Happy New Year to you all! As I write my article today I wonder what plans you all have for this fresh new chapter ahead, and what surprises life will throw in our paths to influence our journeys over the next four seasons. January for me is a time for reflection. I am not a maker of new year’s resolutions as such, but I do like to focus on new year hopes and aspirations. These always involve creative endeavours of one kind or another, and the growing of new ideas. By retreating somewhere quiet and peaceful, I can hear my own thoughts and nurture them.
Ever since I was a child there was always a private space for me in my home. A creative corner where my crayons, scissors and sticky things were laid out next to a generous pile of paper, just for me. I feel incredibly fortunate to have grown up in a home where creativity was nurtured, and I recognise the importance of carrying this on into adulthood. Pablo Picasso famously said, ‘Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist once you grow up.’
So this month, if you do not already possess one, I would like to encourage you to make your own creative corner. A place where you can be you; whatever your thing is. You may earn a living from it already or maybe you fit it in around other activities. We all need a private space where we can nourish our soul and thrive from the health benefits that come from being creative. This is the perfect time to start something new, creating positive habits to carry on throughout the year. Something you may have been thinking about for ages, but for whatever reason haven’t made time for until now. Awaken the child that lies in all of us and, however small, seek out your own creative corner.
So where will your space be? If you are lucky enough to have a shed in your garden then claim it! Otherwise, is there a corner of a room where you can stake out your territory? If you need to barricade yourself off from others, consider hanging a curtain or using a screen, these are great for doubling up as extra wall space to pin inspiring images or work in progress. Begin by clearing away any clutter. This is always good for the soul anywhere in the home, not only does it help to make a space bigger but it clears the mind. By reducing distractions, you are free to look with fresh eyes around you and envisage ways to make it work more efficiently for your needs.
Before you move in and fill the area, give it a good scrub and even a coat of paint if you feel inclined. This all helps to give your new space a separate identity from the rest of the home, and adds to the excitement of a fresh start. Next, add your working materials, whatever they may be; make the most of every nook and cranny by adding sufficient storage so everything has its place. This will help to achieve a sense of calm and order around you. Invest in some decent lighting - don’t let bad weather or dark evenings provide you with an excuse to neglect your own needs. When the practicalities are in place, add your inspiration: Your favourite pictures, magazine articles, plants, anything that helps to free your mind and get the creative juices flowing. Remember that this is your space and yours alone, the one place you don’t have to consider others’ needs and tastes, so please yourself.
Once you are in your new sanctuary, bear in mind it may take a while to get acclimatised, don’t expect a torrent of ideas to flow immediately. Be happy to just sit and think, or, like Winnie the Pooh, to just sit. Having removed yourself from life’s distractions (I recommend the “do not disturb” button on your phone!), do whatever you need to find inspiration; listen to music, read books, even gazing out the window can relax and release the imagination, or getting out for a brisk walk before settling down in your new space. Who knows what the future will bring, but feeding your soul and opening doors into the exciting unknown is always a great way to start the new year.
Have fun in your creative corners, I suppose I should take my own advice and potter off to declutter and tidy my own.
Published in the January 2019 edition of Bridport Times magazine: bridporttimes.co.uk