People are alway saying to me things like, “Oh Jenny, you’re so creative!” (the collage in the picture is one of my creations!) But I don’t think I’m any more creative than the next person. Surely we’re all creative? Isn’t that part of our inherent nature as human beings? If we weren’t, we’d still be living in caves and hunting woolly mammoth or whatever it was that caveman ate.
I went to Stoke-on-Trent recently. The derelict factory buildings were the world’s finest pottery was once made are a sorry sight. I think the people of Stoke have lost more than a way of making a living financially: I think they have lost the chance to be creative. I’ve seen several old films showing the factory workers skilfully crafting their pottery. Yes, I’m sure factory work is always hard but it must have been a fantastically rewarding job, producing things of such beauty.
I believe that everyone is creative. OK, so some people might be more creative than others. When people say, “Oh Jenny, you’re so creative!” I think the truth is simply that I choose to spend more of my time on creative pursuits than other people do. When people say about themselves, “I’m not at all creative!”, I believe that their creativity hasn’t been encouraged. So many people, for example, are told by music teachers that they “can’t sing”. Hearing that you “can’t sing” when you’re only six or seven means you’ll probably never learn. It was so damaging for me to dubbed “weed of the week” time and again in PE lessons at school. It made me think I could never do anything sporty, but of course now I know that isn’t true.
I think that deep down, we all love being creative. We all love making things. We all love mending things.
Wouldn’t it be great for our economy and our sense of well-being if people discovered that love of making things again? If children at primary school were allowed to play with cardboard boxes and sellotape and paint more? If teaching was less prescribed by the government and teachers were allowed to use their creativity to inspire the next generation? Because deep down, don’t we all love looking at something and saying proudly, “I made that!”