Professionally, you are a writer and a sculptor of words, but do you think of yourself as an artist?
Absolutely. I have a huge passion for art as well as photography, and have been ‘crafty’ for years. If I hadn’t taken the writing route, art would have been my other choice.
Do you have any other artistic or creative passions?
I love drawing, sewing, photography, painting, creating on Photoshop… you name it, and I will most likely have tried it. I also have a theatre background and love singing and playing guitar.
What does the word “creativity” mean to you?
Being inspired by something in the world around you that moves you to physically act in a creative fashion, be it knit, sing, dance, write… whatever medium you choose is just a reflection of that passion and inspiration.
Do you see natural creativity in your 3 year old or do you need to encourage it?
Ally definitely loves it when we get into ‘made-up storytelling’ sessions, and she’s now getting more interested in physical art such as painting, or chalk drawing. She’s got a keen ear for sound and loves singing as well. The physical art was something that came with time as we slowly introduced it, but the singing and storytelling came quite naturally—I think in part because she is so auditory in her nature.
What are your thoughts about creativity and childhood?
That they go hand in hand and should be encouraged as best as they can. Creativity can come in a multitude of forms, however, and I think it’s important to embrace that notion. It’s not just about arts and crafts. Science can be a very creative medium and so if your child is intrigued by bugs or nature, encouraging them in that field is important.
How old do children need to be in order to start being “creative?”
I don’t think there’s an ‘age’ per se. I think a baby’s curiosity is naturally creative. Look at the way they examine objects. They can get very creative with toys of all sorts, let me tell you.
How important is art for children?
I think art is something that should definitely be available for children, but I also think parents have to be flexible on what that word means. Not every child is going to be a Picasso (although some kids’ art definitely resembles his work!) so it’s important to look at the range of artistic options out there and allow your kids to explore them.
Do you think that you can affect your child’s personality by the actions that you take while you are pregnant? And if so, what can you do to encourage a creative personality?
I definitely believe that your actions while pregnant may have some impact on your unborn child, but I think it transfers itself in emotion rather than practical. If creating in any way, shape or form brings you joy, then I think that will have a positive affect on your baby. I’ve read lots on music and babies in the womb that may encourage a love of music when they are born. I’d love to know how to do the same with painting!
Are you doing anything different this pregnancy based on what you have now learned by watching your first one?
Relaxing more—namely, not worrying about every little detail the way I did with the first. Trying to enjoy it rather than structure it. The other difference is that I am running around after a three year-old now, so I’m not sure I would have the time to over-detail it anyway. I’m also enjoying fun, creative activities with my daughter, so we’ll see how that transfers to my son!
Robyn Burnett has not only written two acclaimed books on contemporary television series, but also hundreds of articles for FoodTV.ca, HGTV.ca, WNetwork.ca and Slice.ca (CanWest Global and Corus Entertainment). As a screenwriter, she as written/story edited screenplays for Alliance Atlantis, Edge Entertainment, Astral Media and Telefilm. Currently, along with her writing partner Christopher, she is working on a feature for award-winning director Bruce McDonald. A playwright also, Robyn’s play, The Butterfly Kiss, received 4 star reviews in NOW and EYE in Toronto’s 2005 Fringe Festival. As well, she was a part of the editorial team for Kaboose.com (Disney Interactive Media Group) and is presently on the editorial team for the highly acclaimed site for Canadian moms, www.savvymom.ca.
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