The Mill – Connecting With My Creativity by Nathalie Edwards
Connecting with my creativity: I believe we are all creative beings. It is within all of us in some shape or form.
Studies suggest that our creativity is one of the major differentiators between us and other species on the planet. Apart from Puffer Fish perhaps… check out their awesome design skills, if you’ve not seen before – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1PID91sEW8
I have always been a creative person.
My first – and only – prize at primary school was for a drawing I did of Paddington Bear. I grew up in a family environment where art & creativity where not particularly valued. I allowed the thoughts and beliefs of others to overpower my ‘true self’, and therefore only ever allowed myself the indulgence of doing anything creative/ arty, as a hobby, a side project.
Throughout my younger years and while bringing up my young family, I undertook workshops & night classes, but never allowed my creativity to flow, to be the main focus, or even in the top 10 on my continual list of things that had to be done!
A few years ago, that changed, creativity has a way of bubbling up & shouting… ‘Eh, hello? remember me?’ I finally listened and was directed back to my inner core, true self, my creative self.
This came about in 2014, by way of an unexpected re-connection with a very old friend. He is a practising potter and patiently spent some time teaching me the basics of throwing on a wheel. He had me hooked on clay in an afternoon! More importantly, the feeling of connection with the process of creating something with my hands & my heart was re-ignited.
It felt so good, so natural… like I’d come home. In that moment, on that day, in a small studio space in Germany, a re-connection with myself, the true me, had been made.
This time I was not going to tuck it away or suppress it under a pile of ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I can’t afford it’, ‘I’m too busy’ etc.
On my return to London, I immediately signed up to workshops & evening classes like a woman possessed! My heart was bursting with excitement, I just wanted to get on and make, make, make! Experimenting with various different clays, processed and techniques, was so satisfying, it totally took me to my happy place. I could be in a pottery studio for 6 hours and the time would flash past in an instant.
I soon became completed addicted; clay was my new drug of choice! I would spend every hour possible with my new love. I quickly realised a few things where at play when I was creating with clay:
- Whilst creating, I completely switched off from thinking about anything else
- I often enter a trance like state, I can be working in a lively chatty environment, but enter a time warp… Completely losing track of time and conversations around me.
- I find myself in that blissful dreamlike state that I reach during meditation, it’s that feeling of contentment, being at one with myself, feeling peaceful inside, feeling complete and whole in that exact moment. I realise it’s the same state of mind that I reach when taking part in meditations and gong baths. It’s a truly blissful place, the only difference is that my eyes are open, and my hands are working!
- I feel a real connection with the actual material to. The clay, part of the earth, I’m so aware that I’m handling matter that has been on this plant for thousands of years. I’m basically connecting with the actual planet, Mother Earth herself. There are times that I’m very aware of the ancient whispers of the past that I’m moulding with my hands. I feel very humbled by the practice. It’s an honour to be so physically connected with our beautiful planet.
I do feel that the material allows me to connect, we work together to create something of beauty. People have been working with the earth for thousands of years. I’m a tiny part of that history, that tradition, knowing this fills me with delight. Like WOW!
My particular passion is with porcelain paper clay. Clay with high paper pulp content. This makes it particularly malleable. I seek to create the most delicate and fluid of shapes and the porcelain allows me to take this to the extreme. Its purity invites experiment, fluidity of form and the creation of ethereal, organic shapes.
When creating a piece, I feel a physical dialogue ensues between me and the porcelain. Often entering the meditative state whilst making. I become aware only of the impressions my fingers are making and the responses received in return from the clay. I come to a pure state of joy and calm within, the forms almost like extensions of myself, but each with a completely unique character.
I find joy in every piece I make, and sometimes others like them too, which is so heart-warming!
I continue to learn & grow in my practice, so excited that there is so much more to learn!
In a bid to change my work/ life balance – tipping the scales closer to 100% of what makes my heart sing – I got my brave on, big time (for me)
I’ve moved to South West France. To an old Mill which I am in the process of restoring and renovating. Moving towards sustainable living!
The Mill has a separate workshop which is in the process of becoming a ceramics studio. Along with the creation of more bedrooms & bathrooms, The Mill France will soon be up and running as a creative & holistic retreat space. We will be hosting week long, residential artist led workshops and holistic retreats. And when I’m not busy meeting a host of amazing people you will find me in the studio, blissed out with my clay!
Themillfrance – instagram
Nathalie.edwards – instagram