Sunday, 9 June 2013

So what makes us creative?

What is creativity? What drives us to use our imagination to write, paint, compose, sculpt, design? To see things differently to others, to be inspired by everything we see around us. To have that "aah" moment.
And is everyone equally creative? Are we born with it? Is it dependent on what we are exposed to and our environment and opportunities? And can we keep that freedom of ideas and not get squashed in processes or practicalities?

Can you imagine a child lying on the floor doodling fantastic fish or aliens from outer space. Or gathering cardboard tubes and old yoghurt pots to make a magical tower. Leaving mud pies and flower dresses for the fairies. Or fighting dragons in your back garden. Were you that child? Are you still that child?  

"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up. "  Pablo Picasso

I recently came across a great Creative Thinking article by Peter Carruthers who argues that the evolution of creativity in adults started with the ability of the prehistoric child to engage in pretend play, and that there is still a link between adult creative thinking and childhood pretend play today.

Cave painting depicting hands from Patagonia

This early cave painting from Cueva de las Manos in Argentina tells no obvious story or lesson in the way that a hunting scene might, so you are free to imagine what inspired these cave dwellers.

Perhaps they were recording numbers of the tribe, or maybe it is a celebration of life. Or like young children today, maybe they just liked making hand prints. Who knows?

What is clear, that over the centuries, we have continued to build on our childhood imaginations to produce the most incredible things that seem to go beyond the practical - sometimes beautiful to everyone, sometimes not - but all uniquely creative.

"Creativity is just connecting things" Steve Jobs

A couple of years ago, I stumbled across an amazing community of creative people on Creative Connections who have encouraged my creativity and supported me to develop new skills.

I started writing blogs because I read some brilliant posts from the other members and they all assured me that I could overcome my fear of technology! And they have introduced me to some of the fantastic internet tools such as Pinterest which is brilliant for both sharing creativity and as a source of inspiration.


  1. My 12 year old son has just explained how the cave dwellers made those hand prints - they placed a hand on the wall and blew paint onto it through hollow bones - leaving perfect silhouettes. Apparently he read all about it on Horrible Histories. So similar to the blow paint technique used today by school kids. See - ten thousand years makes no difference.

  2. Great post, thank you for sharing your thougths and the link to the Summer CraftFest

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  4. Really enjoyed your post.
    Thank you.

  5. Fantastic post Sharon. I think creativity is part of all of us; how we choose to express it outwardly, and how freely we feel able to sharechanges as we get older. Embrace the inner child I say!

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