Annick Colllins, (MA) is an expat and mother of 2 kids seeking new adventures in the Middle-East
Annick graduated with an MA in Industrial Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art before moving to Saudi Arabia with her husband and 2 children. There, she uses her creative mind and experience in the art world to create wonderful and imaginative projects for the whole family. Here, she shares with us just what inspires her and proves to us how the most simple pleasures in life can mean the most to our children today.
What inspired you to create so many wonderful things and start crafting toys and room decoration pieces like the forest wall with your son Sherlock?
Before moving to Saudi Arabia, my husband and I had limited time to do creative activities with Sherlock due to work committments. We would leave home at 7am to take Sherlock to Nursery and return home 7pm. Creative activities in London would involve rolling out large sheets of paper to do finger painting, collaborative painting and drawings. We also did cutting and sticking collages with our son as he loved to use scissors. We arrived in Saudi Arabia in the 50 degree August heat with high humidity. The first few months in Saudi Arabia we experimented with lots of creative activities as we had to stay in the house due to the heat, didn't know many people and had no toys as they were being shipped – something many expat mums can identify with! I had to be creative with the materials that I had around me. One of our first activities was spin art - using our mop bucket. After that my husband had to go and buy another mop bucket as the first one became our spin art machine. This was the start of spending more time with Sherlock and doing creative experiments and from this we tried out painting and printing experiments.
What types of things are you crafting, how often and where do you get your inspiration from?
Having first arrived in Saudi Arabia with a 2 ½ year old, we dived right into playing with experimental art which suited my energetic son far more. Experimental art explores materials and processes where there is no right or wrong outcome. Now that Sherlock is a little older, he is enjoys wood work and is in the process of making a bird house with his dad. We also keep lots of material from around the house - like egg boxes, card board, bottle tops and at time pull these items out to see what we can make.
Generally I am inspired by the materials that surround me - what can I do with them? Having children allows you to tap into your inner child and try out things that you have not done before - so we often try out experiments. Instagram is also a source of inspiration for me to work from, as there are so many great ideas out there!
What does the creative time give you and your family?
Creative time gives us all shared experiences. As a family, we all enjoy the creative play as it gives us a sense of purpose - to be able to make and create is so important as it allows us to express our selves and connect with our environment. This learning process enables us to understand and develop. Through the creative and play activities I do with my son, I still discover and learn new things which is refreshing and exciting.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking for creative activities to do with their children?
To collect and keep materials from your recycling. For example egg boxes, bottle tops, plastic bottles, cereal boxes. These materials can help you construct things and are cost effective and to reusing things is great for the environment. Just try things out, get involved in the process, play and have fun!
You can follow Annick's adventures through her Instagram