DO you have someone in your life who champions you? Who you would say is the greatest encourager of all the things that you were made to be?

It turns out, quite conveniently, that in my life, that person would be my husband. He sees me as a creative being and often expresses delight in this part of me. He encourages me at every whim and new expression to just keep going. He knows I underrate myself and that I internally belittle some of my ideas, so he chooses to encourage and build up from the outside. He buys me books that inspire me. He calls me his “colour girl” and, for example, loves how I create our home around our family. Yes, he is my cheer squad.

One thing I’ve noticed about the people that champion me in my creative pursuits is that they themselves know what it is to put yourself out there. They too are artists, and their artistic spirit is alive.  Support often comes from like minded people.

I know I’ve been spoilt in this way. I grew up in a home where creativity was valued enormously. I could write pages of names of many friends and relatives who have encouraged me along the way. I live in a place where the creative arts are a very integral part of our city’s identity. And people often buy creative pieces that I conjure up.

  Here I am with my sister-in -law Nerida and her daughters, Iris and Nina. A musician and artist herself, Nerida has a gift for  championing others’ creativity. She has initiated creative collaborations in the country town she lives in and I have been the recipient of her championing skills many, many times.  She organises events for Curlybird Designs and has even lent me her gorgeous offspring to be models for my clothing range!

In my own home live three very musical young men. One of them has a school friend who is an Islander – a multitalented musician with an incredible voice. Jesse (my son) picked his voice out at lunchtime jam sessions from the first time he heard it. He would secretly video his voice and bring home the recording for us to listen to, because this young guy wouldn’t sing in front of others (not an easy thing to do for most people!), but Jesse was convinced he needed to be heard. The two play music together and after years of my son encouraging this school friend to sing in front of others, we have all been blessed to experience his soulful voice. That’s is exactly what championing another’s creativity is about.

Having a person or people to cheer you on as you express yourself creatively is very important. I’m passionate about it. I believe we all need encouragement.

Another beautiful example of championing another’s creativity is seen in the film Paterson. Produced in 2016, it tells the simple story of a bus driver and his wife and their individual exploration of their creative soul – he a bus driver by day and a poet, and she, obsessed with all things black and white, from painting the door frames, to making her own clothes, to selling cupcakes … you get the picture. She encourages him daily in his writing, he comes home from work to find all sorts of developments in black and white, and responds with a love for her that embraces whatever it is she is working on. It’s a simple story and yet, for me, very inspiring.  Their support for one other creates a place where they feel safe to express themselves because their work is valued as an extension of who they are, and embraced without conditions.

image from the film Paterson (2016) by Jim Jarmusch.

The truth is, when you create, you are revealing a part of who you are. It makes you vulnerable to show what you done with your hands, your voice, your body, your mind, your heart. To express yourself creatively means you’re exposing your inner self. Having someone champion your efforts can be just what a person needs to support this revealing process.