids entertained), cooking dinner and a trigger pilates session, where you do lots of lovely stretching and I’m suddenly very sleepy and the hours have run away with me…so instead of trying to concentrate and probably not writing very well, I’m going to go off plan, and instead post this link to my video today, all about planning funnily enough (can you believe it?) and a nice little creative task too, and the quickly drafted poem from the YWL Blog today (see below) to basically get across 4 lessons:

  • You can be forced into being creative with an accountable deadline, and it can actually work out well (shock!)
  • Planning is better, far less stressful, but may give you a longer time to procrastinate so…
  • There are benefits to both, depending on how you work best!
  • Showing up imperfectly (as in this post) is still showing up, so you know, a few brownie points to myself for that! @alifemoreinspired would be proud!

I’ve had some lovely feedback from the poem, so even if this post does nothing else, it may transport you up a country lane to watch a sunset and revel in what I see along the way, here’s hoping!

Discoveries at Dusk – By Juliet Thomas

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Tall grasses glow in golden light

Nodding their allegiance to the sun,

A harmony of hues, brown sugar to pistachio

Dancing together as one,

Cheeks painted with soft breezes,

Breath slows, heartbeat eases

 

Overhead, the silent shadow of the last hunt

Flickering feathers in perfect hover

Below unseen, a field mouse freezes, then

Makes a last-dash for cover

‘Too late’, I whisper and sigh

Kez dives, slicing the sky

 

Urgent bleating raises my gaze

To the nursery on the hill

Weary mothers scold scamps to come closer

Still frolicking, despite the evening chill

I stroll on, eyes drawn to the sinking light

To secret stories of an early Summer’s night

 

As I head further up, curious cows say ‘Hello’

Calves are skittish, mothers stood firm

Or bowed, chewing sweet long grass

The little ones look on and learn

I talk to them softly, not wanting to scare

Yet the mothers still fix me, with a protective glare

 

Minute by minute, sky gods design

A prestigious work of art

Strokes of lemon, paprika, aubergine and olive

Stretching like dough pulled apart

I refuse to blink, transfixed I stare

Breath held, in the heady dusk air

 

At the end of the lane, I steal one last look

To the field on the right, at the top

Searching to confirm my friends are there,

I spot the hares’ form when they halt to a stop

Smiling, satisfied, I nod, the fabric of my walk complete

I turn, feet firm, revived by nature’s daily retreat

*******

Until next time, when I write this on a Sunday as normal (because habits work, another lesson!)

Take care and if you’re feeling tired too, let it go and cut yourself some slack, we’re all juggling pretty hard right now!

Juliet, The Curious and sleepy Creative… x

Ps I’ve been releasing the slight- Sinead look into the outside world, hence the main image as my hair is now growing! Still feels pretty chilly in not so sunny Yorkshire right now though!

For all newbies reading this, check out my older posts for the story of last years challenge of Hodgkins Lymphoma and chemo…

 

How childhood experiences can shape your future creative self

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

  • The day you got your first ever family pet
  • A memorable trip to the zoo
  • Feeding baby lambs at a farm
  • First donkey ride on a beach
  • The day you decided to become vegetarian
  • Your fear of snakes / spiders / moths
  • When you lost a pet and made posters to find them
  • An animal hobby such as horse riding / racing
  • If you’ve ever been bitten and needed a tetanus jab
  • Being stung by a bee / wasp
  • Entering your dog in a country show
  • Rescuing an animal that was injured or lost
  • Working as a farm hand / in a vets / pet shop etc
  • Seeing your first deer / badger / fox on a country walk
  • When your cat’s paw got stung by a bee
  • Receiving an animal adoption as a gift
  • A car accident involving an animal
  • Connecting with your Chinese horoscope, I’m a tiger, which happens to be my favourite animal!
  • When the animal man came to school and you held a tarantula
  • When a storm blew over the rabbit hutch and they escaped
  • Watching an animal programme / film that really affected you
  • Believing in mythical animals as a child, e.g. Rudolf / Loch Ness monster / Bigfoot
  • Teaching your pet some tricks
  • Surprising your children with a new pet for their birthday / Christmas

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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

 

 

Permission to play, with newspaper, teabags and possibly a feather

Hi there, how are you all? It’s been an exciting weekend in ‘Birdsedge’ where I live, the aptly name village where all kinds of bird related antics go on in my garden! We have had 2 very busy blackbirds preparing their nest and then rearing the chicks, using the pergola as a landing strip before jumping up into the Ivy where the nest is.

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Baby no 1 found out our back door!

Being a nature geek, it’s been lovely to watch them and we have had many breeding pairs of various birds over the years here. However, it does become stressful when the babies start to fledge, not least because we have 2 cats, evil sisters who are expert hunters! Nothing gets passed them and so I have to keep a keen eye and watch for any stealth approaches!

This has happened this weekend, 2 of the babies have gone for it! The first one thought it would be a good idea to hide right outside the back door behind a plant pot! Not the best place to go as the parents wouldn’t come anywhere near, so I moved it to the back corner, and it followed dad across the drive but then took a right and went into the garage!

So off I went out again to get it out! Third time lucky and it finally followed Dad out of our garden. It was a similar story this morning with baby number 2, thankfully I saw Bluebell’s interest in a bush and knew the baby was in there, and swiftly got the cat out of the way! I don’t know how many babies are left, between 1-3 and so my protective work is not done just yet!

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Can you spot baby no 2?

Anyway back to the subject in hand of this week’s Blog and I’ve decided to link it to what I’ll be talking about on the week’s Live on @psychologiesmagazine which is all about giving yourself permission to play, with resources you may not immediately think of to use as artist’s materials!

With people being on a tight budget since lock-down, spending money on creative materials is unlikely to be at the top of your list, but that doesn’t mean to say we have to park our artistic hobbies, there are other ways to ‘make’, we just need to get creative and resourceful.

By stripping away ‘normal’ artistic materials, we have to think outside the box and give ourselves permission to experiment and play. Only by trying these different things can we understand how they work and whether they are effective for the piece we want to create.

Essentially what we need to make art, are just 3 things:

  • Something to work on – i.e. a Background
  • Something to work with – i.e. Tools
  • Something to ‘paint / draw’ with – i.e. Colour

Sounds simple right? But you may feel a little lost as to how to begin, so below are some examples of the above to help get you started. Once again, it’s all about the process and having fun, NOT perfectionism! Some things will work well, others may be a disaster, but it DOESN’T MATTER, it’s like the old fairy-tale quote, sometimes you have to kiss many frogs to find your prince/ princess!

By changing up the way we experiment, we may just find a new style that we absolutely love, that we might never have discovered, if we didn’t give ourselves permission to play.

Art in its simplest form is about making marks and we can use a whole host of things to make that happen…here we go

Background

Of course, we can use paper if we have it but why not try something different to experiment with colour and texture and possibly create a more interesting piece as a result?

Here are some examples: Old pieces of denim/ cotton, newspaper, music sheet, wallpaper, gift wrap or bags, wood, old furniture, pebbles, leaves, plant pots, crosswords, cardboard, vase, plain canvas bag, an old football, plain note book cover….

I’m sure there are many more, but these are just a sample of things that you could use to create a very cool art piece.

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Jake’s hydrodipping pieces and the new logo for his little ‘business’!

Many people in lock-down have been doing pebble art and leaving them on walks for children to find. My son has been hydrodipping everything in site from water bottles and helmets to phone cases and pencil cases! He’s even now set up his own little personalised business! That’s going to keep him off his Xbox a bit more at least over the Summer!

Next let’s move on to Tools,

Pippa Ashworth, a famous local artist uses all kinds of things as her ‘paint-brush or pencil’ such as thistle heads, sticks and sponges to create her very unique artwork, layered with all these different types of marks.

Some of Pippa’s amazing layered pieces. check her out @doodlepip64

Here are some other options: toothbrush, kitchen roll, packaging, paper plates, cocktail sticks, feathers, grasses, fingerprints, credit cards, cling film…

All of these things create some great effects, I particularly love bubble wrap (to make walls), cling film creates good earth / field effects and old credit cards make really good lines, for things like telephone lines.

Both these pieces of mine were created using bubble wrap, cling film, the edges of credit cards and cocktails sticks!

Grasses, feathers and ferns are great to paint and then print onto the paper like the main image and below that I created yesterday!

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And finally, what could be used as ‘paint / colour’?

I think this is the trickiest part of the process to find, but I know artists such as below @sam.jackman.textiles that have created lovely things from iron water, using an eco-dying process.

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Other ideas could include squeezed teabags, fruit juices, fruit printing, eggshells, sand, seeds / herbs, salt, shells masking-fluid, stewed leaves or grass…

So why not make your own list of alternative ‘art’ materials and then just have a go?

This week’s task I have set on the Live is to do just that and then try the following:

  • A piece of art with a different background material to standard paper
  • A piece that uses different ‘tools’ to paintbrushes, pencils, etc
  • A piece that uses different ‘paint / colour’ to normal
  • OR a piece that includes all of the options above.

Hopefully, this gives you permission and guidance to play and try something different. Many artists go down a particular ‘style’ route and feel as uncomfortable as those who are just beginning to try new things.

Within the art group I belong to, throughout lock-down we have set challenges and sometimes they work, and we really enjoy them but sometimes we don’t! It’s all part of the process, experimenting with new materials and techniques and keeps you interested if you feel you may have got stuck in a rut.

So please do have a go, this is great to try with the kids too as they head into ‘official’ Summer Holidays / the longest holidays in history! I’m sure we’ll all be looking for new ways to keep them entertained and searching for the new materials in the first place can be part of that too. Head out on a nature hunt for painting tools for example.

If you’d like to watch the video from this morning where I talk more about this, you can watch it here.

If you’d like to share any of your experiments, please post them on my Curious Creative Facebook page, DM me on Instagram or share on the Psychologies Connected Communities Facebook page either – I’d love to see what you come up with!

Until next time, happy playing!

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in your talent or ‘to be’ talent…

Hi everybody, how are you doing this week? Did any of you dare venture out more at the weekend? I haven’t yet, as I’m not allowed back in shops until 1st August, but also I don’t think it’s going to be the joyful experience I usually associate with my slight addiction to shopping so I think I‘d rather wait until it feels a bit more normal.

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So, this week, I purposely waited to see how my second Live session on ‘Gaining Creative Confidence’ for @psychologiesmagazine went today to see what was coming up for people and also to talk a little about new guiding words for the rest of the year, and strangely they very much link together…let me explain.

As you know every year I talk about setting a guiding word in January to help you focus every now and again on areas where you may want to make a difference in your life, whether that’s linked to creative projects, your work or simply family life.

A few posts back I talked about having a celebration meeting with yourself, all about how far you’ve come in the first half of the year and within that asking if the word you may have chosen at the beginning of the year was still serving you, considering all what has gone on in what has been a momentous year.

I’ve decided my words (naughty I chose 3), Rise, Re-energise and Surprise, have been really useful so far, especially ‘Surprise’ in regard to the new things I’ve tried and where I am heading, but now I’m ready for a new, harder-working one.

The word I’ve chosen is TRUST, and this is coming up for me in a number of ways but what really sold it to me was an email that Suzy Walker, Editor-in-Chief at Psychologies sent to me. I’d sent her an email prior to hers, explaining when I could start doing the Instagram lives after I got my latest scan results and finished it by saying ‘would you like me to send you a rough draft of the things I’ll be talking about in the Insta Lives each week?’

Given that we’d only spoken twice verbally before this, I thought it was only polite as I would be transmitting from their brand but also I realise in hindsight it was also because I always feel eternally grateful for these opportunities and if I’m honest, a little like I am not worthy.

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I’ve been a subscriber of Psychologies magazine for years, maybe this is why I’m a little in awe and very happy to be working with them!

This is partly because the others who have done lives on there are what I call ‘genuine experts’, Lucy Atkins for example who has done the same as me with tips and guidance around writing a novel on a Friday live, is a best-selling Author, speaks eloquently and teaches an MA in Writing at Oxford University….so you see what I mean?! Huge comparisonitis right there!

So, what did Suzy send me back? She said, ‘I don’t need to know your plan – I trust you completely!’

I can’t tell you what that sentence meant to me, to have someone of her stature and experience, who I respect immensely, saying that to me was worth it’s weight in gold and a massive boost to my self-belief.

Now when I think of the word ‘Trust’ it reminds me of that sentence and it will remind me to trust in myself, trust that I can do it, even if it’s new and challenging and slightly scary, I will always find a way.

It may not be perfect, I may stumble on my words sometimes, but it will always be authentic and real. That is my USP and I need to trust in that itself!

Trust means other things to me too, which is always a good sign of a chosen guiding word, when you can apply it to multiple aspects of your life. So, these are some other ways in which it links:

  • Right now, I need to trust in my body again, trust that it won’t let me down a second time, come September at my next scan, because I really have too many exciting projects to do!
  • I want to trust and believe that my kids will be ok education-wise when Covid- 19is over and they go back to school, they’ve both worked really hard in lock-down, but I also think it’s going to be a challenge for them when they go back
  • I need to believe and trust that we will get to enjoy the good things in life again soon, that Covid-19 and Cancer has taken away since November last year, the simple things but things I really enjoy, like Holmfirth Art Week which is normally running this week and I’m normally exhibiting at with my local group…and a coffee at Bloc, and a browse in my favourite book shop @read…..just the little things!
  • I need to trust my hair will grow back to at least a decent length, style and colour, so I don’t feel like a ‘boy’ forever, I’m aware there are more important things in life, but when you had long hair before, it’s quite a change to looking in the mirror (although I save A LOT of hair faffing time)
  • And finally I’m learning to trust in my new found ‘talent’, and I say that in quotes because it’s not something I knew I had innately, it was something I always wanted to try and I’m not only enjoying it immensely, but according to the positive feedback I’m getting there are some natural skills in there that I didn’t know I had. I’m talking about the new direction of Curious Coaching that I’m training in and whilst I know I’ve got A LOT of learning to do, it also feels like the most natural extension of what I’m doing, like it was meant to be.

And this brings me on to the title of this Blog and what has come up in the lives. That is to trust in your talent or ‘To be’ talents.

When you look up the definition of talent it is this:

‘(someone who has) a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught’ – Cambridge Dictionary.

However, I am going to be controversial and disagree with this slightly, because if you’ve never tried to do something how do you know if you are innately good at it or not? Yes, you may have some natural ability in there, but it’s no good if it’s never been drawn out or discovered!

I also think you may have some base innate skill, but that’s not to say other elements of that can’t then be taught. For example, you may be good at art generally, in the most basic sense, say drawing, but until you either really experiment yourself, or follow a demo or go to a workshop, how will you know if you are any good at other interpretations of art such as watercolour painting, jewellery making, working with pastels or embroidery, to name just a small few?

I may not be the best photographer in the world, but I have an innate skill of observation, I’ve refined that through photography, noticing the details and the little things, for eg spot the little bug in these pictures, and the spider in the main pic was found once I’d zoomed in and looked closer at the image I’d taken of a patch of flowering mint

So, because of this I want to redefine the word talent, as I think it can be off-putting, being British especially, we rarely shout about our talents, believing that to be too showy, we prefer to be more self-depreciating, maybe saying you are an ‘ok Artist’ or not even daring to call yourself that, maybe saying instead ‘I enjoy doing a bit of art’.

So, how about we acknowledge what our talents are, believe in them and be proud, and for the ones we are practicing and still learning about, call them our ‘to be talents’, understanding that many can be learned and that of course we can improve and grow, and that’s just part of the creative process?

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My son’s artwork this week, prompted by his teacher’s challenge and me having a go at my own prompt from this week’s Live challenge, based around my favourite creative quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, below…

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This quote means so much me, the courage to take those steps is everything and the reward is a truly enriched life

My point is don’t put a limit on your talents, don’t pigeon-hole yourself into being just one thing, who knows what other talents we may have if we don’t go looking for them?

Yes there will be the odd one we will just never get on with, crocheting is my particular nemesis but I bet there are a whole load more that you can add to your talent list if you give yourself the opportunity to try. That is a valuable gift you can give to yourself.

And now back to the lives, I’m thrilled that people have started to tentatively share their work with me, linked to the challenges. I’ve received some poems and artwork that are amazing and I’m so happy that you are sending them to me.

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Some of my viewer’s wonderful work from the prompt of ‘tree stories’ from the 1st session

Interestingly though, sometimes the people sending me their work are a little shy of sharing them themselves but when I’ve asked if I can, they’ve agreed, purely because they have put their trust in me as someone who will encourage them, believe in their work and understand how hard it is when you start out to put your creative baby out there, into the world.

BUT as I always say, everyone starts at the beginning, no-one starts out a Lucy Atkins or Picasso and the beauty of sharing is that then creativity becomes contagious, because if someone sees you having a go, then you might just pass on that curiosity and courage to someone else, who will then have a go too and then the creative baton is passed on and on and on and my work here is done, haha!

No seriously, nothing feels better than seeing this happening before my eyes so please if you would like some creative prompts, come join us on the lives, @psychologiesmagazine, every Monday at 1.30pm, because Trust me (see what I did there!) there are creative skills hiding inside you that you don’t even know you have, yet.

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And, if you’re wanting any further inspiration this week, I highly recommend listening to 2 of my favourite inspirational women out there, Fearne Cotton interviewing the other, Holly Tucker, on this week’s Happy Place podcast.

Holly (my idol) always talks about finding that rough diamond within ourselves and polishing it until is shines bright….I couldn’t agree more.

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

P.s Holmfirth Art week is still going on, all be it virtually via an Instagram challenge, see below for details if you’d like to work on some prompts this week.

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