How to find and harness your child's creative outlet
A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with my dear friend, Megan Gobey in beautiful South Perth. The conversation quickly lead to one of our favourite topics: the arts. At just 22, Megan has created a laser cutting, etching & 3D printing empire. As the food and wine flowed, the conversation became deeper and more profound (or so I like to think! haha!). We began talking about creative outlets and how truly unbelievable it is when you find a platform that connects with your soul. For me, it's music. For Megan, it's creating beautiful and funky pieces functional artwork. Megan's views on the power of creative outlets still gives me goosebumps to this day, and to be honest, it would be a sin for me not to share this with you all! I especially love her tips on helping parents find their child's creative outlet...
WCMS: We hear you’ve had a very ‘creative rich’ life in your 22 years. Could you please tell us a little bit more about your journey so far?
MEGAN: I feel as though a creative journey is one that is truly linked to the soul. There is a lovely quote from Rumi that says: 'When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy'. I find this to be true for me.
When I was younger, art class, recorder lessons (yes we all had those), guitar lessons and ballet class were my absolute favourite part of life. Where I could truly express myself. I was never any good at any of it to be honest, and at times my spirits were down when I looked at others around me who were doing it with seamlessly no effort and made it look easy. Art and creativity was never easy for me, but I knew there was something in it. I didn't care if I couldn't draw, I did it anyway.
That attitude carried me right the way through from primary school to high school, where I worked so damn hard at my craft that I had my work featured in the 'Year 12 Perspectives' exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. I keep this artwork in the entrance hall in our house because it reminds me that with determination and hard work, you can go from drawing stick men to being featured in a gallery. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it!
Once I finished school though, the real journey started when I began to discover the amazing technology we have at our fingertips. We can make and do anything we set our minds to. I studied a degree in Graphic Design for 2 years before I realised that it was the act of helping someone else with their design dreams that made me happy. So 'naturally' I made the irrational decision to quit University and start a creativity fuelled business doing Laser Cutting - which I named 'Etchcut'.
What is your advice to parents who are trying to find their child’s creative niche?
For each person, finding their niche is a journey. You have to be willing to guide them through every possibility until they find something that excites their soul. When you have found it, you will know. It is when they come home from ballet class, singing lessons or art class with that big grin and cannot wait to tell you all about it.
One major consideration when helping your child through their journey in discovering their niche, is to never hinder their creative spirit with real world applications. By this, I mean, if your son or daughter wants to be an artist, don't tell them that they'll never make any money from it and that they should focus on Maths. Putting that kind of pressure on a child's creative outlet is unnecessary. It is ultimately up to them to decide who they want to be. Besides, If your child has a true passion for something, they will find a way to make it work.
What are your favourite go-to creative outlets that parents should try at home with their children?
One of my favourite things to do as a kid was to bake with Mum and decorate the cake afterwards. Lets face it thought, we all know eating the cake is the best part!
In all seriousness though, decorating cakes, colouring in, seeing a live puppet show/building your own, collecting shells on the beach, paper mache and even making a garden are great ways to help creativity grow. The colouring is great because there is no pressure to draw a good picture, only to express the mind through use of colour.
What are your top tips for children (and adults) when they are trying to get their ideas onto paper?
This is a tricky one! I struggle with this quite often. As creatives our minds are usually so busy that we don't even know where to start. When I get a creativity block I remember reading something Richard Branson wrote: 'The best place to start, is the start'.
Sounds easy in theory doesn't it!
I read this and take a deep breath, think about what it is I want to accomplish, maybe even watch a video or look up some pictures on the topic to help get the creative juices flowing. Research helps you gain a better understanding of what it is you want to achieve. For example, if you wanted to play the piano, you don't walk straight up to it and expect to play, you would first do research into what keys relate to what notes. If you were going to draw a picture of a woman, you would first look at pictures of how the body forms and what facial features make a face seam more feminine.
A moment with my thoughts to just sit back and think, is the best way I have found, along with research into a subject to get ready to put pen to paper.
I don't know about you, but what Megan says resonated so strongly with my soul. The most important this I have taken away from her wonderful insight is:
"never hinder their creative spirit with real world applications"
This is something I live and breathe every day, and if it was embraced more openly, I truly believe the world would be a happier place.
We would love to hear your thoughts and any stories about your creative journeys in the comments below!
If you would like to follow more of Megan and Etchcut's amazing journey, you can stalk them on Instagram and Facebook:
If you feel like music may be the creative outlet that you have been looking for, have a chat with one of our journey gurus to discuss the different options that we have available for you!