Words and Pictures

I'm excited to be taking part in the Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of a blog-friend's new book. I will be contributing the piece below and another piece on December 4th about Creative Inheritance. I do hope you'll follow along!

Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce

Today's topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!

November 27th: Creative Heroines.
December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
December 11th: The Creative Process.

Just a little while ago, one of my three year old girls floored me with  her first declaration of a future ambition. We had been reading a book called Hello Twins, by Charlotte Voake. It is a book celebrating the differences between twins and how wonderful it is that, despite being so different they "like each other just the way they are".

There was a page which pictured 'Simon' drawing patterns "over and over again" and pictured 'Charlotte' "copying the numbers from the clock".

Drawing at the café. 

"Like me!" Lile exclaimed, when she recognised that she was like Simon. Indeed she loves to draw. She draws every single day. Though it is mostly people, not patterns that she draws 'over and over again'.

All in a days work for Lile

I then asked Sábha if she thought that she was, therefore, like Charlotte. "I'm not very good at drawing numbers" she said. I told her that I actually thought that she was very good at writing numbers for such a little girl, not yet in 'big' school. Earlier in the day, unprompted, she had drawn a backwards number 4 and I had been quite impressed.

"I like numbers", she said, "but Mama, what I really want to learn is to write all the words. And then I can put them all in a book and you can say 'By Sábha'. That is what I would like, you know?".

"I know!", I said excitedly. "And I think it is a wonderful thing to want to do. And maybe Lile can draw the pictures to put in your book?"

Lile smiled her agreement and I hugged them both closer to me, overwhelmed and delighted by the revelations this simple children's book had inspired.

My little girl, at three years old, recognises that she can put words together to make a book.  She knows that an author is something that she can be. And what's more, she wants to be one. This blows my mind.

My other little girl knows that she could be an artist or an illustrator, that perhaps she could make images to go with her sister's words. She has not declared her intentions as clearly as her sister, but the fact that she understands that it is a possibility is incredible to me.

I am, of course, completely aware that they are three years old and that, more often than not, they declare that they would like to be fairies or cats or ladybirds or unicorns when they grow up. That's a given. And a wonderful thing in itself.

I am not about to hold them to their word , either, and force them towards career paths they chose during a bedtime reading session when they were toddlers. (Even if I would secretly be very proud if these were paths they did choose!)

Paintings inspired by 'The Spider and The Fly'

Reading is an essential part of our everyday routine. We read two books (one each, of course) every night at bedtime, without fail and often find books in our hands at other, random times of day.

Books have inspired crafts and artwork on numerous occasions. I have overheard them using toys to reenact stories from books they know by heart expanding on the story adding to it, introducing new characters and new scenes. Making them their own.

I have watched them sitting quietly with books open on their laps 'reading' to themselves and to each other. Describing the pictures. Interpreting them in new ways. Seeing things I haven't noticed. Expanding on the theme. Giving characters new names. Making new stories from the images.

They way children 'play' with things that we as adults have often forgotten how to 'play' with will never cease to fill me with wonder. As grownups, we often see an image or read a story and take it at face value, the busyness of our lives often failing to afford us the time to really reflect on what we are looking at. Inspiration being sucked away by the humdrum banality of routine.

Words and Pictures....

... it doesn't take much to inspire creativity in a child. The harder part is to nurture that creativity and ensure they take it with them to adulthood.

And so I try to 'play' with words and pictures too. I think that if my children witness me being inspired and being creative that the image of a creative mother will sit in their subconscious and that they will carry it into their futures.

It doesn't really matter to me how much or how little actual talent I have. I want to nurture the pure joy of creating, within myself, so that they might value it enough to always nurture it within themselves.

So when we read a picture book together that we all enjoy, I try to remember to 'play' with it alongside them. Expand on it. Develop it. Draw it. Paint it. Dance it. Sing it. Let it inspire us. Let it nurture us.

Make it our own.

Some fine day Sábha and Lile may very well write a book.

Some fine day I might just do the same thing myself.


and grab your free extras 
(first 200 orders only!):

- exclusive access to a private Facebook group for creative mothers
- a vibrant greetings card and book-mark of one of the author's paintings.

Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

or order it from your local bookshop!

  • Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.
  • Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she's discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.
  • DeAnna L'am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.
  • Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies - balancing motherhood with creativity.
  • Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.
  • Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.
  • Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.
  • For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.
  • Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.
  • Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity - They Must Coexist.
  • Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity challenge...you can too!
  • Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.
  • Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.
  • Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.
  • Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post "I nurture a creative culture."
  • It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative streak - she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.
  • Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family's life together.
  • Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!
  • Lisa from Mama.ie has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.
  • Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.
  • Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.
  • Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.
  • Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.
  • Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.
  • Allurynn shares her creative family's musings in her post "Creativity... at the Heart of it" on Moonlight Muse.
  • Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.
  • Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.
  • Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak Inside shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.
  • Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life ... now she is finding out what creativity is all about.... her inner child!
  • Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.
  • On womansart blog this week - nurturing a creative culture at home.


  1. Loving this! We have a budding writer in the house too who fills books with her writing and drawing and tells me she is going to be an artist one day "just like you, mama!"

    I look forward to reading their books one day... and YOURS a little sooner!

    Thanks so much for taking part in the Carnival!

    1. Thank you Lucy! It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that you have a budding writer/artist in your house with such an inspirational Mother as an example. Congratulations to you on the launch of your book and for inviting me to take part in this wonderful celebration. If I ever get around to writing a book, I'll let you know :)

    2. :) perfect! And thank you!

  2. I think this is the CUTEST post I've ever read... I love that your girls are so attuned: twins are fascinating to me, the bond and crossover of thoughts and ideas must be extraordinary. I look forward to their books.... and yours!!

    1. Ah, thank you Emily. Twins are fascinating alright, I am so lucky to witness them in action!

  3. Great post, I really enjoyed reading this. I love that your girls already know that they can be part of one project together, when I glimpse moments like that (between all the refusal-to-share and shouting-match ones) I feel they already know something about each other, that they can depend on each other for the important stuff.

    1. Thanks Joanna! Yes, there are plenty of refusing to share/shouting matches here, which makes moments like this all the sweeter.


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