Creativity is unique to each individual, it encapsulates many different forms, processes and connections. Creativity and play can generate an important challenge; embracing fear and your inner critic. We lose interest in hobbies as we grow older, arguably this is as they need to hold a greater meaning than ‘just for fun’. Spending our precious time on something, anything, must produce a worthy outcome and once play is lost from our lives, it is difficult to regain.
A quick google search of the word ‘play’ will primarily show images of children playing, but it is just as important for adults to play too! The further removed we become from the idea of play, the more troubling the idea becomes. A purposeless activity becomes a concept that is impossible to grasp and often causes feelings of awkwardness. The average person has up to 60,000 thoughts a day and creative play has been shown to help focus the mind. Creative play and finding your flow can reduce anxiety, depression and stress. So why is it so alien to us?
Flow is a state of mind achieved when you are fully engrossed in an activity. When you lose all sense of self and time, that’s flow. It’s been found that repetitive creative tasks can help you find your flow, tasks such as writing, knitting and drawing are great examples of this. Once you have achieved a state of flow, your brain becomes flooded with dopamine, the feel good chemical that helps to motivate you and ultimately will encourage you to repeat your chosen form of play.
“…It is when we act freely, for the sake of the action itself rather than for ulterior motives, that we learn to become more than what we were.”
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness
Having fun with creative play is often seen as a nice idea, but we are at a loss as to where to start. For most people, it’s been so long since they last played, they have forgotten altogether how to do it. Whilst it is a nice idea, we are no longer sure what it means to play. In the words of Maya Angelou, creativity is a bottomless pit: ‘The more you use it, the more you have’. Creative play becomes even more important as we age and as our lives get busier. When embracing play, it is important to remember that the act of play must be deemed as being more important than any form of outcome. Most of all, creative play should bring you joy, you should engage in play to immerse yourself in a moment to moment experience.
“Life without play is a grinding, mechanical existence organized around doing the things necessary for survival.Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively.”
― Stuart Brown, Play
Often, we recognise that people benefit from free spirited play such as dancing, scribbling or writing but cannot see the point in engaging in it ourselves. Art in any form wears a veil of elitist mysticism. If you view yourself as an ‘outsider’ to the culture, it becomes even more difficult to engage with it. Instinctively, we lean into these feelings of imposter syndrome by becoming more concerned with the physical outcome than the positive internal feelings the act brings us. Creative play is not about making great art, or a great piece of writing, it’s about finding your flow and happiness.
I think sometimes we need to grow down, free ourselves from the constraints of what it means to be an adult. Let yourself indulge in silly fun and stop thinking about what is and isn’t possible. Be in the moment, open your mind, find your flow and remember, the act is more important than the outcome.
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When considering a new resolution, an idea that is often overlooked is to rekindle something that has previously bought joy. Often a resolution involves taking something away, be it a guilty pleasure or bad habit. I would argue that a good resolution should instead breathe positivity.
It is important to balance thoughts between what has already passed and what to consider next. The pressures of New Year’s Resolutions can sometimes cause unruly thoughts, leading some of us to opt-out. Why panic into setting a resolution you do not feel attached to. A successful resolution must be considered and nurtured. A new year does not have to mean a new you.
‘There is no new world that you make without the old world.’-Jane Jacobs
Perhaps we should take more time to consider the joys of the past and how we can rekindle them. During my childhood, I spent many hours in a small cramped shed full of crafting materials, paints, fabrics, a real treasure trove! Consequently, art was always my favourite subject at school. I was fortunate enough to continue this into my adolescence by attending art school. Despite being blessed with a wealth of creative space for the majority of my life, I’ve noticed it fade away. I no longer attend any form of art class, I rarely pick up a camera and the only time I bring myself to draw something is to make a birthday or christmas card. It’s a joy that I no longer make the time to nurture and explore.
‘Mankind now possesses for the first time the tools and knowledge to create whatever kind of world they want’ – Robert D. Putnam
It’s easy to throw excuses of time, space & money. To be honest the route cause for me is the distraction of life. I very recently had several rolls of film developed, an accidental archive of the past five years of my life. It was melancholic to see the physicalities of time causing a love to fade. The intervals of time widened between each photograph.
Self care is all about making time for these loves and it would be valuable for us to all set a resolution in a similar fashion. Take the time to think of practical ways you can re-embody old hobbies, crafts and joys.
Here at Tribe Porty, we strive to create a space where you can achieve these goals. Achieving your goal is unique to yourself. It can be as small as making a public declaration of what you would like to rekindle. Maybe it’s forming a circle of friends at Tribe to gather and participate in a shared activity. It could even be joining a local club or spending ten minutes a day working on some yoga poses.
ART! Art for myself, with no intention of publishing work, sharing or selling. Making art completely for myself. I’ve always loved collage and I have always naturally drawn to it, collecting and making materials and curating them together. To rekindle this love, I would like to host an Art Club at Tribe, an open space where we can come together, laugh, chat and create.
Often my New Year resolutions default to restarting that thing I used to enjoy, making time for it, re-joining the class. And often they fizzle out in the first month. What was once a habit nurtured by the circumstance of the time, now, no longer fits so neatly in the evolving balance of work, family and friends. I still yearn to reconnect with these lost loves but more care and consideration is needed to imagine how they might be supported in today’s version of my life.
In 2022 my creative practice of 14 years officially dissolved with the end of being self employed. One obvious rekindling would be to find time and space for creative play for myself. Sewing in particular. My daughter asked just the other day ‘Mummy, when will you sew again?’. My reply was when I can make space for the sewing machine and cutting table. This is a big dream and one that fits into the longer days of summer, or at least once I have cleared the post Christmas detritus.
But thinking about my environment now, there is space, so long as I say “yes, let’s do that now” rather than “perhaps tomorrow when there is more time” to the requests of my children to get out the new modeling clay or paint or pompom maker. I too can sit at the table and join in. At first it may be Fimo charms, but with repetition a habit may form, the environment will subtly shift to support those yes’s being a bit easier to say, those trousers might get made.
Jumping from this text, what do YOU want to rekindle this year? Share it with us and we will check in with you in a couple of months…Not sure where to start? Try out some of the free workbooks provided by our partners Keystone Women. Click here to download helpful materials to help you reflect, take stock, relax and plan.
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Have you heard of the 100daysproject? There are 2 simple rules;
#1 Repeat a simple creative task everyday for the duration,
#2 Record each day’s efforts.
This is my fourth year doing the hundred days project and each one has taught me so much. I first heard about the 100 days after reading The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna. From a young age, I have always loved doing art and have managed to keep it sacred—something I do for myself. It is for pure pleasure and processing thoughts and feelings.
One day my daughter had a new pal around and she was proudly showing her all of my artwork and her friend thought they were amazing and asked if I was an artist. My daughter looked at me and I didn’t know how to respond. I mulled this over and realised I would like to explore this further and would commit to the 100daysproject to see how I felt after 100 days of creativity about calling myself an artist.
So I began, one pen drawing a day. No pencils, as I wanted to learn that mistakes didn’t matter. It was great, each week brought more confidence and doing it with others really helped me be accountable. It wasn’t linear—there were moments when my confidence dipped and I would want to make excuses to stop. I had to wiggle my way through finding my own practice, not care what other’s thought but also be fuelled by the community and public sharing. Within the small group of 100daysproject through Tribe Porty, we encouraged each other and on the days I didn’t feel like making the effort, I showed up for them. It quickly became something I looked forward doing at the end of the night.
The practice became a meditative ritual and also led me to find the local community in 100 Days Project Scotland.
Now reaching the end of this year, it has been once again, transformational.
By the end of the 100 days, I called myself an artist. I maintained that art was for myself and no anyone else but the encouragement was also welcomed. it felt good and I was hooked.
This time I tightened my brief a bit. Again using pen but stuck to portraits and played more with lines. I really enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of drawing so many lines. By the end of the second 100 days, I was confident enough to do even paint a large mural. Here are some drawings and a picture of part of the mural. One drawing also ended up as a tattoo on my arm.
This year was different because I started experimenting with drawing on the ipad, something I never thought I would like but I do and in love with quite quickly.
I set myself a goal to get some printed and even went on to create Capturing Dani a website and shop with prints and postcards. I received commissions and now draw illustrations more than on paper.
This year I decided to combine the creative process with gratitude and would draw a part of my body and give thanks. After almost two years of chronic pain, multiple exploratory procedures and fatigue. Every day has been a surprise- nothing has been planned and I have changed the way I see myself.
Just over halfway through, something changed how I looked at myself. I found a new level of acceptance of the good and of the imperfections. I looked at myself the way I would look at a body in a live drawing class. Admiring the curves and not viewing with critical eyes.
Tribe is slowly picking back up and gaining new members; more and more people are needing community and a creative space now more than ever. It has been such a long time for so many of us who have been cooped up in a small flat or sharing a kitchen table with a partner. Taking never ending zoom calls and not seeing another human in the flesh has taken its toll-not only on our wellbeing but on our creativity and productivity.
Over the years, many people have asked advice about how to turn their extra space into a coworking space. Beyond the basics, desks, seating, good wifi- the community part is an art. The people are what makes spaces special. And the people part is the hard work. We are all different, with different needs. One of our hot deskers was telling me the other day that he comes to Tribe because it taps into the creative work. He has structured his working week in such a way that he does his creative thinking work from Tribe because the space and the people in the space encourage that kind of work. This is such music to my ears as this is what we set out to create with Tribe.
There is no shortage of designer spaces to work from around the globe.
A few folk have made some assumptions that coworking spaces will be exploding in the near future. We have certainly seen a new group of members, not just freelancers but people unable to do their work from home for practical or emotional reasons. The pandemic has forced us to change our model and reduce the size of our event space due to no events taking place for so long. This is true for many other coworking spaces as well. According to Deskmag’s 2020 Coworking Trends Europe, “While the supply is often shaped by the demand, this is less the case during this pandemic. Example: Legal measures such as distancing rules often have shrunk the desk capacity, especially in open workspaces. The prohibition of physical events have negatively impacted community oriented activities despite their demand.”
This has definitely been true for Tribe but the recent ease of lock down is building confidence for our members to return.
We will continue to adapt and respond to our community and challenge the definition of what workspace is, from where work is done to how it’s done, and then keep our spaces creative to reflect that.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin
If you have any questions or want to book a free trial day, please get in touch.