By Julia Angell, a writer who runs creative retreats in beautiful West Wales
A sea change is in progress. We need to find another way of living. Many of us are on this journey, a boardwalk to a more sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. This has been brought about by our concern for the environment, austerity measures, and a realisation that cheap goods made using underpaid workers, can actually cost the Earth, as well as our humanity. Do consumerism and fast lifestyles bring true satisfaction ? We don’t think so.
Creating, mending, upcycling, recycling, re-purposing, finding and gathering from the wild are all so satisfying, because they give a sense of fulfilment, a feeling of being more in control and in tune with our lives and the environment, of actually caring. We are using our time creatively, productively, moving forward in the most constructive way possible.
When I moved to St Dogmaels on the banks of the Teifi estuary in West Wales, I was inspired by the beauty that surrounded me. I wanted to bottle it and send it to all those who weren’t fortunate enough to savour all this on a day to day basis. Founding Creative Coastal Breaks has been my way of sharing this inspiration, by providing coastal escapes that feed the soul with the creativity our wonderful environment engenders.
There are common themes in the media:
- Awareness of mental health issues and how to protect our wellbeing.
- How we live in a throwaway society with a built in obsolescence that cuts deep, and surrounded by gadgets that we cannot fix when they break.
- Increasing awareness of climate change, the myriad of ways that we contribute to it and its impact. The rebellion against the un-recyclable waste mountains and the rivers of plastic.
These themes alert us to issues, to the fact that we need to change the way that we are living our lives.
Let us savour the joy of surrounding ourselves with handmade and sustainable items. My mantelpiece displays gnarled and twisted driftwood hung with paper stars and shells, I enjoy looking at them, marvelling at the fact that nature really is the best maker... My paintings are the work of amateur friends, but in that paint lies a personality I know and a unique perspective, on my ears hang little clumps of glass beads, made locally, inspired by seaweed on the beach below. On my bookshelves poems by friends that buck the trend and in bottles on the shelf some sloe gin, a product of my autumnal foraging, matures.
Let yourself create unique pieces. It can be anything and many forms are accessible to all with no need for specialist equipment and expense. For example poetry is all about the wonder of words, about the playfulness of words, and anyone can write their own and just like your painting, your driftwood art, your sea bead jewellery, your foraged preserve, anything you craft, will be unique to you. Not to be compared, but appreciated, just like the sloe gin, a day in the autumn, bottled, to be savoured over time.
Creativity is an expression of your self, a process of self-discovery... if you want it to be!
Small groups join Julia in beautiful West Wales to write, paint, create and explore nature. These creative retreats focus on a range of skills, such as driftwood art, creative writing or sea-inspired jewellery making, and Julia works with a range of talented tutors. Find out more about these creative breaks here or browse more creative holiday ideas around the UK.