“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” Albert Einstein
I have this quote on my website, and I love it because I am passionate about sharing creative ideas and to be inspired by others in return. Einstein was a great believer in promoting creativity because he thought it was through imagination that we can solve problems. We don’t associate the word creativity with Einstein because he was a great big genius, but he was incredibly creative and he used it with impressive effect. Everyone is creative and our lives are enriched by embracing the innate artist that lives within us. So, let’s looks at the benefits. I love a list! …
Lets face it, having a creative hobby can mean you have a craft room; and that can be a wonderful diversion from the family and the pressures of modern life. Stowing yourself away with a cup of tea and a juicy project is the perfect excuse for some quality ‘me time’. If you have young children you will understand the pleasures of such an escape. I have to confess that even a few minutes on the loo felt like a weekend away when mine were little! Nevertheless, even the childless crafter will understand the advantages of quality alone time and the self restorative rewards of being an occasional hermit. It’s a wonderful indulgence.
That feeling of accomplishment on completion of a project is a huge boost to self esteem. I always feel amazing when I have finished making a dress or knitting a jumper, and I don’t even need someone to give me a compliment about it. Just knowing I have done a good job, and seeing a beautiful end result is enough to make me feel good. Here’s the science bit… it’s because our brains release the neurotransmitter dopamine (I googled it!). Dopamine is what gives us feelings of reward and pleasure. You will feel like you have achieved something awesome, and you are not imagining it… you really have! Plus you actually have a physical thing that you can show off and feel proud of.
I heard Martin Clunes the actor say in an interview that he had taken up woodwork, and I totally get that. He is in a job that disappears into the ether when it’s completed. The only tangible proof of his efforts are in the recordings made for TV and that’s not the same as making a table or cabinet that he has worked on with this hands. His dopamine hit from the applause of the audience is a one time thing, but the table he made gives him a repeat dose every time he sees it and touches it.
Just the act of sitting and concentrating on one thing can bring you fully into the present moment. You don’t have to worry about money, relationships or what you are going to make for supper. It’s all about the project you are working on. Being ‘in the moment’ is a very good way of interrupting negativity. All those damaging things you say to yourself and turn over and over can dissipate through focussing on your creative project.
I think it’s the closest I get to meditation. I’m such a busy person and there is always something I need to do in my house, whether it’s cleaning up after the family, cooking or worrying! Just sitting and making a beautiful thing is a positive practice that keeps me calm and connects me with my inner Buddhist.
You really don’t need tons of cash to be creative. Lots of people took up sewing and knitting during lockdown and I’m sure it was because you don’t need heaps of expensive equipment. We were deprived of doing communal hobbies like going to the gym or the pub and even going to the shops became a solitary task for essentials only. So it makes perfect sense to me that learning to sew became popular. All you need are a few simple tools and your imagination.
Starting something new can seem daunting, and I have noticed in the shop that customers ask me the most basic sewing questions. I always try to give good advice but it’s usually the reassuring aspect that makes the difference. It’s so easy to get imposter syndrome and feel that you are not good enough, but honestly, I believe everyone can be creative. Once you have the basic skillset it’s just a case of growing your knowledge step by step, and in this modern age you can get that easily with the help of online tutorials. At the touch of a search button you can pick up new skills in the time it takes to watch a YouTube video. I have some beginner tutorials too if you haven’t seen them yet … CLICK HERE
I know, I know! Escape was the first thing on this list, but you can decide who your creative community is going to be. If you thrive on being a creative hermit then fire up the laptop join a Facebook group, start a Pinterest board and follow your favourite artists on Instagram.
Sharing your feelings about the difficulties you encounter can be very therapeutic, and will show you that you are not alone. Joining a Facebook group about knitting or sewing or whatever you like doing is a communal experience that gives you validation and support. Many a time I have thrown a piece of sewing into the corner of the room in a fit of rage when it goes wrong, and knowing that other sewers are throwing things into their corners too is very reassuring and stops me feeling useless. If only Facebook had been invented when I was sewing in my teenage years. It would have saved me many tears of frustration. Having said that I’m glad all my mad rock and roll years are not recorded on TikTok or going viral on Twitter! I’m quite happy to hide away the faded photos taken at the Athletic Club and Northern Soul nights thank you very much.
Alternatively if you have children what better gift than sharing your skills with them. Opening the craft room door and passing on your passion to the next generation is a wonderfully bonding experience and I meet lots of customers who tell me they learned their sewing skills from parents and grandparents.
Both types of communication offer their own rewards, but reaching out to others with your creativity is a very positive and reassuring experience.
The best reason of all! Creating something yourself that is absolutely and completely unique to you; defines your self image, boosts confidence, and is wonderfully self affirming. Look at the The Great British Sewing Bee. The contestants are given a pattern to make up for their first challenge in the program. It’s exactly the same pattern for everyone, but look at the differences in the finished garment. They pick different fabrics, different trims, the colours vary hugely and as a result their own personal style is reflected in their work. I absolutely love this aspect of sewing and being creative. Whatever you make is an echo of who you are and your own unique style.
Being creative is open to everyone. I never believe people who say they are not creative or have no imagination. What they mean is they just haven’t exercised their creativity yet. In a world that creates too much waste I think the more we create clothes, gifts, homeware or whatever we want to create, the better it is for the planet and the more happiness we create in our lives through self expression.
Start today and be the best version of you.