I have met so many beautiful souls through blogging and teaching my e-course, and I'd like to introduce you to one of them. Amelia is a writer, blogger, artist and explorer of life. She is dynamic, compassionate, warm and quite an inspiration! Enjoy stepping into her world, and see how she works daily to create balance and joy in her life as a creative mother and businesswoman.
I am currently a participant in her e-course, Experimental Art, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to discover and more deeply explore your creative side - we all have one by the way!
Tell us about yourself.
Ooooh, where shall I begin? I am an artist and mother to two children and I live in London, UK in a little terraced house with a back garden. Right now the sun is shining (still not warm though) and I can hear birds tweeting in the trees - very English! My own artwork consists of experimenting with a variety of media - I like using so many things that I find it hard to confine myself to one thing, hence being a "mixed media artist." I find the world a fascinating place and many of the things in it, treating most things as an experiment is often quite exciting, and I also use art as a way of processing thoughts, feelings and experiences that I have had throughout my life.
How did your creative journey begin and how has it evolved over the years?
My creative journey began from the moment I was born in as much that I was born into a highly creative family. My father trained as an artist and teaches and my mother trained as a dressmaker and is now a patchwork and quilter. You can see both these elements in my own work. Both of my sisters are artist/makers, too, and whilst growing up I was always encouraged to make and create and do art - how lucky - I didn't realize just how lucky I was at the time to be encouraged in these endeavors. Most people are not encouraged to see arts and crafts as proper or sensible subjects to study, which I think is a crying shame, as creativity and the arts foster great lateral thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as being very pleasurable and therapeutic! I digress. I had my first child young and always went to evening art classes whenever I could, but it wasn't easy with childcare and finances, which is why I have developed the on-line experimental art e-course, because it is accessible to anyone at home with a computer!
(Photo courtesy of Amelia Critchlow)
From there, I had a very powerful dream whilst I was doing my English BA degree, telling me I should return to art. It took me five years of wandering about before I applied to go back to college to study Fine Art only (my first degree was in English and Psychology) and when I did I KNEW it was the right thing. I juggled childcare, working part-time and studying art part-time doing a foundation degree. I then traveled around Australia for 3 months with my then 7 year old, and when I returned to the UK I decided I needed to do a BA degree in Fine Art part-time, so I could both look after my daughter, work and study art. I did it. It was hard, but it was the best decision I made. I am now doing what I love (art) and sharing it with others via teaching. I do shows and fairs regularly and love the idea of art as a platform for social change, as well as personal change.
Tell us more about your e-course and what inspired you to create it.
The key things that inspired me was the realization that whilst I enjoy teaching, many of the teaching jobs have to work to certain curriculum and criteria, and there is lots of paper work and shuffling of ideas to get your own ideas implemented in teaching. I have worked in museum's, galleries, educational institutes, as well as teaching on funded community projects, and I really wanted to share what interested and inspired me and what I have learnt over the years that has helped combat that nagging voice that many of us have - "I'm not good enough at art to do it." I also get this from the adults I have taught in family sessions whereby parents do art and creative things through their kids even though they want to do it themselves, but they don't for fear, or lack of confidence. Kids pick up art materials so easily and create, and even though many adults want to do the same, they don't. By doing this course at home you combat childcare, financial and fear issues all at once, as you only share work you are happy and comfortable to share with others on-line, and when you are ready.
I am putting in all the teaching methods I know to be experimental and free-flow, with an emphasis on PLAYING - art is truly accessible to ANYONE, and that's why this course is also designed for people who are already practicing artists. It gives permission to play and experiment trying out new ways of creating and getting fresh inspiration. On the course, at the moment, there are professional artists and those who have never done art before and everyone is being so supportive and encouraging and sharing ideas - even I am getting fresh ideas and inspirations from the class - it's great!
What excites you about life?
Gosh, what excites me about life, hmmmmm - many, many things! I love the concept of creativity way beyond art. I love where art meets life and once you learn to be creative on paper/canvas/in sculpture etc. you begin to realize how your life is one big creative act (or at least this is what I have been learning in my own life) once you realize this, the world becomes far more exciting if you stop to think carefully about what you would like to create next in your own life. I am excited by books, people and philosophies in and on life that encourages us to be mindful and conscious of what we call forth and create as a result. I enjoy the visual world, radical and creative thinkers, amazing places of natural beauty, people who have the strength and conviction to speak out about what moves them and live their message, rather than preach their message. This is exciting. Oh and art itself, of course!
What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is a conscious set of decisions and actions that can take place on paper, and in your own life. We are ALL creative - from the moment we get up and choose what to eat and wear, to how we decorate our homes - it's about getting conscious around those choices and then taking them further i.e. What do you want in your life and what do you want to do? This is the same when you are considering the materials to use for a piece of artwork and what your theme is, and then what it is you are going to make. Creativity is the basis of everything if you ask me!
How do you balance your art, your business, and your personal interests with being a mother?
This is an ongoing, and very difficult juggling act indeed. I have a teenager going through teenage things and school exams, and a 7 year old who has special needs (asperger syndrome) and that in itself could become a full time job. Art balances me, but it can often get sidelined. I try to set myself days, weekends or blocks of time when I know I can create. I also have to earn money and that's a reality and I decided that this year I was going to earn money from my personal passions i.e. making and teaching art. I love doing this SO much. So bringing my love of art into the same arena as earning money has made the juggling act easier, instead of earning money becoming another separate sphere to motherhood and art. I can also work from home by running on-line courses which is perfect when you need to be around a lot for children and their (special) needs.
What would you say to those who may be nervous about art, or feel that they aren't creative?
I would say that we are ALL creative as I outlined above, it's about learning, refining skills, continually practicing the things you love and not beating yourself up if you can't do it the first time, or things don't look like you wanted them too (this includes life! - I know because I've been there many times!) I would say life is too short not to attempt to get in touch consciously with the part of you that wishes to be creative (I've worked in a nursing home, too, and yes, life is far too short not to spend at least some of it doing what you love doing!!!) Art for me is about combining things, making marks, playing and trying out. We can all do that, every one of us. It also makes for a happier person. Show me someone who is engaged in a creative act, or a creative job that isn't happy and fulfilled!
How can we sign-up for your summer course?
Enrollment is now open for the summer course and you can click and join straight away by clicking HERE.
There are a maximum amount of places on the course, so once the places have all filled up, I will close down enrollment. Although I will be running further courses, I limit the enrollment because I give individual feedback to people doing the course and I want to ensure that everyone gets attention.
Anything else you'd like to share?
It gives me the greatest pleasure to be part of someone's journey into creativity and art, so if anyone is thinking of doing this and is nervous, please don't be! I would love to have you join the journey and do the thing that is so enjoyable. Thank you for the interview. It's been a pleasure answering the questions!
I so appreciate you sharing your vibrant self with us, Amelia! Thank you for allowing us to embrace our authentic creativity and helping us learn ways to feel more confident doing so.
Your Personal Reflection: Do you feel creative? What are some of your early creative memories? Are you ready to face your creative fears and connect deeper to the artist in you?