At SpeakUp SingOut we love trying new things. As part of our regular summer camps we do some art, and this year Annah came to facilitate a couple of sessions to wild success! So we are delighted to have her facilitate a creative art camp in August and thought it would be great for you to know more about her and her unique approach to community art.
So, who is Annah…
Annah is a wonderful creative artist based in Celbridge, specialising in textiles, but an all round gifted artist. She runs a company called Kumbikids, hand-designing and producing beautiful products from fleece (blankets, buggy fleeces, clothing and much more). She also runs a weekly community art program for children out of Crea Arts Studio, based in Celbridge. She is also my older sister and a great source of inspiration and love in my life.
Annah was always passionate about creativity. She has a deep passion for colour and texture which led her to study textiles in NCAD after school. A few years later she began a different journey of creation as she entered motherhood and now has 4 strapping boys! In the past few years she has returned to deepen her own practiced and developed a love for portrait work, sketch book doodling, experimenting with different textiles and much more.
At SpeakUp SingOut we are all about creative expression and we understand that when we are creative that other transformations begin to occur in our lives. I asked Annah about her view on creativity:
I believe strongly that we are all creative beings and there is something for everyone in an artistic sense. Children are born with an ability to express themselves and if they are given freedom to create and make a ‘mess’ it’s a great opportunity to show something of who they are.
I remember this sense of freedom as a child – Annah is my older sister and I can still recall those days when she would come back from college and the creativity would begin! I can also see where I have lost this sense of freedom with my own artistic expression, putting myself firmly in the ‘creative musician’ box and opting out of the ‘artist’ box.
Annah and I spoke about the ways in which this freedom of artistic expression can start to dissipate:
When children grow up and often in a school environment things change, comparisons and judgements are made, and they are no longer sure of themselves and self-expression is altered.
I feel that many of us can relate to this with regard to creativity in different forms – we hear it all the time in relation to singing and the same rings through for artistic expression.
So what does a workshop with Annah look like…
It’s full of fun and freedom! Annah provides the space, materials and opportunity for people to self-direct and create in a multitude of art forms. In her camps, there is more direction and she will work with themes, but within that structure there is great freedom to express.
When we become teachers and facilitators we learn to plan for our sessions. We live in a very structured world, full of aims and objectives, goals to meet, exams to pass. But creativity breathes differently. There is a different kind of flow and spaciousness needed in creative processes. Annah shared a bit about her approach to allowing the structures drop away:
I believe in letting the process just happen. It often takes kids a class to let their own creative process emerge, to have no direction or plan but to simply walk around the room and find things they like. Sometimes there’s a project to work on which suits some kids, but more often it’s free play.
This sense of self-directed learning and expression is so vital in modern times. There is a great wisdom in children and they have so much to teach us in how they approach the world and life. They show us a different way – a way of imagination, creativity and joy.
So let yourself be free! Create, make, get messy. Build a fairy door, make a fairy, make clothes for a teddy-bear and create your very own story stones.
As Annah says herself
It’s magical to witness this wonderful creative journey and to be inspired every time myself.