Come join us and create your very own ‘Creativity Island’ for you and your little one. 

My brand new Arts Council Funded project ‘Creativity Island’ is in its research and development stages and I have adored hearing from over 60 women so far about their journey with self care, wellbeing and creativity in motherhood.

I’m designing the project whilst being pregnant in 2020 for new mums and mums with children under 5 for 2021.

It’s a digital engagement project that will act as a visual time capsule for the world we are living in right here and now.  There is such a need for connection for us mums as we navigate those early years of motherhood and how we want to show up and participate in our community both in person and online.

Mum’s will be invited to join a creative community and take part in creative exercises and workshops to impact positively on their wellbeing.  The focus is on celebrating the journey of motherhood through creativity.

You don’t need to be ‘arty’ or feel ‘creative’ to take part and all we’ll ask you to have to hand is;

  • Paper and pens
  • A smart phone
  • A sprinkle of imagination.

The project idea came to me during lockdown in April 2020 in my first months of pregnancy second time round.

I started reflecting on my experiences with my first born 6 years previously and connecting to the community of pregnancy woman and mothers who’s lives and social connection had been massively impacted by Covid-19.

My story – way back when I first started my motherhood journey and really kick started my personal creativity journey.

I became a mum in 2014, and my entire world was turned upside down.  I think lots of woman say that…?

At that time, I worked as a freelance Creative Producer lived at Gateshead riverside. It was a beautiful 30 minute river walk to the city and some INCREDIBLE cultural buildings including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and a stones throw further to Seven Stories-the national centre for children’s books.    

I didn’t find any baby groups other than something called Art Venturers so I mainly went for coffees with mum friends at Tyneside Cinema and it was the days before facebook groups and chatting openly with ‘strangers’ on instagram.

My time was spent seeking out environments that made me feel uplifted, inspired and creating space at home for my little boy to play and explore safely. I then went on to fundraise for and run the Creative Cocoon programme at Alnwick Playhouse in Northumberland.  The artist led programme offered curated environments and installations in a theatre space for parents and their little ones.

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Here are a snap shot of some photos of my ‘Creativity Islands’ during the first year of motherhood from 2014… 

The concept of travelling to and from a metaphorical island is part of my mentoring practise ‘The Artist Boat’.

It’s one I really connect to if you’ve ever felt yourself say “I just need to get out the house” 

Early instagram photo of my little boy aged 3 months reading one of his first book - Abigail by Catherine Rayner

Creativity Island – Stripes and first story-times

Mum and baby at The Cheviot Creativity Island – Me and L on a walk to The Cheviot – we didn’t make it to the top

Mum and toddler at a tube station in London

Second London trip as a hipster toddler!

Toddler on giant chair

L exploring scale and Harry Potter fun at Seven Stories

Why I think there’s SO much more to early motherhood than baby and toddler groups

We are going through such an incredibly strange phase of leaving ‘work’ behind and using our brains for domestic tasks, nourishing our baby and giving all our energy to being that care-giver.  I think it’s so important to try and keep yourself topped up.

I went to one organised baby group when L was really small (and left early).  It was sing and sign and was in a dark room, L cried and I started to feel sick at the pace of having to try and learn all of these new things with a room full of strangers… It was a complete mismatch.

I know there are some really brilliant groups out there and I think I kinda missed out in some ways but the whole experience really put me off and as an introvert I had to find new ways to play and connect with my baby and my community.   I also had a baby who didn’t sleep (until he was well over 2) so I always felt a bit lost as for most mums their babies were ‘good sleepers’.

I did what nourished me and kept me sane… my time was spent exploring environments that fed my creative spirit and doing things that looked after my wellbeing like yoga and getting out and about for coffees with friends.

We moved to rural Northumberland when our little boy was 15 months old. We spent the first night in our 98 year old home sleeping on the living room floor with an electric heater for warmth.  We were blissfully excited! I found much more connection in the local toddler groups and loved the connection to other mums and little ones.

I can see now why ‘it takes a village’ is such a popular meme!   It really does and that’s what I want to create with Creativity Island…

Now you are 6… 

A whole load of brilliant things have happened in the time of moving here to Northumberland and L turning 6.  We’ve experienced theatre, dance, puppetry, play environments, soft play, been to new cites together, stayed home and baked.

We’ve build a house extension and re-designed every room in our home.  I started a blog and worked on a tonne of artist led programmes for mums, babies and under 5s. And now we are getting ready to welcome a little sister to the party and start mapping out our own set of Creativity Islands all over again!

For more information on Creativity Island and why you don’t actually have to be creative to take part click here and to fill in my research survey and sign up to the mailing list for the project click here.  

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