I have always wanted to have my own creative business for as long as I can remember. Doing what I had no idea. So instead I found myself drifting into a completely unrelated career. It wasn’t until illness put an end to that career that I began to gaze longingly at that old dream. I tried making all manor of things but, despite a lifetime of sewing and being capable of making the most beautiful garments, nothing I made seemed to provide an answer. Frustratingly, an idea for my creative business remained elusive.
What I didn’t appreciate at the time, was that developing a habit of allowing my inner creative child to play, to experiment and to have fun was arming me with an arsenal of sewing and creative skills. It also opened my eyes to all sort of possibilities and taught me what I did and did not enjoy creating.
Then in November 2017 I attended a wonderful workshop by SamanthaBryan (if you’ve never seen her unique fairies then do take a look, they are amazing!).
I had absolutely no preconceived ideas about what I would make at her workshop, I simply went along with my inner creative child’s desire to play. The end result was a half finished creature. It was very different to anything I’d ever created before. I wasn’t even sure who or what it was.
Laid to one side over the next couple of months, the little creature niggled at my imagination until I could no longer resist. I completed ‘her’ in March 2018.
Little did I know that in making this creature I was also opening the door to a magical world in my head that I hadn’t known existed. Long before I had completed her I had begun to imagine who she was and where she had come from. She sparked something in me. She became real and very much alive.
I felt with absolute certainty that she was a wood-nymph and I wanted to call her Titch, the same name that I call my inner creative child. There was something tangibly familiar about her, I had the strangest feeling of recognition, as though we’d met before. I knew she was an explorer of nature. I made her a canoe and paddle, an explorers outfit and hat. I added a tiny blue feather in her cap, that I felt she’d gained from one of her adventures.
But something was missing.
I had this innate feeling that although she had wings, she couldn’t fly. And she was desperate to fly. After all, all her family did.
Her family? She has a family? Yes of course. They are the other wood-nymphs. So I made an entire family of wood-nymphs and began writing about them all.
Titch was different to them. Why was that? She’s a different colour, her wings are different, she even thinks differently. No wood-nymph has ever left their tree home before. After all, why would they? They are linked, inextricably to the trees that they come from. So the other wood-nymphs are baffled by Titch and her differences. They love her, but they don’t understand her. But they do understand and sympathise with her inability to fly.
She can’t fly? Poor Titch, how could I help her? This problem baffled me. It became a subconscious preoccupation. It wasn’t just Titch who longed to fly.
One day, not long after this problem had presented itself, I had a dream-like experience during a meditation. I glanced out of the window of the imaginary warm safe room I was in. Outside was the most beautiful, tranquil place I have ever seen. I stepped out into a wild flower meadow buzzing with bees and dragonflies. A gently flowing river and quiet woodland filled with ancient tress provided the backdrop. Overhead something glistened in the blue sky. At first I couldn’t make it out, but as it came closer I realised what it was. It was a dragon!
The magnificent blue dragon landed before me. With a small motion she encouraged me to come closer. Despite her huge size, I wasn’t at all afraid.
I reached forward tentatively to touch her chest, surprised at the warmth that emanating from beneath her scales. I felt the gentle rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. She bowed her head so that I could touch her nose. Come fly with me she beckoned. So I did.
She bent down, allowing me to use her front limb to scramble onto her back. I felt her crouch lower then the power of her leg muscles as she pushed into the ground to launch into the air. Her beautiful shimmering wings sprung into life, slicing through the air with ease to raise us higher and higher off the ground. I looked around me in wonder, feeling her muscles move and work beneath me, the feel of her scales, the warmth and the movement of her body, her every breath, the power of her wings and the feel of the wind in my face as we flew.
It was the single most magical dream experience I had ever had.
Afterwards I worked like someone possessed to recreate that dragon as best I could. I had absolutely no idea how I would make her, but I knew I must. I searched for video tutorials, reading everything I could, trying to work out how to begin.
It took weeks of trial and error, of learning, experimentation and patience, but eventually a dragon emerged. She was no where near perfect, her horns were too fragile and one broke almost immediately, but I knew I had captured the essence of her.
Whats more, without realising it, I had made her the perfect size for Titch to ride. I’d found a way for Titch to fly!
All the while I worked on her, I got the distinct impression that my dragons name was Harmony or that she represented harmony in some way. The name haunted me for weeks.
She and Titch were definitely suited to each other. Titch’s quirky lopsided smile somehow seemed more pronounced. She seemed very happy, excited and bemused. I imagined her dreaming of the possible adventures that lie ahead.
I kept Titch and her dragon to myself until my daughter arrived home from university at Easter. It felt very important to me that she should be the first person to meet my new creations. That she loved them gave me the confidence to share them with those closest to me to gauge their reactions. They loved them too.
Was I really on to something here? I could hardly contain my excitement, I felt I was creating something really special.
I’ll never forget my eldest brother’s reaction. He has a severe memory problem following an unusual form of stroke. He’d never seen my creations before and yet he said he felt like he already knew them, as if he remembered them. They were familiar to him. And I knew exactly what he meant because I felt exactly the same.
But what to name my dragon? Harmony seemed far too soft a name for a dragon, and yet the name continued to play in my head and I knew it was what she represented. It was my daughter who provided her name when she discovered the Latin form of harmony. The name resonated, felt right. And so my blue dragon was named Concordia.
Likewise, Titch was also renamed in Latin to become Minima. I like to think that Concordia renamed her, giving her the Latin nick-name for ‘little one’.
The word harmony sums up my own aspirations for my future business intentions. I want so much to live a more harmonious life. For me that means leading a more creative life, one that allows me to truly be myself and where my creations resonate with others and bring them joy.
So I find my days occupied with creating the creatures that reside in the place Concordia and Minima came from, the world of my imagination.
My name is Mary-Ann and I live, where I’ve always lived, on the edge of the beautiful New Forest National Park in Hampshire, England.
Who am I? My son kindly describes me as a nutty professor type, he says I remind him of Belle’s father in Beauty and the Beast. I like to think I’m just a bit unusual!
I’ve been sewing and creating my entire life but have no formal training in sewing or the arts.
Following a career of almost thirty years in civil engineering and transport planning, my life changed direction due to illness. I learned the value of using creativity to heal myself from depression and experienced a dawning realisation that I’d been given a new life full of opportunities. So here I am, in a new chapter in my life, attempting to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn, to help others through my creative journey stories.
These days I often live in a very weird but beautiful place that only exists in my head. Slowly but surely the fantasy creatures and characters that reside there are coming to life in my hands. As each one emerges made from bits of clay, wire and scraps of recycled materials that no one else wants or cares about but me, it’s a bit like greeting an old friend. They are fun, quirky and a bit odd. They are beautiful too.
I hope they will bring a little magic with them into this world, helping others to smile and perhaps encourage them to rediscover and escape into their own childhood imaginations.
Welcome to the world of my imagination.
Welcome to Concordia’s World!