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Finding your creative community

by Clare Mansell
Finding your creative community

I was recently asked by the team at Hiive to write a post about what keeps me feeling creatively inspired.  If you haven’t heard of Hiive yet, it is a a professional network for the creative industries, offering a portfolio platform, educational resources and job opportunities from high profile employers.

I’ve worked in a number of creative industries, from radio to television, photography and online and I also have a few creative hobbies which occasionally (as with the #CraftTheParcel project) overlap with my working life. However I sometimes find my creative energy dries up (usually when I am working too hard!) and I need to find ways of rebooting it.

Blogtacular event

When I was thinking about writing this post and the different ways I get inspiration, I realised that all the places, moments and people that make me feel inspired, have one thing in common. They are all communities of some sort.

Different communities feed me in different ways, but all of them help to make me feel energised and to give me new ideas. I have been lucky enough to work in a couple of places where everyone was so excited about what we did, that we constantly drove each other to produce great things, but nowadays away from the office environment my creative communities are more informal. Here are a few of the places I like to go for inspiration…

Blogtacular – Unique among blogging events as a place for creative bloggers to mingle and share ideas, I went to the inaugural Blogtacular last year and will be attending again in June. Sitting in on the workshops and talks and hearing amazing stories from people who have excelled in the creative industries was inspiring enough, but I was also surrounded by people in the audience who each had their own ideas and stories. Some of the best parts of Blogtacular for me were the informal chats I had with other atendees and the meal on the Friday night sharing ideas with Emma and Ellie


Flickr – Before Pinterest existed Flickr was my Go To source for inspiration for photography and quilts. I built a huge collection of favourites on there and still turn to it for ideas if I am planning a particular photo shoot or looking for a way to convey an idea in an image. Flickr has changed a lot over the years, but it is still an excellent place to see other people’s work and take inspiration about how you develop your own. It’s also a great way to back up your images for free.

Photography Clubs – When people tell me they want to improve their photography, I always suggest they look at joining their local camera club. They are cheap to join and offer a huge pool of collective knowledge. When we lived in Scotland I was a member of Elgin Camera Club which met weekly and used to organise field trips, competitions and workshops. Amongst the half a dozen younger members of the club there was a very healthy rivalry in the club competitions and we would all try and compete to take a prize-winning photo. I found this competitive side really pushed me to achieve better images and I learned a lot in a short time.

Craft Swaps – Over the last few years I have joined in with lots of craft swaps mostly through Flickr. Generally you are assigned a partner secretly and you make something (a cushion, quilt or something sewn) for them, sharing photos to the group as you go. Seeing other people’s ideas and their creative use of fabric has introduced me to new styles and ideas.

Pinterest – I can’t not mention Pinterest! Most people will use it already, but I plan absolutely everything via Pinterest from the quilts I make, to the renovations on our home, the photography trips I do and the meals I make. It’s impossible not to feel inspired even after a brief browse.

Remember if you’re looking to kickstart your creative career or show off your skills, be sure to check out Hiive


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fashion-mommy February 14, 2015 - 7:26 pm

I love pinterest – always find inspiration for fashion and interiors posts from there. Love Instagram too.


Lilinha Espindula February 14, 2015 - 9:28 pm

I love pinterest too for inspiration. It is amazing the range of things you can find, from recipes to tutorials and crafts x

sarah hill wheeler (@hill_wheeler) February 16, 2015 - 2:04 pm

Thanks. I am going to check out the Blogtacular! I also sometimes find just going for a good walk can get the creative juices flowing again.

Ellie February 16, 2015 - 2:20 pm

Meeting so many brilliant and creative bloggers like yourself was absoloutely the highlight of Blogtacular for me too, Clare.
Having worked in more creative jobs before, as a print and embroidery designer, I really cherish that sense of collective inspiration and motivation that I really found lacking when I freelanced solo.
Finding like minded people, with complimentary skills and interests, is vital for keeping you motivated and moving forward with your work, be that blogging, quilting painting, whatever.
Finding friends who share your creative interests is the icing on the cake!
x Ellie
PS I’m really looking forward to Blogtacular again, too. Eeek!


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