Monday, 1 January 2018

What if ? Learning to beat self doubt.

Feelings of  'not being good enough', and self doubt run very deep. They've plagued me my whole life.  I constantly seek approval and validation from other people. Does this sound familiar? I'm guessing from many conversations I've had that it rings a bell with a lot of you. 

Those of us who are artists and artisans are putting a little bit of ourselves out there every time we share our work, and that can be incredibly hard.  Others long to be creative, but don't feel they can because, 'I can't (draw, paint, sew, sculpt, write, etc... ) that's for other people'.  I've lost count of the times I've heard his from people who come to my classes. Honestly, I get such a buzz when they find out that they can! Supporting and encouraging other people is pure joy. Supporting and encouraging myself, however, is not! 

 Over the years I've made so many half-hearted attempts to 'do something ' about my own nagging self doubt.  I've read so many self help books, visited dozens of websites and listened to more podcasts than you can count!   I get confident for a while but then something happens which knocks me back and makes me feel that 'I can't'.  It could be something as simple as my post not getting what I have deemed 'enough' 'likes' on social media, in order to make me feel like a worthwhile human being! Crazy, but true!

It's our real fear of  'the bad things',  (duh , duh, duh) that we might face rejection, disapproval,  not being liked, etc,  that holds us back.

Let's get this in perspective - I might face 'the bad things', but I might not. If I did, what would be the worst that could happen? If someone disapproves, or decides they don't like me or what I do, that's their right.  However much I  may wish it wasn't so, not everybody is going to like me, or my art. Actually, though, I only want to share my creative world with people who 'get' me, like and appreciate what I do, so is it really any loss? 

If I'm rejected, I can see it as a learning opportunity and try a different direction or approach.  Again, what I do won't not appeal to everyone, and that's  okay. I'm still going to freak out sometimes, because I'm human, but that's fine too. 

If any of this this resonates with you, whether as an artist,  a creative, (or just personally, in terms of life the universe, and everything)  then I invite you join me on my journey.

I'm beginning the year spending some time looking back over the last one.  If you think this might be helpful for you,  then please take some time to think about what you achieved - and what you wanted to do, but didn't, because you were afraid to.

I'm going to  look at:

How and why I reacted to my new situation in the way I did.   
What I can learn from my achievements  - what worked and why was it successful? 
What things didn't pan out as I hoped?  Why did that happen and how could I have done things differently?    

It's time to try to make the most of future opportunities, instead of hiding under the table,  and  changing  'I can't' to -

'What if '?  

I know I'm not alone. 
What do you want to achieve?  It can be anything at all,  but, if it's a lack of faith in yourself and your capabilities which is stopping you, let's talk about it. Or, if you've managed to conquer your fear, what's helped you deal with it?

We can work on self doubt and give 'the bad things' a good bashing. Let 2018 be the year you say  'What if'? Then try! 

I wish you all  good things in this New Year!

Friday, 1 December 2017

Winter Nature Walk

 Bright winter brings a strange architectural beauty to the landscape.

Spiky, flamboyant teasel heads dominate the marsh.

Outlines are more defined -  edges are crisp and sharp against the clear blue sky.

Oak galls resemble a structure of miniature domes.

Rose hip boughs form decorative arches, and geometric designs.

Even the ragged edges of the fallen leaves seem to create distinct  abstract shapes against the earth.

Looking closely at the natural world opens the doors to so much new interpretation...

Friday, 24 November 2017

Creative workshops: what do you think?

Socrates said “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”.  

Today I have a question for you.  

There's always a catch. You have to read this post before you get to it!

I ran a new hand embroidery workshop last Saturday, based around the technique I call 'Stitch Doodling'.

It's a concept of using a simple shape, then building up the design within it, step by step. This is the sample I designed, a vintage themed version of my original bunny, (which you can see below.)

I try and give as much as I can to help people get the maximum out of their day. My favourite workshop joke is that I only have one rule, 'There are no rules'! 

It's true though - and it's up to me to help each person to think - and find the way that works for them. That's quite hard work. Brilliant fun, but not always easy. (Any tutors reading this, I know you're with me here!)

With this new class, there was a lot of content for the participants to get to grips with. There's always a certain amount of trial and error delivering a new workshop, regardless of how much preparation has gone into the day. You can never tell how people will relate to the content; sometimes you need to make speedy changes on the hoof. I had one or two panicky moments, but I think I got away with it, and I think everyone went away happy!

Okay then; taking into account:

  • coming up with an achievable concept and a plan 
  • creating samples
  • drafting (and often endless re-writing) numerous handouts 
  • putting kits together 
  • and then making sure there is a friendly, relaxed and supportive environment (and of course, cake)

Is it worth it? 

Personally, I feel there is nothing quite like interacting face to face. I get a huge buzz from sharing knowledge, and helping people discover how creative they can be. 

It's a powerful thing. 

Watching people's delight when they achieve something they've never done before, and knowing you helped, well, it's pretty amazing. 

Plus, it's a two way process; I learn so much from students - about life, the universe and everything!   

So fellow creative tutors, and those of you who come to our classes; what do you think makes a great workshop?

Original thread doodle bunny