I was a huge Blue Peter fan as a kid (for non UK readers it is our longest running children’s TV programme which began in the 1960’s) I couldn’t wait to see what the latest arts project would be. A pen holder from a washing up liquid bottle? A Christmas decoration from a coat hanger? Or an amazing set of furniture for your Cindy doll? Oh the excitement!
Trouble was, I never had all the proper stuff. Sticky back plastic. Split pin paper clips. Bits of felt. We were not big on stationary and fancy arts and crafts materials in our house; these were the days before Hobby Craft and the Pound Shop.
I remember the burning desire to make the thing as it appeared on the programme; I worked and worked, trying to approximate the materials and dreaming that it would turn out the same. I usually ended up very upset and deflated rather than feeling creatively uplifted.
It took me years to realise these things were made by professional people behind the scenes.
I am not knocking the ideas, they were great and they obviously hit the spot with me as I was desperate to make them. I loved making things. Did they help my creativity I wonder? In some ways it taught me about techniques, gave me ideas and made me think about how I could do it without all the right materials. More often I felt very frustrated and ended up in tears!
I often wonder if that’s why I got into working with children, I remembered the deep frustation and desire of wanting to make things. I wanted to help them feel the delight of that without having to compare it to a prescribed finished product. I wanted them to have space for their own journey of exploration to unfold.
I wonder how many of you had your creativity squashed at an early age because you were asked to make a copy of something someone else had made – and ‘failed’ by making your own creation!