Friday, October 28, 2011

Squashing creativity and my daughters bedroom

O.K, so now that you are all getting to know the face behind Cheeky Pickle a little better....What do you think my daughters bedroom looks like? Being an arty farty type and predominantly designing art pieces for childrens bedrooms for a living, I have a good idea of what you are picturing right now. But I think you would actually be quite surprised, if not a little shocked at the reality! 

Words that I would use to describe my little girls sleeping den are, disorganised, messy, eclectic, arty and really rather dusty!

When I write these words down, I can see that they describe my eldest daughter perfectly, which makes me very happy indeed (other than the dusty part of course!)

Why is that, I hear you ask!

When I was growing up back in Manchester, England, I lived with my dad and gran. They were both very strict and real perfectionists in every way. This was just their way and personality type, not a problem for them, but they did try and push their perfectionist ways onto me. I was never allowed to stamp my personality onto anything and that included my personal space, my beloved bedroom.

When you are growing up, especially in those "difficult years" shall we say. A girls bedroom is her haven and her best friend. I believe that every child, whatever age, (hopefully without sounding too deep) should be allowed to explore his/her own personal space and to express their feelings, personality and artistic tendencies, however they wish to. To create their own little nest, in a way that pleases them, however frustrating it may be for us, the parent! It's up to us not to stamp our personality onto our children, but to nurture, encourage and bring out their own little personalities (however quirky!).

In my humble opinion, art is something that is taken away from our children far too early in life. Remember Kinder? Our children are allowed to "do arty things" when and however they like. To express themselves in a creative way is encouraged wholeheartedly. Now think about your Prep child. I know at my daughters school Art was on the timetable once a week and for just one hour! Already your child is learning that Art isn't that important in every day life.

 I will always remember when I was 17 and I went for my interview for Art school. The teacher asked me what my parents thought of me going to Art school. I told him that my father was not happy at all. That in fact I was there at the interview without his knowledge (my strong personality had already started to show itself) and he would have been rather mad if he knew what I was intending to do. The teacher had obviously been there before as he didn't looked shocked at all. He sat back and said something that I will always remember to this day. He said "look around you.......look at the chairs, the table, the lights, the paint on the wall, the bus you came here on, the seat covers on the bus you came on, this pen I am holding...........all of these things have been designed by someone with a creative and artistic flair. Your passion and your artistic strength should not be squashed into some dead end job you hate, but be encouraged and celebrated" I went home and told my dad what the teacher said and (no surprise here) he said "what a load of poppycock"!! 

But back to little Miss Messy. Yes, my daughters eclectic habit does drive me bonkers at times and sometimes I do feel like I'm encouraging her to be a future hoarder, but at the end of the day, I know that she can be 100% comfortable and can be happy with herself completely, even if it's only in her bedroom.

And now you are probably thinking.....well, that doesn't make sense. How did Ali become so creative when the adults around her were constantly trying to dampen those artistic tendencies? Well let's just say that I have a very, very strong personality and equally strong will power. I got into Art college and went onto study Art for the next5 years :)

What do you think? Agree or disagree? How were you brought up and what effect do you think it has on your creativity now? I'd love to know.
 Ali xxx


  1. I really loved reading your post. It just looks like a typical young girls bedroom to me. It does not have to be perfect and organised as this does not allow for personal expression and growth. My daughter has stuff everywhere in her room. In her younger years I felt a bit frustrated at times with the mess she created. Now she has learned to keep an organised mess. We have created zones in her bedroom. A zone for clothes, a zone for books, sleeping area, art display area, ornaments area etc. Now she has an organised mess. It is a great expression of who she is. We painted the walls purple to her liking. Off the bedroom we have an open space room with a big table where she can do arts and crafts. She makes lots of furniture and all sorts of props for her toys. I think it is very important for kids to express themselves creatively. I also think it is great for them when they see their parents being creative. My mum and my husbands mum were always creative when we grew up, so it is a great skills to give to your children.

  2. Thanks Angel. I agree with you. She does drive me crazy at times with her collection of empty boxes (that she insists are for some sort of creative concoction)but I know deep down that letting her express herself now and letting her be independent is great standing ground for her adult life. I think we can tend to box our kids off too much these days, wanting perfection. In my point of view, if a child is allowed to make a mess without feeling guilty about it, then that's one happy kid! I think I just need to start teaching my children that they also need to learn how to tidy up their mess after :)