Like many of us, I have always been creative in some way throughout my life, though activities like crochet, sewing, mosaics – you name it, I had probably tried it.    But they had always been hobbies, nothing more, and I had never felt that I had a talent that would take me anywhere.

It is now coming up two years since I took the first step  in fully exploring my creative potential. In May 2013, I enrolled in an Adult art class at the wonderful Nest Studio in Adelaide, South Australia.

Carly Schwerdt and Amy Prior are the talented team behind Nest Studio (as well as the designers of Umbrella Prints fabrics – swoon).  The Adult art class I attended was led by Carly, and involved six lessons of 1.5 hours over the course of an Australian school term (approximately 10 weeks).  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked through the door.  Although I had attended a fabric printing workshop a year or so earlier, this was the first art class I had been to since I was a child.  Thankfully I had enrolled in one of the best re-introductions to art I could have asked for.

The lessons were beautifully unstructured, with Carly inviting us to try a technique or medium that took our interest.  We had a studio full of supplies at our disposal, and a teacher willing to step in to assist when we needed.  In short, though, this was a lesson in letting go and diving right in.  It was a lesson in doing, not thinking or planning.  Just doing.

I started with collage, something I had always wanted to try, but for some reason never had.  Mostly the reason was in my head (man, am I GOOD at planning things in my head, without taking action in the real world!).  After that first lesson I felt myself opening up to a world of possibilities.  I had come to the class expecting to be taught.  I left realising that it had been inside me all along.  That creativity is something to be coaxed out, yes, but not taught.  (I also left with a really nice collage!).

I remember describing Carly to my friends as being like a lovely mum who encourages you, tells you you’re doing great and makes you cups of tea.  Sometimes I think that adults require this nurturing  even more than children, especially when it comes to re-engaging with their creativity.  Carly has a fabulous ‘no eraser’ rule (which she applies to her children’s classes as well, I believe).  Embrace your mistakes, work with them, move on.  Boo to perfectionism, life’s too short for that.

Since those art classes I have participated in many online art classes (with some incredible teachers – more on that later), but Nest and Carly will always be where it started for me as a 38 year old woman who was ready to start living the creative live she had always been destined to live.