Creative life

Creative

The dictionary definition of the creative is “relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.”  The word itself has always been daunting to me. I’ve never felt able to describe myself as such.

I’ve been a maker my whole life. As a child, I could never sit still. Idle hands were not an option. I joined all the art classes at school that I possibly could and experimented with all the mediums. Clay, acrylics, chalk pastels, oil pastels, watercolours – the works. I’ve grown up making things. It’s just a part of who I am. I miss having so much time that was set aside for the sole purpose of creative exploration.

As I’ve grown older, and I have less time to sit and make stuff, I’ve simply grown into mediums that I resonate most with, and left the others behind.

However, I’ve also noticed this sneaky little voice in the back of my head. Enter, Imposter Syndrome. No matter how much I paint and draw and sew, I feel as if I still can’t call myself an artist (even although my business Instagram account describes me as such – thanks Facebook).

The word leaves me with a gnawing feeling in my stomach, and mean thoughts in my head, that go something along the lines of “you’re no artist.” I constantly compare myself to other artists online and feel inferior. Feel as if I’m not original enough. Not putting enough into my art. Not sticking to a style. Heck, I don’t even have a style.

Everyone else seems to have it all figured out. The seem to know what their preferred medium is, what they like to paint, and how they like to paint it.  But I still feel like that little kid who can’t decide what she wants to make. On the flip side, I end up making similar things that feel “safe” so that I can churn some or other piece out every other week just so that I have something to post on Instagram.

But, after some contemplation, I’m realising that Instagram, or no Instagram, I would probably be painting, sewing, drawing, making, anyway. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.  And whilst the inner critic can be pretty darn hurtful and hindering sometimes, I’m learning to break through it. To block out all the noise, both internally and externally and allow myself space to make things, even if it feels ugly and so not worthy of Instagram and leave room for child-like creative play, without parameters or feeling like I have to stick to a certain “style”.

There is a lot of noise out in the world. Things are being thrown at us all the time. Just keep making stuff. Don’t feel as if you have to make pretty things all the time. In a rut? Try something new. Allow yourself to make mistakes. And then just keep doing it all over again.

Nabeela x

 

The Artist | Angelyn Peh

Whilst there are hundreds of artists and makers from around the world whose work I enjoy and admire, every once in a while, I stumble upon an artist whose work deeply resonates with me. When I first came across Angelyn’s work, I was scrolling on Instagram, probably spending too much time on the Explore page, If I’m being honest. I loved her paintings and drawings and kept scrolling as far down on her account as I could. A few days later, I wanted to go back and look again, but I’d forgotten her username. So, as one does, I scrolled through my entire “following” list until I found it, and I made sure to make a mental note of her account’s name so I could go back again and again. It’s been almost two years since then, I’d say, and I continue to be deeply moved and inspired by Angelyn’s intricate, delicate and undoubtedly beautiful work. Angelyn is from Kuala Lumpur and her life-long mission is to “illustrate the intangible”.

I reached out to Angelyn recently, asking if she wouldn’t mind answering some questions about her work and creative practice, for us all to learn from. Here’s what she had to say…

Describe your creative practice in three words
Unpredictable, detailed, meticulous.

Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly through other stories, like books and movies. Nature too, and definitely songs. Beautiful places.

Many of your pieces take on themes like anxiety and other mental health issues. Do you find that making art is an important way of working through these kinds of things, and raising awareness about them?
Yes – although it happened a little backwards. I had no intention of speaking out previously as the idea was quite painful. Over time I began to realise that art was my preferred way of processing my experiences, and even then for a long time I found it hard to get these things out onto the paper because I had a fixed idea of what my art should be like and this was crossing a clearly defined line into “absolutely not” territory. So it was a lot of gradual acceptance, that it was okay (even necessary) to speak out about the issues we face, and that I had a strong method of communication if I let myself use it.

What made you gravitate towards watercolours?
My muse Pauline Baynes who illustrated the Narnia series – one look at her work and I knew I wanted to be just like her. Also, Beatrix Potter!

What advice would you give anyone who wants to pursue creative work?
Be kind to yourself. That means understanding that your process and output may be different from others, taking the time to learn about yourself, and following through on the things you want to make. Give yourself a try.

Be sure to check Angelyn out on the socials too.

Nabeela x

The Artist | Mimi Chuan

I’ve been following Mimi on Instagram for the longest time, and I finally reached out recently to ask if she’d like to be featured over here on the blog. Mimi, known as Mimskii on Instagram, creates the most beautiful ceramic pieces that are simple, yet striking and quite lovely to look at. I asked Mimi a few questions about her creative practice. Here’s what she had to say…


What keeps you inspired?
Creation. I thrive when frolicking in nature.

What made you gravitate towards clay as a medium?
I feel like clay is a very grounding and forgiving medium. I am a hand builder (as opposed to wheel work) So it requires (alot of) patience and each piece is incredibly unique and no 2 pieces look the same. The process cannot be rushed (or mass produced) and it’s a little bit unpredictable. It feels raw and of the earth. I love that.

Favourite piece to date?
My current “Rising Suns” tumblers that will form part of my first capsule collection (hōm) being released early next year (2019).

Dream collaboration?
There are so many incredibly creative and talented individuals that I don’t know if I can name just one. But that being said, my most recent collaboration with Melissa of Studio Melissa Louise on Floral Slumber, was an absolute dream. I really admire her work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit and her ability to translate her creative talents across different disciplines (interior design, candles, digital marketing etc.) It was such a fun experience and would love to do it again.

Your style in three words?
improvisational, minimal and true to hand and material.

Find more of Mimi’s work on her Instagram.
Nabeela x
(Photographs were provided by Mimi)

The Artist | Alice Trow

One of my favourite artists that I’ve recently discovered is Alice Trow from Victoria, Australia. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art, and paints the most exquisite scenes of mountains, waterfalls and my personal favourites, her lovely moon paintings. Alice says she paints in a way that encourages the viewer to lean in and have a closer look – a welcome moment to slow down for just a second.  When I stumbled upon her beautiful Instagram account, it was love at first sight, and spent a good while scrolling right to the bottom of her feed, absolutely in awe of her beautiful work.

What inspires your art and style? 

To put it simply, my art is inspired by my love for the natural world. I’m mostly interested in portraying dreamy landscapes where time seems to stand still and nature remains vastly untouched by human interference (Iceland is a huge source of inspiration to me for this reason), although I also paint other magical things which capture my imagination like moons and night skies.

I’m not sure exactly what inspires my style but if I had to describe it I’d say I’m drawn to representing things realistically whilst still trying to retain some of the painterly qualities of the medium – I want my subject matter to be easily recognisable and understood, but I don’t want to disguise the fact that it’s a painting, either. As for the shape of my work, I painted my first circular landscape (a small mountain scene, if I remember correctly) over four years ago and I’m still in love with the quality that a circular support lends to a scene! I love the connection they have to windows/portals, as the things which I paint are most often places I’d love to be able to gaze at through my window, or to teleport straight into!

Favourite medium? 

I’ve used quite a few different mediums over the years (I first started out by drawing with lead pencils) but I’d say my favourite medium has to be either acrylic or oil paint – perhaps leaning more towards acrylic owing to its affordability!

Favourite commission/piece to date? 

This is a bit of a tricky one for me because I find it hard to choose favourites (I don’t know from experience but I’d say it’s akin to choosing a favourite child.) There is a recent commission which does come to mind, though. A few months ago, I was approached by someone wanting to commemorate a very special sunset she had experienced in Iceland with her partner on their fifth anniversary. It was to be a surprise gift for her partner. For the commission, I was asked to combine two separate images – one of Gulfoss (the waterfall), and another of an amazing sunset cloud (which she described as a ‘dragon’ cloud) into one painting. It took a few small studies first to get the two different images to ‘fit’, and I experienced a few challenges along the way, but I think the final piece really came together – the client gave me some absolutely wonderful feedback, too, which always reminds me why I love to create paintings for people.

I was also recently commissioned to paint someone’s birth moon, which I think is such a wonderful and unique concept!

What would be a dream commission or collaboration? 

Honestly, any commission I receive is like a dream: I still can’t get over the fact that people want me to paint special pieces for them! I’m extremely honoured and grateful that people trust me to bring their ideas to life for them. Having said that, anything Iceland related is always very dreamy!

Find more of Alice on her beautiful website and Instagram account. 

Nabeela x

 

 

DIY (Five Minute) Greeting Cards

As much as I love making stuff, I often find myself pressed for time when it comes to doing so. Its safe to say that I’ve made my fair share of birthday cards whilst rushing around in the last five minutes before leaving home for said birthday event. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in this little predicament so I thought I would share some of my favourite five-minute cards to make for those emergency (or not-so-emergency) times.

You will need:

  • Cardboard (brown or white)
  • Paper (preferably white)
  • Scrapbook paper / any patterned paper scraps
  • Stamps, stickers and washi
  • Pens (just black is good too)
  • Glue / double-sided tape
  • Extra bits (dried flowers/stickers/etc.)

01. / Girly 

Use two papers that have the same colours in them. Stick them onto the card and stamp/write the appropriate greeting in the spaces. I added a sprig of dried flowers too with washi tape.

 

02. / Ombre

I’ve made this card so many times. I usually use paint chips but any paper with colour steps will work. Simply cut strips of the paper in the same size and stick it on. I used pop-up sticky dots to add some interest, but glue or tape would work just as well.

03. / Washi

For this card, pick a few washi tapes in similar colours. Stick them along one side of the card, and add writing or stamps with the appropriate greeting.

 

I hope you find these helpful. Happy making!

Nabeela x

Creatively Documenting Travels

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list…”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always kept journals. Whether they’ve been to organize my life, unscramble my mind or document my memories, it’s just a part of who I am. I’ve always kept a written record of my travels, and over time, this process has evolved. I truly treasure my travel journals. There are so many tiny details that are easily forgotten if not documented.

I’m sharing my system of travel documentation with you. Firstly, I use two places to store my memories. I have a journal that I usually carry with me on travels and fill in daily (more on that later). Then, I also have a scrapbook album with photos that I print out after the trip. This album doesn’t travel with me and is usually completed (way) after I get home.

Travel Journal 

This little book stays in my backpack when I travel. What I usually do is write in it in pencil and collect all my memorabilia in a pouch in the back. When I get home, I re-write things in pen, add things in, and use my stamps, washi tapes and stickers to make it all pretty. I also stick in all my memorabilia and arrange everything nicely. My last few trips have been super jam-packed, so I haven’t had time to journal every day. What I’ve been doing is writing quick notes on my phone every night before bed and then writing them into my journal when I have some time to do so, or on the plane home. I’ve really been enjoying this system.

Scrapbook

I haven’t been very good with doing this, mainly because my previous scrapbook was a huge 12×12 inch book that took up a load of space and wasn’t very fun to work in. It required too much stuff to fill the pages. So, I recycled the left over paper and rings and made a smaller, cuter, more fun album. I’ve finally gotten around to scrapbooking my Europe photos and will move onto my Mauritius photos after that. I’m a very visual person, so I really enjoy haveing physical photographs to look through. Also, found things (shells/coins/rocks/etc.) are my favourite kind of souvenir. They are my treasures.

I hope this has given you some insight into my documenting process and that you’ve got some ideas for your next trip.

Nabeela x

DIY Paint-Chip Greeting Card

It’s been a while since I’ve done some crafty content over here on the blog, but as the name suggests, I love making stuff and I  have missed sharing my DIYs over here.

I often say that making cards was my first craft-love. As a child, I adored making cards for people and still do. Naturally, over time, my style has changed and I’ve honed my skills a bit since then (or so I’d like to think).

I recently made a really quick and simple card and thought I’d share it with you.

Ever walked into the hardware store and walked out with an armful of colourful paint chips? I know I have, much to the chagrin of the store assistants. Those colourful little chips have so much potential!

On a recent trip to the hardware store, I was running around, desperate to grab what I needed and leave. But something (maybe the fact that its a giant rainbow wall) stopped me in my tracks and made me go up to the paint chip wall, grab two and take them with me.

I decided to use one to make a simple gradient effect card. Its just in time for Fathers’ Day too, so why not give it a go.

You will need: 

  • Paint chip card
  • White cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Stamps/pens
  • Double-sided tape/glue

Method:

  1. First, fold the cardboard to an appropriate size for your card.
  2. Then, cut the different shades from the coloured paint chip into equal squares. I used 9.
  3. Place them in a grid from lightest to darkest (you could do any order though).
  4. Once you’ve planned out your pattern, use glue or double-sided tape to stick them down.
  5. Lastly, add a message above or below the coloured squares. I used my favourite trusty alphabet stamps but you can use a pen, paintbrush or anything else.

That’s it! It’s pretty simple and I love the gradient look. If you give this a go, send me a pic! I’d love to see what you create.

Happy crafting!

Nabeela x

DIY Monochrome Wrapping Paper

I decided to do something a little different for my school books this year – making my wrapping paper so I can have prints I love. Since its the festive season too, and wrapping paper is expensive, here are a few fun ways with brown paper that are cost-effective and classy.

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You will need:

  • Eraser
  • Craft knife
  • Paint (I chose black acrylic)
  • Paint brush
  • Brown paper
  • Leaf
  • Newspaper
  • Tape

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Lay down some newspaper before you start – brown paper is quite thin and the prints you make may bleed through onto the surface under your paper.

Splatter

Tape your sheet of brown paper down. Mix the paint with a little bit of water and load your brush. Flick the brush and the paint should leave splatter prints on the paper. Leave to dry.

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Triangles

Carve a shape out of an eraser. A potato works fine too. Paint one side and press it onto the paper to make a print. Leave to dry.

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Leaves

Choose a leaf that has a definitive vein pattern. Paint the back of it, and gently press it onto the sheet of paper. Repeat it in a pattern you like. Leave to dry.

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Its really quick and simple. I love the monochrome, but if colour is your vibe, use different paints.

Hope you’ll try it out!

Nabeela x

Huge thanks to Imán Cassiem from Aesthete’s Perception for shooting for me! Check out her newly launched blog and Instagram account. 

DIY Lunar Garland

Hello

I could feel that I was getting bored of my workspace a little while ago, so I decided to make a garland to add some visual interest to my space again. I love the graphic look of the lunar cycle and so the good ol’ moon was the inspiration for this DIY.

You will need:

  • About 1-1,5 metres of string
  • White cardboard
  • Black paint
  • Brushes
  • Anything round the trace around
  • Little wooden pegs (or alternatively, tape)

 

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First, draw out 8 circles on your piece of card, tracing around a round object to ensure uniformity. 
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Next, cut them out and sketch the phases of the moon in with pencil.
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Paint the appropriate areas black. 

 

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Once dry, peg the moons onto the length of string. 

 

(If you want it to be in the correct lunar order, it is: new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, waning crescent)

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Hang it up and admire your creation!

I love having mine in my workspace. It makes it interesting and fun.

Happy New Year, too!

Nabeela x

DIY Minimal Wall-hanging

Hello

I have been wanting a more simple wall hanging in my room for a little while now. Previously, a dream catcher was hanging there but it started to bother me and made the wall feel a little too busy for my liking. I wanted something simple, beautiful and functional.

I did some searching on Pinterest and made a simple hanging based off inspiration I found whilst searching. Mine holds my favourite Instax Mini prints, so I can admire them every day.

Its quick and easy, so lets jump right in.

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You will need a bamboo chopstick, a bit of string, a few mini pegs and some mini art prints, photos or Instax prints that you love.

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Cut a piece of string and tie it to each end of your chopstick, leaving the same sized gap on either side. Make it as long or short as you like. It all depends on how low you want it to hang.

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Cut three separate lengths of string. Feed one through each of your little pegs, through the little spring part in the middle.

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Tie a secure knot.Tie each of the strings with the threaded pegs to the chopstick. I tied mine at different lengths, but you can do it however you like. (Also, you can add as many pegs and strings as you like. I just thought three worked well).

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Peg your art prints or photos onto the hanging.

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Find a good space to hang it and admire the minimal beauty of it!

Have a go at making one. They’re easy to make and are simple, but beautiful.

Nabeela x

PS: Summer holidays are here and I have some exciting content to share with you! Stay tuned!

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