Creativity in tough times

As artists, designers and makers we all go through hard times where inspiration leaves us high and dry. But nobody expected a year quite like 2020! So how do you keep your creative business going through tough times? Here’s some great advice from three amazing creatives and my own experiences;

Rebecca creates stunning jewellery, t shirts and digital downloads

Rebecca Handy (@rebeccahjewellery)

At the start of the year I had realised that something was ‘missing’ and the day to day runnings of my business meant I had very little time to just ‘play’. I love crafts, I love making and I love creating! Having realised this, I had been trying to pencil in a month to do just that. When the pandemic hit I had to make the difficult decision to temporarily put my jewellery on hold but this actually meant I had had the opportunity to enjoy the last few months and my creativity has been affected in the most positive way! We’ve been so lucky to have the most amazing weather. I’ve been outside most days dabbling with my photography, drawing and generally pottering. Nature makes me very happy!  I ventured back to my textile design roots and started to create simple illustrations and patterns, learning how to use a drawing app on my tablet along the way. I feel inspired again and all of the designs are now saved as digital elements that I can use for so many future projects.I have felt so much freedom, it’s also given me some much needed time to recoup and relax which is the best medicine when you’ve been stuck in a creative rut!

I think my one tip would be to ‘never have all your eggs one basket’! Yes, I’m a jeweller but I have more than one string to my bow. Over the years, I’ve been a writer and designer for craft publications, I’ve worked in creative marketing, I’ve run workshops, Ive created kits all as an addition to my jewellery business. My new digital doodles led me to enter a tshirt design challenge during lock down which in turn meant I had my first tshirt design for sale! I also created digitial downloads and now have a small range of cards on Thortful! You never know where a spot of creativity might take you!

Anna creates these gorgeous patterns and puts them on lots of useful products – and boy does she know how to pattern clash!

Anna Treliving (@annatrelivingdesign)

Throughout lockdown I’ve struggled to find time to work on my business on top of childcare. I’ve really only managed to do the bare minimum (or less) to tick along. As a result, I initially pushed my creativity to the bottom of the priority list and thought it would be an indulgence to create when there were so many other important things that I ‘should’ be focusing on.

However, on those times where I allowed myself to indulge, my mood lifted so dramatically that I realised I needed to make sure there was time for me to create. My mental health and the whole household benefited from it. So my tip would be to make sure you do one thing a day that feeds your soul, it just makes all the difference.

Kat is a designer and illustrator creating visual identities and social media styling

Kat (@kat.designer.illustrator)

In a strange way I have found this time has given me chance to take stock and reflect on what I am enjoying and what I want to do more of. I have actually found my illustration work has been better than before lockdown. It has made me realise that I want to include illustration into my branding projects not just stand alone work.

The one big lesson I have learnt is too much pressure just hinders my creative mind… The pressure is what I put on myself! Don’t we all find we do this!? I have now started to reflect on why I have put the pressure on myself and can now work through it and see things from a better place.

And from me….. At the start of lockdown my creative spark totally went awol. I’m used to having to cram in my making time around looking after my two boys age 4 and 1. When my eldest stopped preschool I knew time for making would be even more limited. But it wasn’t the lack of time that was the problem. Fear of the unknown and that awful feeling of limbo was paralyzing.

My tip for getting out of that would be to get outside! Although during lockdown we were only allowed one daily walk for exercise I made sure we did that most days. It helped me and it definitely helped the boys. As the weeks turned to months the days got warmer and the wildflowers still appeared despite such strange times. Getting out into nature brought back my creative spark and a new collection “Into the Light” was born.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading our shared experiences – what about you? How has it been for you and your creativity? Any tips for getting through tough times?

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