Tag Archives: creativity

A reminder that creativity is good for your mental health on World Mental Health Day

Hello! So back in June I wrote a little ditty to big up Creativity and Wellbeing week, but life sometimes smacks you in the face and makes you not want to tell everyone that you have struggled and are now looking back smugly from the other side. Winston Churchill spoke of his black dog of depression, I feel like the brain is a little like a naughty puppy (ok sometimes very naughty one, that can turn your life upside down like an old school toilet paper advert). You have to train it, entertain it, keep it calm or when you are not looking you may end up with a poo in the corner. But it’s World Mental Health Day and the fact that sharing that you aren’t always totally smashing it and that some people, including myself, find making things helps their brain to chill out and heal a bit is still something important.

Creativity has always been an important part of my life however much of the time I was either too inspired or not at all. This made a great deal of sense when I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in 2013. I wouldn’t say that drawing and making things got me through that and the very tricky time that led to my diagnosis. This was thanks to the support of the ridiculously amazing people around me and the hard working dudes and dudettes of the NHS. Yet my life wouldn’t feel complete now without making something or letting my brain stray creatively on a daily basis. It is also integral to making my life more than just managing my special brain, by providing a distraction in the process of making and little delights as end results.

To steal the wise words of the people over at Creativity and Wellbeing Week:

‘There is a growing body of evidence indicating the profound effect engagement in the arts and creativity can have on health and wellbeing. The arts bring us alive, nourish our curiosity, help us learn – they change the places in which we are treated – and make them places we might want to be, they can improve the relationship between clinician and patient, and they give us the courage to face our own frailties and strengths.’

I have worked in many media when making art or gifts and always carry a little sketchbook for emergencies (to record ideas/also handy for those who may suffer bothersome thoughts). I made the decision to take up jewellery making in 2014 and love that it combines hard-core metal working skills with making pretty and fun transportable pieces that others seem amused by too. I couldn’t recommend jewellery making enough as an activity and wish I had taken the idea seriously at a younger age. But still, learning ain’t just for kids.

Top 3 creativity TED talks

Taika Waititi – The Art of Creativity

Margaret Wertheim- The beautiful math of coral

Julie Burstein- 4 lessons in creativity

Whatever your go-to helper is in life, may it be running, writing, crafting or climbing (if it isn’t going to damage you or anyone else), look after yourself and that pesky puppy and just do it.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Is ‘be more creative’ one of your resolutions? Five ways to ensure you keep that promise

Anna Campbell offers some new ideas about being creative all year round.

When a new year comes around many of us like to see it as a lovely blank page; a clean slate. We look to the new year for a fresh start, a new way of being. Most of our readers are creative in some capacity so it’s not a huge leap to think that you might be resolving to have more creativity in your life. So here is some advice about how to do it and make it stick.

1. Call it a goal, not a resolution

The words we use with ourselves (and others) are really powerful and the idea of a ‘new years resolution’ is almost impossible to keep. If your resolution is to be more creative, what happens if by the end of January you feel you’ve done nothing towards that? You feel despondent. You berate yourself. You give up on that resolution. So let’s not set ourselves up to fail. Call it a goal. A goal is something to aim towards, it’s not something that can be broken.

Yes, some days we are more creative and other days life gets in the way of our best intentions but we still have the goal in the back of our mind. It’s still there reminding us of what is important.

creativity

2. The first ten minutes of every day

Do you procrastinate?

Stupid question I know! We all do. One of my recommendations if this is a real problem for you is to read ‘Get it Done’ by Sam Bennett of the Organised Artist Company. It is full of real, achievable advice for artists. One of the pieces of advice that I love from her is to spend the first ten minutes of your day doing some creative work. Before you do anything else. Before you check your email.

Ten minutes is a small amount of time. It will probably sound too small to really get anything done. And yet you’d be surprised.

She recommends writing out ten minute tasks you can achieve in a project. For me (as a metal clay artist) this could be:

  • do ten minutes of research into the theme I’m currently working on
  • spend the time sketching and refining a design
  • use the ten minutes to order the supplies I need online
  • try out some textures with polymer clay and choose the texture I want to use
  • make a piece in silver clay and leave it aside to dry
  • file a piece I made yesterday
  • shape some earring wires

That kind of thing. Then you get up and spend the first ten minutes of the day doing one of those things (I recommend choosing your task the day before).

This works for a number of reasons. The first is that ten minutes is not a lot of time. Set a timer if you want to.

Secondly, whatever happens with the rest of the day you have done your minimum. There is a real psychological benefit to this that you will notice when you try it.

Thirdly, getting up ten minutes earlier to get something done is not as off-putting as having some lofty goal to meditate at 5am. It feels do-able. And it is.

3. Always carry a notebook/sketchbook

Have you noticed that inspiration can strike at any moment? It normally happens when you are busy doing something other than being creative. I always have a little un-lined notebook and pen with me in case an idea flies by and I need to catch it. Just having it in my bag makes me feel like a creative person.

 4. Learn something new

I am a real advocate of this. I love going to classes. I went to one on digital fabric printing just this week. I want to use the fabric I’ve printed in some way in my jewellery (I haven’t figured out how yet). The how isn’t the point. Learning something new always gives you a different perspective on things. Whether you want to try life drawing, singing, or learn a different jewellery making technique – it can only add to your creative ideas.

 5. Compare yourself with yourself

There’s nothing that kills creativity quite so much as comparison. It is now so fabulously easy to look at the jewellery made by people all around the world via the power of the internet. And it is easy to be intimidated; to think ‘I could never think of that’, ‘I could never be as good as that’.

You are you. Wherever you are on your creative journey there is no one that can think and create quite like you. So just keep doing it. You never know, someone might be thinking exactly the same thing about your work.

 Anna Campbell is an experienced teacher and enjoys all types of jewellery making including beading and silver clay. She runs her own business, Light Boat Jewellery and has made jewellery for celebrities. However, before having a jewellery business she studied psychology and has taught psychology at university level.

 

Lego and the art of creativity

Lego may seem an unusual topic for this blog, but after a group of London Jewellery School staff and tutors went to The Art of The Brick exhibition, taking place on Brick Lane near our studios, we felt inspired about our making as well as small plastic bricks.

art of brick

The Art of Brick is by Nathan Sawaya who works entirely in Lego, creating sculptures, portraits, versions of famous artworks and even dinosaur skeletons. As well as the Lego works, the exhibition features video interviews with and quotes from Sawaya which really struck a cord with the LJS team.

He talks about how important it is for everyone to have a creative outlet and that in his previous career as a corporate lawyer he would find himself sitting at a boardroom table wishing he was sitting on the floor with a box of Lego – a feeling many LJS students and jewellery makers will be familiar with.

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Sawaya says he uses Lego for his sculptures because it is such an accessible medium – not many people have a block of alabaster handy but may well have a box of small plastic bricks in a cupboard. This is also familiar to jewellery makers. We may not all be able to work in platinum and diamonds but can create beautiful work with wire, beads, polymer clay and a range of other materials.

It is not just the work that Sawaya creates that is inspiring, it is the fact that he found such a fantastic outlet for his creativity. He now has the life we all crave – time to turn his sketchpad of ideas into reality.

It is exactly because we understand that craving that the London Jewellery School exists. We truly believe everyone is creative and we want to help you find your channel whether that be through a taster class, taking a package of silver classes or starting a new jewellery career with the help of a diploma course.

So just like everyone can find some Lego, don’t forget everyone can make jewellery.

art of the brick