02 Dec 2013

Creative Inheritance – What are we passing on to our Children?

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Dear Friends,

Here is another Carnival Blog on our creative inheritance… I hope you enjoy 🙂

I was thinking about the question of Creative Inheritance and what it means to me. I am an Artist so I paint, draw, make, design, and now I am an Author, but my parents and ancestors are not ‘Artists’ in the traditional sense. However, ‘Creativity relates to or involves the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something’ (Oxford Dictionary) so in that case my ancestors are ALL ‘Creative’! Yay! It is so important to cultivate our imaginations and not solely rely on developing our intellect so we can really live wholesome lives.

I trained as an Art Therapist some years ago as I love Art (obviously) and have always felt really connected to the way our experiences shape our life. I was/am particularly interested in the way our birth story is reflected in our life patterns because we are conscious at birth. I love the idea of using art to express our deeper selves in all different ways: image, music, text or craft etc. The wonderful thing about Art Therapy is that it encourages your creative flow without the pressure of producing a ‘good enough’ finished object. I have always been very passionate about encouraging people ‘back’ to their creative selves and not fear their feelings of creative inadequacy. The number one phrase I hear, whether in an art therapy session, an expressive art class or just in passing conversation is: ‘I am no good at art… I wasn’t good at art at school’! The feelings of ‘not good enough’ at something inherent, individual and unique, that comes from the depth of a person’s being, is a ridiculous notion but nonetheless a very real and painful one. I believe EVERYONE is creative! Everyone has a right to be creative through whatever medium they desire and they will naturally have preferences or be drawn to a particular method. For some it’s poetry, for others it’s knitting, making quilts, crafting wood or metal, or creating unusual designs, buildings, making music… the list goes on.

I think it is sad that many of us have to ‘find our way back’ or ‘reconnect’ to our creative selves and that it is something which has been ‘lost’, suppressed or killed off over time. I’m afraid that schools have a lot to answer for in the creative department! A school’s primary function is to educate the intellect and produce human beings who can follow orders, remember memorised facts, be proficient in exam techniques and go onto feed the corporate business world. Being ‘creative’ is something we have to work harder at and in particular making art. Art is seen as a pat on the head for the ones who aren’t good at science and maths, unless you are ‘good’ at art. There is constant grading of your ability to produce a ‘good’ picture/object which gains an A, B, C or lower mark. For example, a ten year old child who receives a C in art automatically internalises: ‘I’m average or not quite good enough.’ My creative expression, which is an echo of my soul, is only half OK! So it boils down to the ones that are technically ‘good’ at art who perhaps make it a profession and the others who close the door on that part of themselves as ‘not good enough’! Now what do you think that does to one’s Self Esteem?

This is why I have always encouraged my son to express himself freely and not get despondent if it doesn’t go according to his plan and also not to compare himself to his class mates OR to me! Now he is transitioning into the teenage years, he is becoming very conscious of his abilities and I remind him not to judge himself because all of his expression is welcome and perfect.

My preferred medium is paint because it can be used in a very free and spontaneous way which also helps to unblock us. We can use art to communicate our thoughts and feelings without having to use words – a kind of symbolic speech – because it has the ability to access the ‘unconscious’ part of ourselves. This is where we bury our pain, hurt, frustrations, anger, fears and difficult memories especially from childhood, birth or even in the womb.
Art inevitably tells our personal stories about our feelings, thoughts, experiences, values and beliefs. In the process of making these visible through art, we are offered a way to know ourselves from a new perspective and an opportunity to transform that perspective. There is no pressure for technical skill or having to produce a beautiful picture, in fact, no experience of art is necessary, just a willingness to have a go. A wide variety of art materials and mixed media are available nowadays at a very low cost which we can use in a free way – any mark is a valid contribution. Often we find symbols emerging over time that have a particular relevance to our lives, or a single image that can speak volumes.

Aim to create an environment that is at all times safe, nurturing and free from interruption if possible, for you to experiment and play with the different art materials. This kind of environment will provide security for you to express feelings honestly and spontaneously and work through any issues to gain greater self-knowledge. You can learn to explore and interpret your own art work to see what it might reveal to you. This contained freedom can be very liberating. If you have other children or a toddler then you will have to make suitable arrangements to create a space for yourself. Otherwise it may be easier to write and draw in your journal so that you are able to express your thoughts and feelings more immediately.

Dare to be creative today because it is your birth right and don’t worry about the result.


Have a juicy, creative, fun week…
Warm wishes,
Alex xx

Painting by  Alex Florschutz

Painting by
Alex Florschutz

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