Create! August blog - Finding your inspiration
It seems crazy to be thinking about Christmas when we’ve just had so much beautiful hot weather, but that’s what I’ve been doing this week.
With back-to-school time approaching rapidly it’s time to start thinking about what’s going to be happening over the next four months. For me it’s a big time to be planning what’s going on in my classes. I’ve got that whole back-to-school feeling. I’ve got to be ready, got to be organised, got to get my new pencil case sorted… (some things never change!).
I’ve been thinking really hard about what to do this term as I like to keep things fresh, for me as much as everyone else, because I have to deliver the same classes several times a week. I like to be enthusiastic about what I do, not simply churning out the same old stuff.
I take this time to get busy looking at different sources of inspiration. I go to lots of art galleries, look at different content online and watch lots of things on TV about artists - there’s an amazing programme on BBC Four at the moment about the Bauhaus with Vic Reeves. I also talk to my arty friends and spend a lot of time looking at Pinterest too. It’s really great for inspiration and new ideas. If you’re not on there already I’d highly recommend taking a look.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my daughter this summer, who’s very artistic, but she also has a terrible habit of saying “I’m bored”, which really frustrates me. I just think there is so much inspiration out there if you look around that there’s never any need to be bored. There’s a phrase which sums it up for me - “only boring people say they’re bored’. Obviously, I haven’t said that to my daughter but I just feel like there’s so much out there, so many things to try, so many places to go. If you look around there’s inspiration everywhere.
Hopefully we will be able to inspire you here at Create! over the coming months too. We’ve got some really fab stuff coming up. Lots of classes, painting and drawing as normal, but our after-school classes start next week too (w/c 2 September) which I absolutely love. It’s great to see all the kids doing their arty stuff.
We’ve also got some great workshops coming up, the first of which is Stone Stories for children. It’s a spooky one this term, based around Halloween, so stories like Funny Bones and Room on the Broom may make an appearance. It’s actually on Halloween itself and is going to be lots of fun. More details here. I’m also doing a couple of making workshops for children around Halloween too.
After that it’s on to thinking about that C-word I mentioned right at the start of this blog - yes, Christmas - already! I hate to mention it, but we’ve had to start planning. I’ll be running wreath-making workshops again with my sister Sophie from Sanctuary Garden Design and I’m afraid we’ve already started booking these! If you’re interested in booking either a private class or a place on one of the public sessions you will need to do this soon as places tend to disappear very quickly.
We’re really excited about seeing everybody as the new term gets underway and we’d love to see your or your children at one of our sessions soon. If you have any questions please get in touch.
In the meantime, keep being inspired!
Feel the fear…
Welcome to July’s blog.
I wanted to talk a little bit about fear this month.
Deciding to start out on an artistic venture can be very scary and the blank page can feel like your worst enemy. You want to do something but you just don’t know where to start. This process can put a lot of people off, but it’s usually something you need to put yourself through to create something beautiful.
I went to an open studios event in Wiltshire a few weeks ago and spoke to all sorts of amazing people who were very inspiring. Many of them had started out in very different places, and some had little technical art training. One lady I spoke to was originally a neurosurgeon but had decided on a complete career change and now makes beautiful stone carvings. She’d had to completely change her life in order to pursue a career that allowed her to pursue her passions.
It can be very hard to make that leap between what’s deemed an acceptable, safe job and something more creative, but I am full of admiration for anyone that manages it.
I’m going through something similar at the moment, that’s caused me some creative fear of my own. I’ve in the process of illustrating my first book and met with the author to show her my drawings for the first time earlier this month. I had that horrible moment of “oh no, she’s going to hate them”, but she loved them and with a few tweaks we were on the way again.
It’s a scary moment putting yourself out there artistically but it’s something you kind of have to go through to get to the next step. It’s really about just having the confidence to get started and get on with it, and we’ve got lots of ways to help you do that here at Create! over the next month.
Our Women in Art masterpieces sessions will be running throughout August, for children and adults. We’ll be exploring a whole range of female artists who will, again, have felt that fear and had to put it out there, had to break rules and had to challenge the norms. I think there’s something so brave and compelling about the fact they felt the urge to do that.
We’ve got lots of different artists on the list - Frieda Kahlo, Barbara Hepworth, Beatrix Potter, Sonia Delauney, Marie Cassat, Yayoy Kusama and Bridget Riley - all of whom are ground-breaking artists in their own right and I’m very excited to be looking at them this summer.
We’ll also be doing classes for adults to explore some of those similar themes, so we’ll be looking at a bit of self-portraiture, a bit of delicate pen and ink drawing, attempting to emulate the styles of those artists.
There’s arguably nothing scarier than doing your own portrait because it reveals something about you, and all the bits about you that you’re maybe not so happy about. A definite touch of the fear factor there, but I’d encourage everyone to try it!
We’re also running two amazing workshops in August:
If you’re interested in any of these sessions please do get booked in quickly as they will sell fast, especially once the school holidays kick in properly and people start looking for things to do to fill the six weeks! All the details are on the Create! website.
Thanks for reading this month’s blog. Remember, whatever you’re doing today, try to do at least one thing that puts you outside your comfort zone a little bit, you won’t regret it!
Hopefully see you soon.
Be inspired at Create! this June
Welcome to this month’s blog. I am feeling totally inspired this month after a wonderful trip to the gorgeous Spanish city of Granada. I was lucky enough to spend a few days there recently and be catapulted into a world of beautiful tiles, carvings and wonderful art.
There’s nothing like that total immersion into another culture to get you fired up and feeling creative. I’d totally recommend a trip out of your usual day-to-day life, even if it’s just a visit to a local art gallery or a mooch around some art shops or artists’ workshops. It’s such a great way to get you thinking artistically. I’ve come back totally fired up and inspired.
Inspirational activities at Create!..
We’re going to be doing lots of inspirational work here at Create! over the next few months and have some really fun workshops coming up.
Inspired by the success of last month’s Stone Stories workshops run by local artist Debra Webster, we will be repeating these over the summer holidays to allow even more children to get involved.
Debra is a former teacher and helps children to paint their favourite stories onto stones. Her emphasis is on interpreting stories through creative play, which is so crucial in children’s development. The finished stones come in a beautiful bag, allowing them to be used again and again. Details are on the website and I would recommend getting booked on as soon as popular as the previous workshop was extremely popular.
We also ran a fantastic print-making class for adults earlier this month with the wonderful Bridie Filer, which was a huge success. I’m hoping we can replicate this in the future too. You can see the stunning creations that came out of this class on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
We will once again be holding masterpieces classes for children during the summer holidays, this time inspired by some of the great female artists of all time.
Last year we featured lots of different artists but I’m ashamed to say not many of them were women, so this year we are devoting the whole course to inspirational women. We’ll be taking seven great female artists including Barbara Hepworth, Sonia Delaunay and Yayoi Kusama and creating art in the style of them. It’s a great way of ensuring kids remain creative throughout the summer holidays.
Sessions will be split into two different age groups and you don’t need to sign up for every single one, you can dip in and out, and focus on the one or two you really like the sound of. Details for these classes are also on the website.
I look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon. We’re very inspired here and looking forward to getting you inspired too. So go on, get inspired, be creative - it’s the way forward!
May news from Create!
Time is flying…
Can you believe it is May already? I really don’t know where the time has gone this year. It’s passing so quickly and I just can’t seem to grab hold of it!
It really hit me last week when I was walking my daughter to school for the first day of the summer term. Time is flying and the summer holidays will be here before we know it. It got me thinking about how much has happened in the last few years and how grateful I am to be able to take her to school and pick her up every day.
This time two years ago I was working flat out as a teacher in a secondary school and spending lots of time commuting. Now I don’t have to do that anymore and I can be there for my daughter every day because I am lucky enough to work in this wonderful space that I call my own.
Making the most of every minute..
It made me think about how quickly things can turn around if you really put your mind to it. Two years ago I had not even started this business and now I’m here putting all these lovely classes on, meeting the most wonderful people who have decided to take a bit of time out of their day to come and do something creative.
If there’s one message I wanted to get across this month it’s ‘just do it!’. Just take the time to go and do something you really want to do, whatever that may be, because time passes so quickly and soon that chance may have gone. Make the time to do something important to you.
For me, it was prioritising my family, my mental health, my sanity and my creative self. I felt like I needed to do something that gave me that creative outlet. With that in mind, I set up my business and here I am, less than two years on, getting to do all of that while doing a job I love.
If there’s something you really want to do, go and do it. It is possible. You just need to find a way.
If doing something arty is important to you then I have lots of solutions for you! I run various classes for adults, including drawing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and painting on a Friday. I also run after-school classes for children ranging from 4 to 14. Details of these are on the website.
One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a while is get some guest artists in to run classes. So, in keeping with the theme, I’ve grabbed the opportunity, got some booked in, and the first one is happening this month.
It will be with the lovely Deborah Webster from Stone Stories on May 30. She helps children explore storytelling by making their own decorative stones. For two hours your child will get the chance to explore a story of their choice and create their own stones, leaving with a decorative bag full of them, which can be used over and over again at home.
The second guest workshop is happening on June 13 with art teacher Bridie Filer, who will be running a print making masterclass. She’ll be teaching you how to make beautiful prints from lino on the theme is birds. Some of you might remember doing lino printing at school and how difficult it was to cut through the really hard material, but that won’t be a problem here as we are using the new, soft lino which makes life a lot easier! It is a three-hour workshop where you can really lose yourself in creating a beautiful piece of art.
Details for both classes are on the website but if you’re interested please do book on soon as they are going to be really popular and I would hate for people to miss out.
Making it happen..
I’m now off to spend some time on another project which has been on my wish list for a while, which is illustrating a book. I hope you have a fabulous month and manage to carve out some time to do the things you love. Hopefully my musings have inspired you to go and do something you’ve always wanted to. Time goes so quickly, grab it with both hands and make the most!
Create! April blog - New beginnings
A fresh start..
Welcome to the Create! April blog. There’s something about this time of year with all the fantastic spring blooms and the lovely sunny weather that encourages me to think of new beginnings and trying things I’ve always wanted to do.
I’ve just started a really interesting new project doing book illustration, which I’m very excited about as it’s something I’ve always wanted to try my hand at. I’ve finally started putting pen to paper this week and it’s been great, but also really nervewracking.
Looking at a blank piece of paper and wondering ‘where do I start?’ is one of the hardest things you can do. It’s really scary! When I run my classes I always start with something to draw so that people don’t feel intimidated, but I had to start completely afresh this week and that certainly has been challenging. I’m so happy I’ve started it now though. I think that’s often the way with so many things - getting over the first hurdle is the hardest bit.
I had a really exciting day earlier this week when I had a fantastic photographer come to take some promotional shots of me and the business. I would thoroughly recommend Jo Welch http://www.jokatywelch.com , she’s based in Sherwood and her work is wonderful. I’m hoping to have some beautiful photos to share with you soon.
New workshops coming soon..
We’ve got lots of amazing stuff coming up over the next few weeks, including the return of our Easter craft workshops for kids. These will be taking place on April 16th and 17th and more details can be found on the website www.createwb.co.uk
I’m also really excited to announce that I’ve been in discussions with some local artists who are going to come in to Create! and do some Master-classes.
First up is Deborah Webster from Stone Stories who will be running a workshop for children. These are really beautiful sessions where children get to create their own story-telling stones and come away with their own set. This will be happening in May and details will go on the website as soon as it is confirmed.
I’ve also been talking to Bridie Filer, who will be running some print-making masterclasses in June. These are great for anyone who’s ever wanted to have a go at lino-printing, or perhaps those who have already tried it but are a bit stuck getting on to the next stage and want to develop their skills.
And finally, Oliver Lovley, a fantastic local artist, is looking to do some oil painting classes. I’ll be releasing more details soon in a newsletter and also on the website.
Bookings are open for next term so have a look through the website and see if there is anything that takes your fancy.
There are also a few spaces on our popular after-school classes, which are always good fun and a great chance for your children to step away from all their normal activities and just focus on doing something creative.
I hope you all have a very happy Easter and a lovely break, and look forward to seeing you soon.
Create! February blog - The month of love
Doing what you love..
Welcome to the Create! February blog. What a month it’s been! As I write this we are enjoying glorious sunshine, which is a wonderful end to what has been a really enjoyable month.
February is often thought of as the month of love, what with all the Valentine’s celebrations. For me, this month I’ve really been thinking about the importance of pursuing your passions and doing what you love.
One of the best parts of my job is helping people to find that time to do something they love, to give themselves a little bit of space to be creative and really enjoy doing it.
Places I love..
Personally, I was really lucky to be whisked away earlier this month to spend some time in Manchester, my second favourite UK city (after Nottingham obviously!). I used to live there and absolutely love it. It’s a while since I’ve been there and it was great to revisit and see how things have changed.
I was so impressed at how the cultural scene is so buzzing and vibrant. There’s regeneration everywhere, particularly in some of the areas that used to be really run-down. There were places I wouldn’t have dreamed of going to 15 years ago that have been taken over by artists, independent makers, bakeries, gin distilleries, art shops…you name it! It’s fantastic and I was left so amazed at how people have got that will to transform an area.
In Nottingham there are really similar things happening in the Sneinton Market area and, if you haven’t explored it yet, I’d really encourage you to go down and meet some of the people there. There are lots of independent artists and makers, and a whole load of small businesses doing really great things. It’s so brilliant to see and really worth a visit.
Sharing the Create! love..
With February drawing to an end I am starting to look forward to our plans for the next few months and I’ve just spent the last week working on new videos for the online course I am developing, which will be coming to a computer near you soon!
I really enjoy talking to camera about what I love doing, which is drawing and creating, and helping other people to be creative. That’s my passion in life and I’m really hoping it comes across.
I’ve also been busy taking bookings for upcoming classes for this term. The drawing and painting classes are getting really busy already, with almost all the places gone, so if you’re interested please get in touch as soon as possible. Our after-school classes are also really busy too, and we have a new sketchbook class for adults coming in May. If you want to find out more about any of these please drop us an email email@example.com.
I hope your month has been good. Enjoy the sunshine and I hope to see you in a class soon!
Hello and welcome to our brand new monthly blog!
First things first, a very belated Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a good start to 2019. I’m really looking forward to an exciting year ahead with lots of new things coming up..not least this blog. I’m aiming to create one a month - with an accompanying vlog - to keep you up-to-date with everything that’s going on at Create! and let you know about what’s coming up. I’d love your feedback on the types of things you’d like to see included.
A creative year..
In this first edition I wanted to spend a bit of time reflecting on the past year. 2018 was a brilliant year, for me personally and for the business. Setting up and launching Create! and continuing to explore what’s possible has been so interesting and rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and what people would like to see more of.
The classes for adults and older children have proved to be so popular, which is lovely to see. The sketchbook classes for children have been brilliant and all our adult classes are now full, which is great!
I have met so many lovely, creative people through these classes, and the atmosphere has been so supportive. It’s just wonderful to see people stepping out of real-life for a while, to become more mindful and absorb themselves in something artistic.
We also held lots of children’s parties in 2018 which enabled us to get out and about into the community. I love working with children and seeing them learn new skills, and the Masterpieces sessions we held over the summer were also fantastic. It was great to enable children to explore some of the great works of art and recreate them in their own way.
Towards the end of the year, the festive season was a real highlight for me. The festive wreath making workshops proved really popular again, but one of the most special things for me was helping to put on the Lady Bay Designers and Makers Market. My Co-organiser Alys (of Alys Power Design) and I helped 20 local creatives set up stall and sell their work to the community of West Bridgford.
I feel really passionately about helping independent makers and designers get the exposure they deserve and the day was a huge success, with over 500 people coming through the doors. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the event.
Turning to 2019, it’s a big year for me as I’m turning 40 at the weekend! Hitting milestone birthdays tend to make you quite reflective and it’s so nice to feel like I am exactly where I want to be in my life right now. I’ve got a great business which works around my family - I get to do the school run and see more of my girls and husband, and I’m getting to do what I love.
There are lots of exciting plans ahead for Create! too. I’m talking to some sheltered accommodation facilities about working with their residents and I’m really looking forward to being able to take art and creativity to people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
I’ve also got plans for more one-off workshops on things like sketchbooking and print-making, and I’d love to hear your ideas about the types of things you’d be interested in attending.
Probably the biggest news is that we are taking Create! global! I will be starting a series of online courses which can be accessed wherever you are. I’m so excited about this and really want to thank everyone who’s supported me with it so far. Stay tuned for more news about launch dates.
I can’t wait to continue getting creative with all our lovely customers this year, and to meet some new ones. Thank you so much for all your support. Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions of things you would like to see, or you’d like to find out more about classes. I hope you have a wonderful start to 2019 and that I get to see you soon.
These are amazing subjects for crafts because they are so beautiful, colourful and spark so many conversations with the kids. They are so architectural and magestic. If you do this activity in the last summer, look out for sunflowers in the shops. They are lovely to brighten up the house, especially when the nights start drawing in! Also in these activities, I’ve included a cute buzzy bee to promote conversations about nature, pollination and the environment.
Activity 1: Sunflower Print/Painting:
What you will need:
Silicone Pastry brush
Paint: Black, yellow and red
Skills you will use:
Mixing colour, Fine motor, Printmaking,
How to do it:
1. Draw round a round object like the bottom of a cup or a small bowl to get a good shape. Use a permenant marker so that you can see the line.
2. Cut out the circle of bubble wrap out.
3. Squirt out some black paint into the paint tray (about a 10p amount is enough)
4. Use the roller to apply the paint onto the bumpy side of the bubble wrap.
5. Have a piece of paper ready….turn the bumpy side of the bubble wrap onto the paper. When you peel the bubble wrap off, you will have a black spotty print which looks just like the sunflower seeds. Put the bubble wrap to one side, we will use this again for the next activity.
6. Squeeze out the red and yellow paint in the tray. Take care not to mix them, we want the kids to experiment with mixing in a minute.
7. Using the silicone pastry brush, dip into the yellow and paint some petal shapes on to the paper around the bubble wrap printed middle. Then use the red paint to add some petals. You can see how the colours start to mix and mingle together.
Activity 2: Sunflower Collage
What you will need:
Circular piece of paper (brown or black)
Tissue paper (yellow, orange)
PVA Glue and Spreader
Skills you will use:
Sticking, Re-using, Cutting, Layering
How to do it:
1. Get a piece of paper, brown or a dark colour works well. Using the same object you used for making the bubble wrap circle, draw another circle. TIP: draw your circle at the side of the paper to avoid waste and it’s easier to cut out.
2. Cut out the circle
3. Layer the orange and yellow tissue paper. 4 layers works well. You can do this by folding or cutting out some small pieces (aprox 2cm x 5 cm) and laying them on top of each other. Draw a petal shape on the top piece.
4. Using the scissors, cut around the shape you have drawn but also cut the layers underneath. You should have several petals cut out by now. Repeat until you have around 20 petals in yellow and orange.
5. Cut a couple of leaf shapes out of the green paper and stick these on to one side of the paper circle so that they emerge from behind the petals, which you will add on in a minute.
6. Put a circle of PVA glue around the outside of the paper circle and start to stick on the petals so that they go around the circle but also that they overlap each other to make a lovely layered effect.
7. Finally, glue the bubble wrap circle that we used to print the sunflower with on top of the petals and you get a fantastic textured sunflower.
Activity 3: Buzzy Bee
What you will need:
A cardboard tube
Yellow and black Paint
Black paper strips
Antenae made from black paper
A black felt tip
PVA Glue and Spreader
Skills you will use:
Painting, 3D, Collage,
How to do it:
Spring Lamb: Ages 2-7
This cute little sheep is super easy and really fun for your little ones.
Sponge ‘dobber’ or cotton wool
Googly eyes (or make your own from small circles of paper and pens)
Funny Bunny: Ages 8+
This activity is perfect for teaching children how to use a pen to make marks to build up a picture.
Bunny Template (download or copy picture)
Pen (Biro/felt or fineliner will all work well)
Draw a Spring Tulip - Older children and adults
This is the puuuurfect project to make something totally beautiful out of scrap! This week, I’ve made these funky cats and dogs with my After-school group. The kids were 9 years old and up. They absolutely loved it (and so did I). It is super simple to do but looks really elaborate. It makes extra use out of gorgeous paper that we get in the house on a regular basis. Give your scrap a second life by re-using wrapping paper; lovely bits of packaging; newspaper; colour supplements and glossy magazines.
It is so important that we try to re-use as much ‘rubbish’ as possible in this day and age, we need to not only appreciate it’s beauty but also develop a social conscience. If we can turn it into something of beauty rather than landfill, whilst our kids get a creative buzz out of doing it …. surely that’s worth a try?
We can make this adorable dog / crazy cat in 10 easy steps.
Watch my sped up video to see how I did it. Here are the steps so you can stop the video as you go along:
1. Draw out dog or cat outline - just eyes and a nose will start you off.
2. Collect a range of interesting paper types e.g. tissue, packaging, wrapping paper. Try to make sure the colours and patterns are varied.
3. Decide on your colour scheme, although this will be dictated to by your scraps unless you have a full wardrobe of technicolour paper hiding away.
4. Cut your cat or dog ‘fur’ paper into small segments…I used elongated triangles. I used a small guillotine but you can use scissors, or if you aren’t confident using them free-hand, you can use a ruler and pencil to mark out your cuts.
5. Collage the eyes of your dog or cat with black tissue paper, if you are making a cat, also collage the nose and mouth, if you are making a dog, collage the muzzle and ears too. Use PVA glue as this is such a versatile glue to create art with, and if you get the washable version, it completely washes out of clothes, skin and hair etc.
6. Work in a methodical fashion laying down the triangular segments around the face. A little tip is to put the glue in sections first and then lay the collage materials down on top. This will save you a bit of time.
7. Fill in the fiddly bits with the shorter lengths of paper, off-cuts if needed.
8. The paper triangles form a kind of a mane, around the face. This gives a magnificent look to the beast, you may wish to trim off….. or not.
9. If you wish to trim off….do so now. You can re-purpose the triangle off cuts to plug any gaps in the ‘fur’ of the animal.
10. Draw in and tidy up any of the areas of the cat / dog to give it a sense of finality. And you are done.
Let me know how you get on. Happy Creating!