Hi! I'm Rachael, a Primary teacher, artist and illustrator. I’ve always loved art – and what began as a hobby, turned into my small business ‘Little Flowers by Sligo’ when I was on maternity leave a couple of years ago.
I now sell my creations all over Northumberland in The Creative Artists Studio, The Little Birdhouse and Wheelbirks Parlour and to many other people & places through my Etsy shop. Most often I create cute watercolour images of children and animals which I then sell as cards, prints and gifts – although I’m always open to trying new ideas!
My little business has taken me in directions I never expected, and this year I had the opportunity to illustrate a friends' book with another on the horizon. I have also started to deliver creative workshops, using my art skills to offer a few hours of escape and new learning for them.
As you can imagine, all of my creations are quickly taking over my home. After knocking down a wardrobe in a desperate attempt to make extra space - I have had to admit defeat and accept that I need a much more organised space. And not just for my own work - but a way to start resourcing and organising a range of resources for the new workshops that I would like to run. At present, I fit my illustration work around my job as a primary school teacher at Pegswood Primary School. I love my teaching job and I love working with the wonderful children in our school. In my mind, there is no better place to provide free frequent and well resourced creative workshops.
CREATIVE SPACE - A PLACE FOR LITTLE FLOWERS TO GROW.
Over the last 8 years we have seen many changes in the lives of the children at our school. What is increasingly apparent is the significant rise in stress and anxiety that the children and their families face.
Our pastoral response to these, as well as the pressures of delivering national curriculum requirements, have sometimes left us with gaps in resourcing the more creative subjects. When we are able to make space for them, we observe children finding comfort and success in creativity – both in the personal expression and in how they relate to and care for each other.
Developing and resourcing workshops to deliver within the school setting would mean that I can provide more of these creative opportunities to the whole school community.
Another hope of the workshops is for the care and space it will provide for parents and carers who have huge demands placed on them. Many years ago I completed an art degree, but I rarely made space for it as life got busy and I pursued a teaching career. I didn't pick up my pencils again until I realised I needed a creative outlet to help me switch off. I want to provide the opportunity for other parents and carers to spend time focusing on their own well-being, developing new skills and getting to know one another in a supportive and friendly environment.
It doesn't need to be a particular building or room.
A creative space can be anywhere that provides a nurturing, supportive environment for creativity to flourish. An environment where there are opportunities to try new things without any pressure.
To begin with, my creative space will be based in Pegswood Primary; with a longer term goal to provide workshops in a variety of places. This will make the workshops available to a wider demographic.
Using the money that I raise, I will buy good quality art materials that will allow the children and their families to start exploring a wider range of media and immerse themselves in the creative process. These are some of the workshop resource boxes I would like to create and some of the equipment that will be needed:
- Printing - polystyrene, lino, inks & rollers
- Felting - felt, needles, polystyrene, water sprays
- Embroidery - hoops, threads, needles
- Watercolour - paint sets, varying brush sizes
- Sculpture - wire,
- Batik - batik pot, tjantings, fabric, wax
- Crochet - wool, needles, patterns
- Clay - tools, boards, hopefully even a kiln one day!
Teachers across the school will have access to the resources so that they too can explore new skills along with their pupils. Children will have the chance to explore their creativity through after-school clubs and lunch time clubs. Parents will also have the opportunity to explore their own creativity through half termly coffee clubs and family workshops.
Workshops will be guided, but will also have plenty of time for exploration. Every session will celebrate the success of every individual and work will always be sent home so that successes can be shared. The emphasis will be upon confidence building and leaving the workshop with a sense of achievement.
Parent and carer workshops will include coffee and cake and will also be an opportunity for talk and support.
Using the resource boxes that I build up, I will continue to run workshops for paying adults around Northumberland. Profits from these workshops will be split to cover our own costs and to maintain the running of the community workshops - updating resources, coffee & cake!