25 creative things I did while not being an artist

I’m on the cusp of change this year, seeing new opportunities emerge as I begin to shift my energy to more creative work.

Having taken up ceramics in a big way this year, I’ve been thinking about women who embark on creative projects or careers later in life. I’m not starting with a blank slate. I’ve worked full-time, studied and raised two kids to almost-adulthood. Creativity has always crept through the cracks. Looking back, it turns out I’ve done quite a lot without ever calling myself an artist. I’m guessing this is a common story.

Here’s a random list of some creative things I’ve done over the years. Increasingly, I want to do more than squeeze this in around the edges of my life.

1. Sewed my own clothes

2. Made a giant fairy lantern for a parade

3. Designed theatre posters

4. Restored and painted furniture

5. Collected industrial offcuts and set up ‘Art World’ in my kitchen as an informal school holiday program

6. Made cushions out of Chinese brocade

7. Cut up old cards and mementos and turned them into a collage

8. Planted and nurtured a garden

9. Wrote four non-fiction books for kids

10. Filled a sketchbook for Brooklyn Art Library

11. Sketched, painted and doodled, in my student share-house, up a remote hill, in a church in Oxford, an inn in Kyoto

12. Painted murals on bedroom walls

13. Made playdough masterpieces.

14. Took classes on documentary drawing, silversmithing, graphic design…

15. Photographed and blogged about my travels

16. Made jams and preserves from lillypillies, zucchini, tomatoes, apricots

17. Carved a jack-o’-lantern

18. Painted Easter eggs

19. Made a train-shaped birthday cake

20. Dressed up as David Bowie, Ozma of Oz, Annie Lennox, Helen of Troy…

21. Drew a poster for a lost toy

22. Sang in concert halls, streets, festivals, bars…

23. Designed and built websites

24. Taught my son to draw scientific illustrations

25. Hand-stitched a quilt for my daughter.