...cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood...
'Creativity is her life force that makes her bloom. Take that from her and you take her soul.'
Sometimes fait has a magical way of popping something into your life at just the right time; a person, an event, a job, a break... for me, this 'something' came in the form of a book.
I very recently came across it via a post on another's blog (I can't for the life of me remember which one). The review was glowing enough for me to include it on my 'too read list' and here I am, having read it in it's entirety, feeling super inspired, undeniably focused and less weary of my creative needs and ambitions.
The Rainbow Way was much deeper than I had expected. The author even confesses to it being deeper than she had originally intended but it makes complete and utter creative sense and holds much which can be related to.
I would go as far to say, this book has a life of it's own. It spoke to me, almost as if it had been written specifically for me. (I know, deep right?)
There were two parts of this book which particularly rang true with me. The first, came from one of the mothers interveiwed...
'... School was torture to my creative mind... Creativity was looked upon as a second-hand citizen... I felt constantly repressed and lived only for art class.'
Yes!!! This was me too... I can't help but feel that school sapped me of my creative essence and it started very young. It possibly began when I was around 4 or 5, involved a picture I was painting of a bus and a teaching assistant who told me the door, of said bus, didn't look accurate enough. One little detail, one little remark, but to my four year old self it felt massive and it stuck.
Then, there came art at Secondary School. That one little hour and 'I lived for it', even if it was tainted by a never ending stream of different teachers, all with their own opinions and preferences. Here's some of the things that, that one little hour taught me...
·All artwork must be relevant and noticeably reflect that of a famous artist.
·You should NEVER use black in a painting... EVER!
·Watercolour is for old ladies who are looking for a hobby (that is an actual quote from a teacher).
·Everything would look better as a screen print (now I loved screen printing but this teacher's obsession set of the rebellious teenager in me).
I don't intend to completely bash my art education, there was much good that came from these lessons too and some of the teachers were incredibly inspirational, if not slightly held back by a restricted education system. I also believe the teaching of art history has an integral part to play but for me, there was simply not enough space to simply 'be' and create.
I went on to do (or should I say mess up) my A-Levels at college, had a reasonably, if not worse, experience and then that was me done. I put aside any creative dreams, got myself a job and locked away the very essence of who I am. Occasionally, she would come out on a whim but all her efforts ended up in the bin.
Fast forward 10 years...
The second part of The Rainbow Way which really spoke to me was it's chapter on 'a creative renaissance'.
'The vital forces which have been lighted in their bodies through pregnancy also rekindle their creative passion.'
It wasn't until William came along that I really started feeling an overwhelming creative desire again. Maybe it was something other worldly, maybe it was simply the space from work, the remergence of art materials in my home, the desire to get William creating, a nurturing instinct to make things, but something definitely happened in me. There was a re-awakening of creative energy, a desire... no a 'need' to paint. I finally realised the emptiness I had felt for so long, the sense of loss and regret was all due to a creative avoidance, a pretence that I didn't need it, that I could be something else.
Last year was big for me, I rediscovered my love of art and craft, the joy of creating and most importantly I developed a new skill. A skill to take pleasure in other people's creations, to admire, to applaud and take inspiration from whilst always staying true to myself.
The irony of having a creative re-awakening just after having a child is the challenge of time, working round a baby and then a busy toddler. This is where The Rainbow Way becomes most useful for me and my journey. It notices this dilemma and has pointed me in the right direction. It has squashed that feeling of guilt and made me realise that I really do need to plan my time. It has stopped me wasting energy on regretting all that time I wasted before I became a mother, what matters is what I do now.
William has a number of hours at pre-school now and this time will be/ has to be used wisely. A creative mother who creates is a happy mother. A happy mother is a happy family, right?
I imagine this book will stay with me for a while. I have done some of the exercises and fully intend to go back to do the others. There's also a great list of random creative projects to do by yourself, as well as a section dedicated to creating with your children. Whatever stage you are at in motherhood, whatever part of your creative journey you are on, whatever your creative niche may be, this book is a great source for some positive guidance, even if you don't think you need any.
Thank you Lucy H.Pearce, this book came to me at just the right time, so much more than a 'how to' :)