Voices from the MotherVerse Q & A Series #9: Barbara Bloomfield

Creativity is a way of sharing, witnessing and celebrating things that can be hidden and personal. It’s a way of metaphorising internal states or states of the collective zeitgeist.”


1. Describe your current family situation

I live in suburban Bristol with my partner of 35 years and a young Spanish couple. We have two daughters of 29 and 31. One lives in London and one in Glasgow. My husband, Ben Glatt, is Jewish and is an artist who volunteers with refugees and asylum-seekers who are artists.  I have a counselling and counselling supervisor practice and also deliver training for couples and family counsellors. I run creative groups and I have written a few books about relationships.

2. In your eyes, what does ‘creativity’ mean and why is it important to you?

For me, Creativity is a way of sharing, witnessing and celebrating things that can be hidden and personal. It’s a way of metaphorising internal states or states of the collective zeitgeist. It’s a way of showing one’s individuality and specialness and it’s democratic, it’s for everyone, and not competitive or monetised. It’s an act of rebellion.

3. How do you carve out time and space within family life for your creative practice?

It’s quite easy as I don’t work a full week and I don’t have any grandchildren or have any close family nearby. I find plenty of time to do my own creative work.

4. What kind of creative activities do you feel drawn to again and again?

Mindful walking, creative writing, scriptwriting, playing the violin, making things from found objects and scrap. Cooking, sewing, singing, dancing, growing plants.

5. How do you get inspiration flowing when you feel stuck?

I don’t really get stuck. I watch something mindless like Love Island.

6. In what ways do you sabotage your own creative life?

I don’t sabotage it. I will have a go at anything. Sometimes I wish I was more connected but my Lapidus work has connected me with some inspiring people.

7. Who or what are your creative allies or mentors?

My Lapidus colleagues, film makers, artists, normal folk who like making things, creative professionals, anyone really.

8. How would you describe the relationship between your creativity and your mothering?

I wasn’t brought up to think of myself as creative. My mother liked to clear away the ‘mess’ of making stuff from the dining table. But she was a creative cook and I came from a home where people knitted, played music, played instruments and cared about reading. Every Saturday we changed our library books. That gave me a model for supporting my own children with their musical instruments (my daughter plays in a Glasgow ambling band) and with trying to be relaxed about ‘mess’. I do remember us all making a lot of costumes for school… that seemed to go on for years and years and I generally enjoyed it.

9. To what extent does your creative work generate a financial income for your family? How does this reality compare to your aspirations around this?

I now do creative counselling and consultation with families and couples, which is counselling using small figures, sandplay, drawing, writing, roleplay etc. And I also run day schools and weekend schools for writers and creatives so this feeds my body, soul and bank balance. I think I have been very lucky to make some money from creativity. But I’ve not had to be the main breadwinner so I have been in a privileged position. I wouldn’t recommend people to try and make a really good living from this. Personally, I think I’ve made more money than I expected from my creativity.

10. What would you say to a mother who is struggling to express herself in the midst of her family commitments?

Whatever stage of mothering you are at, it will pass. Little glimpses of time will emerge. Join with other parents to carve out some time for yourself. Art is better done in fellowship anyway.

11. Big yourself up, sister – share your current / most exciting projects, web and social media links:

I’m working on my screenplay, Gray’s Amazing Flea Circus. I’m going to make a poetry film about a walk I did as a child. I’ve some CPDs coming up and the Creative Bridges conference. I’m working with families and couples in a way that I find satisfying. Also hoping to piece together a scrap quilt made with some artists recently.

barbarabloomfield.com  

bristolrelationships.com

 I worked for the BBC in Southampton and radio and newspapers in London and abroad for many years before becoming a Relate counsellor in 1994.  I have a diploma in Family Counselling and qualifications in relationship counselling and supervision. After taking a master’s degree in creative writing in 2000, I went on to teach undergraduates part time for six years at Bath Spa University. I’ve written four books and my stories have been played on BBC radio. I’m a Director of Lapidus International, the therapeutic writing organisation, www.lapidus.org.uk

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