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We’re all guilty of it…sticking to the routine, staying firmly within the comfort zone, loyally treading the known and familiar. Which is great, for the most part; habits are good, just not if you’ve started to find yourself in autopilot mode the vast majority of the time.

Maybe it’s time to shake things up. Maybe your brain needs a workout. Maybe how you spend your time is screaming out for extra colour.

There are many motivations for creativity (personally, I live in hope that I’ll show an unfounded knack for a complex craft-related pastime, resulting in a hugely successful Etsy business), but it’s also good for your brain, alleviating your boredom, fueling your social life and (just possibly) generating things you can give to people as well-intended if not slightly flawed gifts.

Here are 10 ways to spark your creativity in Chester:

  1. Testify. No, I don’t mean give evidence in a court of law (but whatever floats your boat). I mean head down to Hanky Panky (there are too many double-meanings in no 1. already) – the pancake house, on the first Tuesday of every month to listen to poetry. And/or read some of your own (baby steps). I went to the very first Testify and was so inspired, I actually started writing again after an extensive break. Sure, you probably won’t like all the poetry but that’s not the point – I’d bet money on you laughing, revisiting the way you think about something, disagreeing, being shocked, a touch overwhelmed, feeling inspired, and maybe even noticing that twitch of creative impulse in yourself, all before the night is up. Details here.
  2. Let your inner magpie out and pursue shiny things. The 2nd Floor are hosting a hand-crafted silver jewellery workshop in Jan2020. I know exactly what I want for Christmas please. You can make a ring, a pendant or two charms over the three-hour session. Your design(s) will be taken away and cast. It’s £80, so an indulgent treat but such a great opportunity to make exactly what you’re looking for. You can pay in weekly instalments and it’s frickin’ cool. Details here.
  3. Ain’t no party like a Paint Party. Okay, there probably is, but it’s definitely a less physically active alternative. And it ticks a lot of boxes – I had a fantastic night there with a friend and a lot of wine, trying to recreate a tree and a sunset. We loved how relaxed and different it was – and the tipsier we became, the better our work appeared. Win. Keep it festive at the Christmas event, here.
  4. A wonderfully dark slice of fun next (if you like your flowers twisted) with a Mexican Day of the Dead Flower Crown Workshop. I’m not sure where you’d wear it: doing the pots? Bingo? 5K run? Yep, probably need to find a fancy dress party pronto. Whatever you do, you’ll look bloody awesome (probably). £45. Details here.
  5. Fancy wielding a blade and crafting a little Christmas magic? Good – well this one’s for you – carve your own stamps, and get sheets upon sheets of wrapping paper looking very fine indeed, just in time for the season of giving. The £30 includes refreshments, and the details clearly state mince pies, plural, so hopefully you can eat a lot them. Maybe see it as a challenge? Details here.
  6. Could your home do with a bit more life? Then create some pretty knitted things and stick plants in them at a Macrame workshop. Just because you can’t pronounce it, doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time. I went to a workshop last year (at 2nd Floor) and made something surprisingly passable. It’s also a good opportunity to stock up on eco-friendly supplies at Just Footprints too. £20. Details here.
  7. If you’re desperate to learn how to knit or crochet your own fabulous ensemble (just picture it), then check out the workshops offered from Woolly Hat. They have courses kicking off through October and November, all for 4 weeks at around £60. Details here.
  8. Jaycotts are hosting a few Christmas themed events this December – from Festive Applique (£30) to Christmas Stockings (£35). They’re running plenty of other classes from October too – check them out if you think sewing might just be your jam (no jam provided). Details here.
  9. Storyhouse put on a phenomenal number of events, each week, so many in fact that the vast majority aren’t promoted. I recommend checking in with the ‘What’s On’ section of their website every now and again with a cup of tea, to see if anything takes your fancy. Creative highlights include bread making on the 2nd Oct, Improv Gym for Over 50s on Wednesdays, Adult Arts&Crafts on Thursdays, Bullet Journaling 12th November, Art of Zine Making 16th November. There are tons of book clubs, language groups etc. and Chester Literature Festival runs 9th-30th November.
  10. Know how to knit but don’t feel quite like sitting in alone with the click of your needles for company? Want to sit and eat cake and colour in for two hours, forgetting about your mortgage? Found your creative calling but don’t know where to crack on with it? And crucially, you identify as a woman (sorry boys)? Then come on down to Girls Who Make. It’s a monthly social for makers usually held at The Flower Cup cafe. Follow them on Facebook for the next social.