Guest Post: Encouraging and inspiring through creative afternoons
When Meg asked me if I could write a guest post about this, I was over the moon - the opportunity to be on her fantastic website and to share the experience I've had hosting craft afternoons, wow! But when I've tried to write it, it's been more difficult than I expected. It's so hard to capture the emotion and the level of supportiveness and the small changes in people that occur. So please forgive me if I overuse words such as excitement and support and inspiration.
I love listening to women talk about creating
There's an excitement and a passion which shines through. And so often, these conversations are with people who "aren't creative" but who thoroughly enjoy knitting or cross stitch or whatever it is. Somehow being creative is so intrinsically linked with fine art that many people just can't get away from that. For the record, creativity is a huge spectrum of different techniques and processes and outcomes.
A creative afternoon
As well as listening to women talk about creating, I love getting women together to create. I had the honour of doing just that in August. An email went to friends, acquaintances and friends of friends inviting them for croissants, tea and making stuff. They were invited to bring works in progress, their own equipment or just to turn up and have a play with my stash of materials.
At previous creative afternoons I've taught some basic bookbinding, women have taught other women to knit and everyone has got involved. There has been an amazing organic nature to these afternoons, synchronicity that I could never have planned. This was no exception. Despite the normal "I'm not creative " protests, everyone went home having made something. It ranged from mixed media art work to cards to decorations and more. But the thing I hope everyone took away was inspiration and a feeling that they can be creative.
I think the key to these afternoons is very much the women themselves. I could provide the most amazing craft materials, books with instructions and inspiration, detailed tutorials etc but without the women, it would fall flat.
Women are often considered to be nasty, bitchy and judging when they get together in groups. But not these groups. This was a group of mostly strangers who were sat round my table, creating away and providing positive encouragement to everyone else. It's something I would love to see so much more of.
I don't think I can begin to express how heart warming it is to see this in action - genuine support and encouragement between strangers, the amazement when people see that they have created something and the twinkling of the idea that maybe they are creative. It's beautiful.
So if you have a table, a bit of craft stuff and a kettle, get emailing! Invite everyone you know to a tea and creative (creativi-tea if you will) afternoon. I know it's an invitation I would love to receive.
Since I wrote this, I've come across
Crafternoon means getting together with friends, family or colleagues and holding an afternoon of festive crafting to have fun and raise money for Mind.
Make someone's Christmas and help us make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone.