Creative Inspiration - Founder of Isabella and Us shares her journey and tips to get you started

Creative Inspiration - Founder of Isabella and Us shares her journey and tips to get you started

Part of a series of creative inspiration stories from different people about creativity and how it has helped them, why it is important and how they hope it inspires others.

Emma Cottam

My journey with my own creativity began as a little girl, spending time with my Grandad painting and drawing. My Grandad was a painter, my grandparents house was covered in his paintings and I think that is what inspired me to continue in my own journey of creativity.

Throughout my adult life I have studied creative subjects, first at College were I took A Level’s in Digital Photography and Graphic Design and then at University I studied Wildlife and Environmental Photography. After graduating I decided I wanted to teach others and so trained to become a teacher, and I have been teaching Photography for the past eight years.

As children we are encouraged to play, to create to explore but as we grow we can often loose the confidence to try new things, to explore, to create without worrying what the outcome might look like. Creativity is linked intrinsically with problem solving, with process and also supports our wellbeing.

After I had my daughter I became profoundly aware of how much spending time to be creative supported my own wellbeing and how I needed to fill that cup every so often to support myself. As I transitioned from being ‘Emma’ to being ‘Emma and Isabella’s mum’ and my mental health became incredibly fragile, I began to start being creative again. I spent time designing products and drawing and this focus supported me, alongside external support from professionals.

As you have been reading this piece you might have spent some time reflecting on when you last allowed yourself to be creative, when you last did something for you. I’d like to consider what you could do to be creative. It doesn’t have to be a class, you could buy a kit online, you could buy some foliage and create a wreath for your front door, create birthday cards for family and friends. It could be decorating a room in your house, planting flowers in the garden, painting a picture, upcylcling a piece of furniture, These are just a few ideas to help get you started.

Take your time, find something that interests you, that perhaps you have always wanted to learn, it isn’t about getting it perfect (I often find with my own creativity this can often be a barrier), it’s about giving it a go and most importantly giving your mind time to relax and just be.

Top tips for getting started:

1. Find something you want to learn how to do
2. Give yourself time to explore and experiment
3. Try different things, if the first one you try might not be the one
4. Get other’s involved, book a class with a friend, or spend a day being creative with your children or partner
5. Look for inspiration - create a vision board, a Pinterest board of ideas to help you focus on what you would like to try


Emma Cottam, is a speaker, writer and founder of Isabella and Us. She is the editor of the Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums, an independent magazine for mums, and the host of the Positive Wellbeing Podcast for Mums, a weekly podcast talking openly and honestly about motherhood, wellbeing and self-care. She is also passionate about helping to raise awareness of maternal mental health through our #winningasamummy® campaign.

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