Updated: Mar 8
I’m sorry about the title of this post, but, yes, this really is all about me! For anyone who doesn’t know me or wants to know me better, this month I want to invite you into my world. Cygnini Crafts was built from my love of crafts and my experience of education and I’d love to take you back to see where it all started...
I’m a bit of a late starter to be honest. The significant events that have been most important to me (apart from anything to do with my family, of course!) have taken place later in life and I would definitely recommend “going for it” if you have been thinking of a change in your life, no matter when you do it :)
Ok, so let’s take a step back to where my love of creative arts began.
I always remember being a creative child. My mum says I didn’t get my artistic ability from her or dad, but my aunt is extremely artistic... I’m not sure how genes work, but maybe it came from a rogue one ;)
I took art subjects at school, I dreamed of being a fashion designer and remember writing to THE Emanuels (remember Diana’s wedding dress?) to see what they thought of my design work and ask if they thought it would be a good move to take design further. I got a positive reply!
However, despite this, I didn’t make it to art college, but life took a turn and I chose to build a retail career until my son was born. After this, I tried creative sidelines for a while... I’m no Banksy, but stencilling was a joy - I loved designing and cutting stencils (by hand, I might add!). My daughter arrived and I made sure that both my children were creative learners at home.
This inspired me to train to be a teacher. I couldn’t think of a better way to share my creative ideas than with a class of children! Three years of learning about the psychology of learning reinforced what I thought – that creative learning engages children and supports their development. I’ll have more on that soon.
My first school suited me well. I strode into teaching with ideas abound and created a classroom where children learnt in creative ways, no matter what the subject.
But teaching requirements change. New initiatives take hold and pressure develops. As I moved into leadership, this was even more inevitable. Stress took the place of creativity, as much as I tried to hold it off, and soon I’d had enough. It was time to leave the profession where I’d made a difference to so many lives already. It was sad, but in hindsight it was the best thing I did!
In 2018, I began to make things for myself and my family with the idea of a handmade christmas, where everyone would recieve one handmade gift. A friend’s daughter asked if she could share my oyster candles on her wedding business page, and hey presto! Cygnini Crafts was born :)
Cygnini (SIG – NEE – NEE: a latin word for Swan – my surname is Swann) began life as a one product business until I thought about workshops. I planned different adult workshops, from bridal favours to Easter decorations, but then some temporary teaching contracts (yes, you couldn’t keep me away!) put Cygnini on hold. I never gave up on it though and it was always on my mind.
Lockdown arrived in 2020 and gave me time to really work out what to do with my little business. While doing Facebook lives to support homeschooling parents (a way to give back during the start of the pandemic), I developed my confidence in presenting online (a different but similar thing to being in the classroom!). I decided that if I can do lives, why not do a children’s workshop? Let children “get crafty” online and bring back some of that creative learning I’d learnt so much about over the years.
And, here we are! A few months and 16 workshops later. Happy children, creating different activities that can challenge their skills. Giving them a chance to take some time out and focus on something different - I’ll be talking about the benefits of crafting for mental wellness next week.
Not just for children though! We’ve had enthusiastic teams who feel a sense of achievement and bond over the tricky bits with much laughter :D And also some charity fundraisers thrown in that show that even though we are a business, we care – a lot! Again, watch out next week for more on this.
If you got to the end of this post, thank you! It’s been an enjoyable start to my journey with Cygnini and I wanted to share it all so you have a really good sense of who I am and what I believe in. There is so much more to Cygnini workshops than just another craft session.
We take the fun of learning through creativity very seriously!
I’d love to know what you think about creative learning:
If you are a parent, do you think that your child’s school puts creativity at the heart of its learning? Do you feel confident yourself to create that sort of learning environment at home? Does creativity scare you?
Add a comment, or drop me an email/message to discuss your thoughts.
Until next time, stay safe and take care,