It was when my first born, Luca, was around six months old that I began to feel increasingly frustrated at the lack of opportunities to enjoy the creative pursuits I had previously loved. Furthermore, my search for a group specifically aimed at creative mums proved futile! I pondered... surely there must be other mums longing for a little creative 'me' time?! So a few months later, after taking a course in website building, designing my own flyer and pushing Luca's pram door to door delivering to tens of houses in Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, I I launched 'First Mummies' Club!'
I first ran the sessions from a community centre on Alston Road. The first meeting had a 'My fair lady' theme. We hand sewed fascinators and welcomed renown hat maker Phillip Ian Wright to talk to us and share his creations. The group of lovely Mums that I welcomed (often with my Mum on tea & cake duty) continued to grow. I took a break for a few years while adjusting to life with two little boys but before long, missed the community bonding connections that creativity offered.
In 2017, First Mummies' Club relaunched at the beautiful canal side location of The Fishery wharf café. We welcomed talented artists and craftspeople through our doors including Anna Schofield, Stephen Rowley, Paula Watkins, Claire Spake, Amy Huitson, Jane Todd and Sara Rickards. Popularity of the Boxmoor location, saw an additional venue launch at the more spacious location of The Open Door in Berkhamsted where we were joined by local artists, Julie Wrathall and Natasha Collins. During this time I was recognised at the MPower Mums in business award within the Cheerleader category. I also spoke on BBC three counties radio about First Mummies' Club and the importance of creativity. To mark our one year anniversary of running from this venue, I launched a competition which involved prizes from many local artists. The competition proved very successful with over one hundred entries.
In 2018 I was approached to illustrate for Motherdom, a new national magazine dedicated to capturing the stories of Mothers and Fathers experiences of parenthood and mental health. I provided illustrations for the magazine for a year and also contributed a written piece on creativity titled 'do you believe in magic?' During this time I ran an after school arts and crafts club at my sons school in Hemel Hempstead with my lovely friend Petra for two years. In October 2020, I was thrilled to be asked by Rachel Mason to illustrate the cover of a book of stories and poems dedicated to the experience of mental health of Mothers and Fathers, 'Not the only one'.
Discovering art therapy on a retreat in Cyprus completely changed the way I viewed the relationship with my creativity and approach. It highlighted the importance of process over result and moved away from my more illustrative style. My curiosity lead me on a year long foundation course in Art therapy and well-being at Hertfordshire university, which launched my interest in creativity and it's potential into a whole new realm.
I enjoy daily journalling, mark making and illustration. The National Gallery feels like my place of worship. I love to 'fill my cup' of inspiration through visiting art galleries and exhibitions in London. Exploring antique shops, deep and meaningful with friends and walks in nature often photographing aspects that call to me, make me very happy. I've also becoming increasingly aware of our cyclical nature as women and how this can impact our feelings and creative impulses.
First Mummies’ Club offers me the opportunity to explore and ignite my creative side once more. Through sharing my lived experience of it's benefits, I hope to inspire a confidence and a sense of agency within women with similar interests and ambitions.
I work hard to ensure the workshops I run are varied and engaging and my approach is sensitive and kind, encouraging women to gently use their creativity to explore, express and refine their thoughts and feelings.
My hope is that the ladies that attend leave feeling held, heard and connected. If it inspires them to find small pockets of time to unleash a little creativity at home too, then even better! My hope is that the women that attend, always leave feeling a little lighter.
Engaging with creativity allows us the time to slow down and think clearly and rationally, if only for a few moments and finding that time to re-focus, reflect and breathe is so important to our general well-being and in our role as Mums, Women and so often, care-givers.
If your interest has called you here, I'd love to share this experience with you,