Thursday, 8 September 2016

How to grow your creativity week 2 guest post

  Welcome to the second week of our #howtogrowyourcreativity mini series and link up!  This week,Lucy Engels from Skinnymalinkyquilts, takes the seat and talks about how she is inspired and creates and her story.  Feel free to link up (link at end of blog post and there is a fabric giveaway for all participants)
your own stories of what inspires you to create and how you became the maker you are today.  Feel free to share any creative blocks too and I will be be sharing next week ways to deal with these!
Over to Lucy x
Hey everyone!

I was delighted to be asked by Collette to guest post on her blog about Creativity. More
importantly how to grow your creativity! So, I will tell you a bit of my story and was how I
got to where I am and talk a bit about how I create.

I think sewing has always been in the blood as one of my Gran’s was an amazing seamstress and constantly sewing. She created fabulous wedding dresses and always had the sewing machine set up in the corner of the living room. I got my first sewing machine for my 18th birthday and it sat untouched for years when I decided, for my first project ,to sew a shirt, as you do.. After sewing on both sleeves upside down, so they stuck up the way instead of pointing down, I decided it maybe wasn't for me and put my machine away.
I had always wanted to be a costume designer (still do if I’m honest) but somehow ended up going down the Fine Art route instead. On graduating I felt unemployable and after a string of jobs that just about covered my rent I thought, I need a job that would allow me to make enough money to make art. So I decided to trained as a Social Worker, because thats not a demanding profession at all it is?… Fast forward several years and I suddenly remembered that this wasn't what I wanted to do. This wasn't my plan!

I wanted to get back to making and took a night class in fashion and interior design. It was
fun! Sewing was back on the agenda and I made my first quilt for my first nephew.  Probably very badly, but I knew nothing about quilts back then! I was absolutely hooked and SkinnyMalinkyQuilts appeared in 2013. Making quilts kept me sane while I was  working in such an emotionally demanding job. It was at the beginning of this year, heading for burn out, and a relocation that pushed me in the direction of leaving social work and focusing on making full time. When I say full time I mean in between running about after the kids and whenever I can squeeze time in..
Life has never been so good!

Having a formal art education has in no doubt helped me have a more disciplined approach to creating. There was a structure I was taught in art school; Research, plan, experiment, develop to then get to the final execution. I had to figure out how this formula could be applied to my making as I would lose interest if an idea was staying on paper and taking too long to realise. I need to do to figure it out! So the process I have developed for making is more immediate and hands on. And it’s ok if it doesn't work out, its all learning.

I remember being told that every drawing and piece you create treat it like it could be something amazing. Consider it, think about what you are doing, turn it upside down, go
back to it. In doing this it raises your standards and helps you develop your skill. This is true and in each piece I make I keep this idea in the back of my head and find it pushes
me to want to complete each piece as I go.

If I have too many WIP’s on the go my thinking gets messy and I can’t focus. My ideal process for working is more methodical and ordered although it doesn't always feel like
that! I set deadlines for creating and organise my time in blocks. Setting aside time to experiment, complete commissions, design and print fabric and now restock my shop and fulfil retailers orders. In amongst all this I try to set aside time to think. Just think. It is
such an important part of the creative process that gets pushed aside for the making.

More often than not I have a million ideas in my head and am constantly thinking of new colour schemes and ideas for quilts, cushions or fabric. I suppose the process is never really finished, its all a work in progress. As your skills develop or a new technique is discovered it opens up other creative opportunities and ideas. Just make to the best of your ability using the best materials you can. The point is there is no right or wrong way to do things. Yes there are ‘rules’ to follow because you want your work to last and be of high quality. But how you apply those rules is up to you. Its not life and death, creativity is supposed to be fun! Enjoy!
link up and win fabric! (Use hashtag on IG to link up)


  1. Yeah! I am loving this series Collette. It is so interesting reading everyone link ups and your posts of course! X

  2. Brilliant post Lucy! I really like that you set aside time for thinking. I work better with deadlines too but I'm rubbish at imposing them for myself!

  3. Thanks heaps Lucy and Collette. Thinking. I'm not good at that bit I have to confess but like you say, I'm sure that would help me focus on a make. One make at a time. I really do need to finish some WIPS instead of jumping on the back of every new thing I see which I fancy. It does end up making you down, because you never see anything coming to fruition.


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