Creativity is part of being human. There are no exceptions!
I realise that’s quite a bold opening gambit, but I absolutely believe it to be true. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me things like:
‘I don’t have a creative bone in my body…’
‘I’m not a creative person…’
‘I am rubbish at creative things…’
It makes me sad every time I hear words like these. This belief must have been imposed at some point because I am yet to meet a small child that doesn’t think that everything they produce with paint or crayons or playdoh or Lego isn’t the best thing ever! Isn’t that why our fridges and mantelpieces are covered in crazy pictures and crafts the delighted children in our lives make us as offerings? Give a child a couple of boxes and suddenly they will be in a race-car, or a rocket or a castle; give them a stick and suddenly they have a sword or a magic wand or a guitar. Children are not weighed down with years of comparison and negative thinking, they just express what comes naturally. Doubt creeps up on us gradually and by the time we are grown up, we have lost sight of the pure creative creatures we once were. We see invention and imagination as things that belong to children when they should be part of our experience all the way throughout our life.
Creativity has as many flavours as there are people. My creativity is (and is meant to be) expressed differently to yours. I embroider, draw and paint. I love making things with textiles and turning simple threads and felt into decorative objects and pictures. If you can’t do what I do, does that mean you aren’t creative? Let me ask you some questions and we’ll see…
- Have you decorated your home to your own taste, putting together fabrics, furniture, colours and objects so that you like the way they look?
- Has anyone ever complimented an outfit that you have put together from simple items in your wardrobe?
- Have you ever made up a song or story to calm or entertain a small child?
- Have you ever turned a chore into a game?
- Have you ever had an idea in a meeting at work that has solved a problem?
- Have you ever thought on your feet to manage a crisis?
- Have you ever told an anecdote that has made people laugh, gasp or cry?
All of these things are expressions of creativity. They may not result in something pretty to hang on your wall, but they are all examples of making something out of nothing – taking a few basic elements and turning them into something that causes people to respond. That’s what creativity is, and it has been part of human nature since the dawn of civilisation.
Often when we talk about creativity, what we are really talking about is skill. They are often confused with each other and this confusion can leave us feeling less than we are. When people tell me that they lack creative spark, they mean that they don’t have skills in drawing, or embroidery or writing. The good news is, that this is not a permanent thing. Skills can be learnt.
The first embroidery I remember making was when I was about seven years old. My mum gave me some threads, a needle and a piece of binca – a fabric woven into a grid with big holes for the needle to go through. It was rough and basic but it was mine. I made up the design myself, I stitched it without help and was proud enough to have kept it to this day as a reminder of my first steps in needlework.
As I have grown older, I have become far more willing to just have a go at things. I remember feeling anxious in the past about ‘wasting’ equipment and resources on projects that might not turn out right, or being scared of the blank page in front of me in case I couldn’t turn what I saw in my mind into something good on the page. I have spent years terrified of what people might think of my art but I have come to realise that none of this matters. It’s only paint. It’s only thread. It’s only paper. And who cares if anyone likes it or not? If I have had fun through the process and have learnt something along the way, then surely that is what matters most!
Unlocking creativity is our fourth key value at Featherstitch House. We want to help people learn the skills to express the creativity that is present in all of us by nature. Our YouTube channel has tutorial videos, our Instagram and Facebook page is full of pieces that are made purely for inspiration and our kits are designed with beginners in mind, using simple stitches and processes to help you get started. We are deliberately generous with thread in our kits, because we want you to keep on sewing once the kit is finished. Perhaps embroidery will turn out to be your thing… perhaps it won’t. Either way, there will be something that you can learn that will be the perfect way for you to express your personal flavour of creativity. If we can help you in that process, then that will make our day!
Why not make a start with these beginners kits and see how you get on?