I've been awfully luckily most of my life and have always been surrounded by creative people. When I was a small child my grandmother would spend hours teaching me how to knit, sew, and approach all crafts with the patience of a saint. My mum and dad always encouraged my drawing and painting and proudly displayed all my masterpieces on the fridge. My mum would spend hours tucked away in the basement studio she had made for herself painting ceramics to sell.
Fast forward to high school and I was starting an Art Club to get all of the arty kids together and put on exhibitions so we could show everyone in the school the incredible things we had created. OK fine, so I would cringe at the sight of all of that stuff now - I remember an "artsy video" in particular that I made for a film class. I tried to watch it a couple years later and it was so awful - I thought it was "so artsy" though.
When I was a teenager I started going to see bands play and attending zine fairs, craft fairs and art workshops on the weekends. I tried screen printing for the first time when I was 15 at some awesome weekend art and music festival (my hometown was a REALLY neat place to grow up by the way). My friends and I were always having crafternoons and forever making things.
Art and creative practice and process was constantly laced into my life. My love of it grew as I got older, and it wasn't even something I thought of, it was just something I did. When it came time to apply to university I chose the arts and crafts school that was half way across the country from where I grew up. A friend of mine from my hometown was also attending and it was going to be great to get back together. We'd spend so much time going round thrift stores together sourcing the perfect materials for the crafts we were working on. We were both studying textiles and the studios were open 24/7. I'd often spend all day long there, then go off to work at my job for a few hours and then return in the evening for another few hours. I was a non-stop making machine.
During my second year I got a phone call from my parents to say they were moving back to the UK and did I want to come with. Uhh... yes, but what about uni? I decided I would come along if I could get into the university I applied to so I could continue studying. I asked my tutor which courses she would recommend applying to as she had convenient, just returned from a tour of the UK campuses. I applied and got into my first choice so that was it - I would move to the UK and start all over again.
It hardly took any time at all for me to settle in to a circle of amazing creative people, ahh art school, and start up crafternoons and drawing sessions with my friends. I met some brilliant people in those years who would go on to be my best friends years later. It's a whole other story of how I ended up being an illustrator after studying textiles. I'll save that for another time.
Whether it has been through art or music, I've always been lucky to be surrounded by creative people. I love it and I can't think of having it any other way. I thought I would do a quick bit on Three Reasons to Spend Time With Creative People.
This one is an obvious one and it kind of goes without saying but when I walk away from spending time with my creative friends I feel ready to tackle anything. I'm so inspired and it sometimes feels like a bit of a reboot. Things that felt stale suddenly come back to life and I find the energy to tackle them all over again from a totally different viewpoint. Taking proper time out from the day to day running of my business always flicks on a switch for me as well that helps me have more creative ideas. I'm always having ideas pop into my head but often I find that some good time with my creative friends leaves me full of TOO many ideas sometimes. It's such a great feeling. It's like getting plugged in for an upgrade.
Let's you know you're not alone.
This is one for the other small business owners in particular. You know I spent a lot of time worrying about everything. It's easy these days, as everyone knows I'm sure, to spend a lot of time comparing. Whether it's comparing yourself to someone on instagram, or another social media channel. We should all know by now that the version of themselves people put on the internet is the best version. It's the well edited version usually with all negativity and doubt omitted. However, even though we may be aware of that I still catch myself doing it. Comparing my step one to someone elses' step ten - and it's the WORST. I should know by now that it's not going to help me. I would sit around for ages thinking "wow, all these people are doing such a great job and I'm just barely holding it together". It wasn't until I started making friends with other people who run creative small businesses that I was able to learn it's not all that perfect. That was a lifesaver. It is so amazing to know that there is someone there you can share triumphs and tribulations with, there is someone there that is going through the same worries and doubts as you are. It's really nice to know that you're not alone. Being your own boss, working from home on your own, on a tiny little business is lonely work sometimes. There have been many days when the only people I'll talk to in a day are the women at the Post Office!
Another point of view.
I remember when I was in university I used to spend hours and hours working on my drawings. A project deadline would come and I'd have about double the required work and drawings ready for submission. I was obsessed (and yes, I did get a First Class degree to show for it). It gave me so much joy to toil away on my creative work. I gained so much from spending time with both my boyfriend at the time, who was also very creative, and my best friends who were studying at the university. We would hang out, drink tea, work on drawings and exchange ideas. I spent a lot of time trying to work through certain problems, or not being able to get something to look right and it would be something as simple as another set of eyes on it that made the world of difference. With that, a friendly suggestion of what I could do to improve it, make it work, or a great tip on how to get the effect I wanted. It would have been something that I wouldn't have even thought of. When you're surrounded by fine artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers and designers that is a wealth of knowledge you've got there. Beautiful things can happen.
I have been so lucky to be constantly surrounded by friends who are creative. I know I'll never has as much time as I once did, when I was at uni, but I hope that in my adult years I can maintain the solid foundation of creative companions. Whether they be musicians who write incredible songs, illustrators with the perfect lines, or collage artists putting all of the best elements together, all of my friends inspire me. This year I hope to make more time to get together with those people who are bubbling pots of creativity, more "bosses days out", more time to play with processes and more inspiration. I guess this is what people call their "tribe"?
Are you lucky enough to have some incredibly creative people in your life? I'd love if you could share with me what you love about them. What do you find best about creative people?