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Creativity saves the sanity. Saturday October 18, 2014

I had a love affair with mosaic making this summer.

There's just something so dashed cathartic about smashing up (oh especially the smashing up bit!) and cutting broken crockery and finding the best juxtaposition for whatever pattern/picture I'm making. It seems to mend broken bits in my head too. It's so absorbing.

Sat in the summer sun mosaic making was a real treat but what of the long winter nights ahead?

Well, I've set myself a challenge to make and create more.

In need of a bit of inspiration (and respite from life) mum and I toddled across the Mersey on Friday to a hidden gem in Birkenhead - the Williamson Art Gallery.

Celebrating World Mental Health Day the gallery threw an Arts and Minds Festival: "Exploring the role that creativity can play in maintaining our health and well-being". (It's incredible you know the free events that take place in our own locality. We just have to be sleuth-like in seeking them out.)

Ignoring mum's plea of, "I'm just not creative like that" (such flapdoodle this - mum is a prolific knitter, crocheter and is learning how to up-cycle old furniture), I cajoled her into The Making Room for a Calm and Create workshop.

Creating is an innate need in all of us. If you don't believe that, I'd wager that you haven't yet experienced the power of, or the catharsis of, dabbling in a bit of creativity. Already, we all of us, create more in life than we realise. Yes, even you! We put outfits together, we personalise our work spaces, we choose decor, we doodle whilst on the phone; everyday we create.

At the beginning of the class were reminded that creativity is about the process - not the end result. You can see why such a reminder is needed. It's quite amusing how stiff, uptight and terrified a bunch of adults can be when instructed to go forth with pastels and "play, have fun, make a mess!"

My first thoughts were:-

a) I don't want to get pastel dust on my black velvet jacket (at what point in life do we stop wanting to make mess? As kids it was our life's vocation to get messy).

b) I don't know what I'm doing (as adults we do so struggle to "just be" in art).

c) I can't do this. Can't do what? Er, have fun?!

Ten minutes in and the pastel dust seemed to distribute a sprinkling of magic. The inner critic started to pipe down and we rejoiced at the colourful smudges and patterns our hands created. As we limbered up a bit we made pretty, bold or bright art.

Hang on a minute! Was I having fun?!

One hour later and, as our gentle tutor, Ruth, commented, there were now 11 pieces of art work that hadn't existed 60 minutes earlier. Most importantly, however, was that we were indeed now feeling calm.

Create, make and muck about with art this winter and you may save the ole sanity.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 7:33am

An inspiring post Suzy.There is an 'artist' in all of us as I discovered after reading Julia Cameron's 'The artist's way'. I have now taken up painting and learning to sing after my wife had to be admitted into a nursing home due to Alzheimers at the young age of 62 . I could not cope with it anymore after several years of 24/7 long term care from me.I had given it my best shot.

Suzy Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 9:02am

Goodness me Hopeful One, what a harrowing time you have been through. The decision to have your wife cared for must have been one of the toughest decisions of your life.

I hope creativity continues to provide some respite and peace of mind.

Your name, Hopeful One, is testimony to a positive character, I think.

"Better a live dog than a dead lion." A great Proverb to help us accept our limitations.

Anonymous Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 9:48am

I took up pottery some time ago, almost reluctantly, it has been my salvation !! I have used it to express and work through many issues I find difficult to verbalise. My confidence has grown in making pieces and I have made a whole circle of friends who respect that sometimes you just want to get your head down and not speak to anyone. Seeing others creativity is a privialge and their positive comments about my own work a real boost. I have all these puieces on my wall and when I look at them reminds me how far I have come, what obsticles I've dealt with and just what fun I have had in making them. Would reccommend it to anyone,, give it a go and you will surprise yourself what comes out.

Anonymous Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 10:17am

Wonderful post Suzy thank-you; wonderful for its wisdom and humour, and wonderful to know that you are doing better; I have been thinking of you recently and hoping you are enjoying your new flat ..
Yes I can relate to the "I am not creative; I can't "do" art and craft ... your post inspires me to just have a go - thank-you!

Anonymous Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 11:00am

Yes, just re-attaching the mosaic tiles to the back of our garden furniture chairs did a lot for me. Gill

Anonymous Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 1:14pm

Thanks Suzy, what a lovely post. It is so hard to quiet the critic to just let yourself enjoy creating, but as you say I believe we have an innate need for it. Thank you for encouraging me to get creative today ?? hope you all have a good, and creative, day ?? Amy x

Suzy Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 9:27pm

Hey Folks,

Frankie, I was dead touched by your comment. Thank you.

So what's it to be? Pottery (like Anon above)? Or mosaics-that worked for Gill.

Whatever we try, as Amy says, it's hard to quieten that rainforest of monkeys within who insist on cackling away, criticising whatever create. But by making creativity a frequent practice we really do learn that it's all about the process-mental well being and being fully absorbed.

Ooh I do so love a Crafternoon, me. :o)

Lady Jane Sat, Oct 18th 2014 @ 10:57pm

Every time I make a model with my young daughter for a school project my Moodscope score is 100 per cent!

Hopeful One Sun, Oct 19th 2014 @ 8:42am

I tried to reply yesterday but the computer kept saying 'no' so a belated 'thank you' for your kind words.Not only was the decision to admit my wife to a nursing home one of the most difficult but also the most heartbreaking.I cannot describe to anyone the feelings that went through my mind as I drove my wife down the drive knowing she was not going to come back to her beloved home.I consoled myself that it did not perhaps matter in a way as she was no longer aware.Afterwords when I was on my own I have never felt so lonely and the house felt so empty.However I was fortified by the knowledge that my two boys and her side of the family were unanimous that it was the right decision.I learnt a lot about myself that day but that is a story for another occasion....

The Creative Beast Sun, Oct 19th 2014 @ 4:09pm

A great post! Thank you for pointing out the various ways that we express our creativity, beyond making artful things, which seems to detract so many from delving into the therapeutic effects of working with ones hands. I am a strong advocate of creativity (as my nom de plume indicates!) and I love how this post illustrates that creativity is not solely about making 'art' but about expressing creativity through creative channels such as gardening, cooking, knitting or even getting dressed in the morning and the way we 'feather our nests' is a means to creativity. The message of how creativity improves our mental outlook is a message that needs to get out there, so thank you for this marvelous post!
And congratulations in discovering a love for mosaics!

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