My creative champion

As you may have guessed from the picture (taken some time in the sixties) my mum was a woman with an eagle eye for fashion. Once, she found a real, brand new Chanel quilted handbag in the local charity shop and gave it to me as a gift. In fact, she used to regularly go shopping and pick up cool, but super cheap fashion items for me.

But the biggest gift she gave me was believing in me, as a creative, as an artist. I don’t think any of my life and career as I know it would have been possible, had she not consistently nurtured my creativity.

She enrolled me in ballet classes at age five and insisted I play the piano at age nine. She had played it when she was a child, but when her family moved house, it wouldn’t fit up the stairs and she had to abandon her practice. I think it haunted her ever since and resulted in three little Solomon sisters all begrudgingly playing scales.

Everything else, though, was gentle guidance.

When I brought home a violin from school aged nine and announced that I was now a violinist, she never once complained about the screeches. Even though they continued for eight years! When I wanted to learn how to knit, she bought me wool and patterns and helped me birth a knitted Victoria plum doll. There are a myriad of other examples from my childhood. But two key ones stand out from when I grew up.

When I wasn’t sure if the life of a full-time magazine journalist was for me, she encouraged me to explore my creative options. And when I signed a contract to rent a new flat that cost twice what I was already paying at the time, she reassured me that I had it. That I could do it. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a traditional 9-5, she said. “Just keep making money from your skills and talents. You’ve got this.” She was right. It worked out, and I am truly grateful.

We all need someone to encourage us and hold a supportive space for us. My mum is no longer here in body, but I hope her creative spirit is living on through not only me, but also my daughter. And what’s for sure is that I’ll never, ever forget the blessing of the sacred, creative space she held for me.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the Chanel handbag though. That flat I rented wasn’t as ventilated as I would have liked, and my beautiful bag became a mouldy bag!

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