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Why I started my Creative Side Line

In June 2019 I travelled to Canada with my partner. It seems like a lifetime ago now and I’m so grateful we had this opportunity before the world changed.

We chanced across a street market and had a snoop about - I think we were recovering from a run at the time and had take-away artisan coffees in our hands. You can imagine the scene I am sure, it was Banff so it was artistic and cool and we wanted to effortlessly blend in.

Anyway, I saw some pictures made from sea glass and it drew both of us because I love combing and I have various bags of treasures dotted around our home, or at least I did… I’ve since put them to better use.

After chatting to the artist, we left and Tom said, “you could make pictures like that…” he was right, of course, I could, but it was a little while before I did.

We returned home and normal life resumed. I pondered over the idea a few times but dismissed it and I try to now think why that was…. I wasn’t feeling creative, I didn’t think I had enough material, my day job was all-consuming, I was thinking about doing it for the wrong reasons – as a side hustle rather than enjoying it for arts-sake and seeing where it took me. Who knows?

Eventually we booked a trip to Seaham in October 2019 after researching and discovering it was one of the best places in the UK for finding abundant sea glass. Hoping for good things from the trip, I also booked a table at a Christmas Craft Fayre in December of the same year. I was terrified and had no idea how to ‘do’ a craft fayre but figured if I set a goal then I’d have a purpose.

Unfortunately just before the trip, we encountered a serious relationship malfunction. I won’t go into the details, but it rocked us like nothing else ever has. Not knowing what to do with myself, I travelled up there alone for some time out and spent 3 whole freezing days distracting myself with treasure hunting on Seaham’s shores. It was the best thing I could have done; it was calming, peaceful and purposeful and I returned with vessels full of ocean bounty.

We gradually recovered from our setback, but I couldn’t look at the sea glass for several months and the craft fayre didn’t happen (although I did visit to check out how the traders were setting out their wares… I could never have made my table look anywhere near as professional as theirs anyway so it was probably a good thing!) It was only after the pandemic kicked in that I found the creative energy to do something positive with the glass.

I can’t say why it happened when it did, but I guess like a few other people have found, the combination of furlough, pandemic anxiety and maybe just being stuck at home made me question some of the fundamentals of my life.

Also, like a lot of creatives have found, putting my work out there in the open to be judged for the first time was hugely daunting. I made six small pictures and advertised them for sale on Facebook with all proceeds going to Children with Cancer UK. I think the charity thing was a fail-safe – people might not buy them from me but because they want to donate. It showed my lack of confidence …

The speed with which they sold bolstered me, however, and the rest is history. My confidence grew as 2020 developed in its unique and alarming way and the latter part of the year went well for me and my creativity. I realised that whatever the world threw at me, I could still follow my dreams if I wanted to, I just had to make it happen. I was in the driving seat and life feels so much better when you’re in control of something.

I spent a long time reviewing 2020 and making lots of future plans for my ideas (let’s face it, there was not much else to do between Christmas and New Year in 2020!) and I am slowly but surely implementing things and making gains. It’s happening slowly because I still have a desk job 4 days a week but it’s happening and that’s the key thing.

Take care and always follow your dreams x

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