Creative Secrets this month is with Powertex tutor and artist Annette Smyth. She is a member of the Powertex UK Design Team, runs Powertex workshops from a dedicated studio in Leamington Spa, UK and has an extraordinary variety of work.
Creative Secrets with Creative Adventurer Annette Smyth
Were you encouraged to create when you were a child? Do you have any memories of childhood arts or crafts?
In my family, I am the fourth daughter (of 4 girls) so by the time I came along, the kitchen and household chores were already taken care of (phew) so I got to go outside into my Dad’s shed and help there.That magical place where there were tins holding forgotten treasures, bits of wood with nails to hammer into them and old pots of paint to colour my creations. So, yes I was encouraged to create, design and work through any problems that came up in the process.When it was too cold to be outside, I spent my time doing embroidery – again helped by my Dad. As a boy he had been admitted to a sanitarium to help him recover from a bout of TB, whilst there he was taught to embroider and I still have one of the pieces he made (now over 70 years old).
So, how did you come to your creative life as an adult?
Well it never really stopped from childhood, I just carried on creating things and learning new techniques. Ive tried sugar craft, card making, knitting, crochet, folk art painting, wirework, and a whole load more.
I know you as a Powertex tutor and Powertex Design Team member but I know you have other creative interests. What other arts or crafts do you do?
Ooh difficult one as I keep trying new things and going back to old skills and updating them. At the moment I’m attending college to learn ceramics where I love hand building sculptures. This year I’m going to try and increase the amount of art journalling I do.
Can you describe a favourite piece of art you have made. What made it special for you and where is it now?
Wow another toughie as I’m always in love with my latest creation. So in that case it is the Japanese Cranes and they are sitting in pride of place in my studio.
Do you have any other crafts you would like to try or creative skills you would like to learn? If so, what’s on your list and why?
This year I am attending a sculptor workshop with James Ort, I think this is really going to open up my sculpting to a looser style. I would love to do more wire work with Chris Moss, she’s a fantastic teacher and taking a piece of wire and creating a form is very rewarding.
You’ve named a couple of inspirational teachers for you. Who else do you admire in your art world and why?
I love the work of Philip Jackson the sculptor. His work is elegant and stunning with simple clean lines and dramatic colouring.
Sculpture is clearly a passion of yours but what are the benefits to you of having a creative practice in your life?
I find that I lose myself in the creative process no matter what the medium is, I can switch off from the mind monkeys and feel a sense of achievement.Even when things don’t quite go to plan it still calms and centres me.
Making art and crafting can have huge positive benefits but can also come with some challenges. Do you have any advice for making time for creative projects when we have busy lives?
I found that I had to make a date with myself, by putting it in the diary and not allowing it to be moved (emergencies excepted!). I gave myself permission to be in that focussed place without the guilt that we so often taunt ourselves with.
Lastly, if you could give one piece of advice to creative readers, what would it be?
Just breathe and keep going, most creations go through an ugly phase but that pushing through is where the magic happens.
Thank you for reading Creative Secrets! If you’d like to read the Creative Secrets of other Powertex artists you can find them here. Or if you’re a Powertex tutor and would like to share your Creative Secrets why not drop me a line?!