Creativity – a fine balancing act

Polymer Clay Bangle; Close up of cane work

Polymer Clay Bangle; Close up of cane work

I have just spent a few days away with a friend of mine. For those who don’t know me, I am a married woman with 2 young children, one of who is pre-school. I run Bluebell Design Studio almost single handedly;  I am carer, nurturer, house keeper, clothes washer, family feeder amongst my other roles in life. I am a busy working mum like most of you reading this and I have many different hats to wear.

I am also a creative person and by this I mean, I make my living out of doing something creative which is instantly recognisable as such. We are all creative in our own ways, it’s a human condition;  if we weren’t creative as a race then I would not be able to sit here and chat to you through the magical medium that is the Internet. But when I say creative I mean in an arty kind of way. I am a jeweller and a teacher and these are passions in my life.

So what happens when you are a busy working mum (or dad) and you are constantly being pulled away from the creative process? I am rarely free, and by myself to think about my creativity and what actually inspires me. Finding a voice and a way of expressing myself artistically is a challenge when sometimes I can’t even go to the loo without a small person following and chatting behind me, far less pick up a book, go to an art gallery or visit a beach for some quiet contemplation. Such is my life. But for the most part I am grateful. My daughter heads off to school in August and I am all too aware that her young years are precious and are something I will never get back. But the artist, the creative person in me needs some time to kick back and think. Just create something for the sake of it, not because I need to make some money or I have class samples to make, but for the sheer joy of the creative process.

And that’s where my lovely friend Amy comes in. She too is creative, she owns her own jewellery company Amy Mason Jewellery and she’s in the process of setting up her very own gallery in which she intends to sell artwork and jewellery. Based in the beautiful and historic town of Edzell (it even has its own castle!) the Wirren Gallery is a collaboration between Amy and her artist friend Wendy Page. She has hairy babies – two dogs and three cats to be precise and her own purpose built studio in which to work. She is also my respite and my retreat from daily family life; someone who kindly offers me her spare bedroom every now and then, her studio to play in and a likeminded interest in silver metal clay and all things texture related!

This time when I went to stay, we did a skills swap; a very satisfying thing for both of us. I taught her how to make photopolymer plates and she taught how to make this amazing polymer clay bangle. Amy is planning on offering classes in the near future to teach how to make this lovely piece.

Polymer Clay Bangle made with black, white and purple cane

Polymer Clay Bangle made with black, white and purple canework

It was lovely being a student again and exploring something that was in some way related to what I do, but completely different. And now as I am typing this on the train after a 48 hour break, I return home, revitalised and refreshed ready to don my other hats and see my children who have apparently ‘missed me lots’!

I know it may sound selfish to take some time out from your family just for yourself, but seriously how often do you do it? Really take time to sit and relax and let the creative juices flow? I believe it’s your responsibility to allow yourself some time for self-care.  I think it makes us much more rounded and happier human beings and in turn this makes us much more able to be there and care for those who rely on us to look after them. Plus the fact, it’s done wonders for my inspiration. Two days of playing, chatting, laughing and drinking wine have given me some lovely new ideas for my summer range and I can’t wait to get started!