Creative: noun or verb? To be creative, or as the design industry has adopted it as a job title, to be a creative, has always been a bit of a badge of honour to me. I’m not especially sporty and my ability to engage with the worlds of maths and science never really took off, so at a fairly young age creativity became my thing. At school, we start to categorise our interests into department areas and quickly define ourselves by the ones we do – and don’t – succeed in. The older I get, the more I see how limiting this is. The division of subjects in schools is surely more of a logistical requirement than a philosophical ideal? Either way, it has an impact and the way we see ourselves as a young child can be deep rooted; very few escape adolescence without the occasional hang ups that go with the clumsy teenage forging of self identity.

To be creative, or as the design industry has adopted it as a job title, to be a creative, has always been a bit of a badge of honour to me.

When I tell a new acquaintance that I’m an art teacher, I’m often met with a grimace and response along the lines of “oh, I’m not very good at drawing but my mum/son/grandma is a brilliant artist”. There’s an admiration in their voice for whoever they are telling me about and, despite the negative judgement of their own capabilities, a desire to be indirectly associated with creativity. I do this myself when it comes to sport telling people, “my brother got all the sporting genes in our family”. If I really think about what I’m saying here, it’s probably this: I’m only one genetic leap away from being sporty! Don’t judge me! 

To those people who dismiss themselves as not very creative, or not creative enough, I have this simple suggestion: perhaps your definition of creativity is too narrow? When was the last time you cooked from a recipe and adapted it just that little bit, or took your time to present the food carefully on the plate? Or chose cushions to go with some new wallpaper? Or decided where to plant something in the garden so you can most appreciate it from the kitchen window?

If you can concede that other creative acts are a part of your life, but you still yearn to engage more with the traditional arts and crafts of our school rooms, then maybe you just haven’t found your way in… yet. Every four years, when I temporarily get into sports during the summer Olympics, I am astounded by the different things I hadn’t even heard of when I was a child, let alone had a go at. The same can be said for those people still searching for their creative passion. Drawing means so much more than grabbing a pencil and a piece of plain white paper and there are a wealth of techniques and materials beyond the sketching, painting and annual dabble with pottery that so many people experienced at school. Take some time to do your research, look around at what grabs your attention and what’s available to you at home, in a class or even via a YouTube tutorial and give it a go. Try something new and try it more than once and if you feel like sharing, I’d love to know how you get on.