This half term saw my children try their hand at all manner of creative pursuits. From lantern making to glass decorating; Mexican flowers to God’s eyes; photosensitive creations to spoon whittling; musical graphics to cartoon drawing and a sprinkling of baking in between. I knew that all this artistic expression had had a positive effect when my 10 year old daughter announced to her dad that ‘We’re all artists you know’.

Like so many things in life, practice and mastery breeds confidence which in turns enables creativity to flourish. This progression was certainly in evidence when my 7 and 10 year old decided to create wooden spoons from split logs. An hours whittling yielded smooth pale bark stripped logs, then began the lengthy process of creating the ‘bowl’ of the spoon. For this we lit a fire and collected embers to carefully position on the logs and burn a hole. With adult support the children mastered the art of safely collecting embers, innovating as they did so by using a fire blower to both hold in place and ignite the embers! Next came more whittling, sawing and sanding as the children shaped their creations to something resembling a spoon. In this era of instant gratification it is important to celebrate the process as much, if not more, than the end product. This prepares children for life’s lessons that achieving almost anything great is hard work and that if you have a vision you can realise it.

When it comes to divergent thinking we know that prior to school most children would be ranked as geniuses. Yet years of colouring within the lines and learning that green is for grass and blue for sky can stifle this creativity leading children to declare “I’m not very artistic” or “I can’t draw.” A first step in reversing this trend is for us adults to rediscover our own creativity and immerse ourselves in a culture of artistic expression. You only have to look at the winners of the Turner Prize to see that we are all potential artists. It’s just a matter of how we look at the world around us, be it a messy bedroom or the carcass of a cow!