The Journey to my Creative Career

by Jayde Elliott

From a very young age, I’ve always been creative.

The Early Days

From sewing clothes for my Barbie dolls, writing stories about dragons to starting my own jewellery business and now working towards publishing my first poetry book.

Art and being creative in general has always been a way for me to express myself and make something that’s meaningful – even if no one else cares about it.

I can remember always being the “art nerd” in school – I was always head down in my art books; painting, drawing and researching. Of course, art was my favourite subject in school. I spent my lunchtimes in the art room, listening to music and adored the process of watching my vision come to life on the pages. When you love what you do, it never feels like work – you do it because you want to, not because you have to do it (well… it was homework, so I guess I did have to). 

It’s more so about taking your time and being proud of the outcome.

Further Education

As another creative outlet, I soon discovered my love of performing; scriptwriting, acting and dancing as well as developing and researching my characters.

Sadly, my battle with anxiety began around this time and it knocked my confidence; but being persistent and the support of my peers, it was always an adrenaline rush and it made me want to do it over and over – it was terrifying, performing in front of hundreds of people, but it was always so rewarding and magical – it always made me think, “Wow, I just did that?!”

The highlight of studying at The Somerset Performing Arts Centre of Education (aka the SPACE), was always having complete control over our project and the constant support and reassurance from our teachers. Once we were given our modules, we had free range over how we wanted to tackle them and our ideas were free to wander and explore!

Being able to collaborate and work together with everyone in harmony always made our performances turn out brilliantly – because we were dedicated, we had fun and we were surrounded by like-minded and supportive people.

Within our larger projects, we were in control of our own marketing! This definitely sparked something in me and I found a passion in social media, marketing, designing, vlogging, content creation and editing (but honestly, I didn’t even know it until years later!)

Years Later…

I have been fortunate to have many jobs within the creative sector (with the mundane retail thrown in the mix) and I have always found a way to incorporate an artistic flair into everything that I do.

For 4 years, I used to be a Basket Weaver; this involved studying an NVQ Level 3 in Creative Industries with Bridgwater and Taunton College. This was to enhance my academic skills alongside the practical nature of the role. This was the perfect balance for me and it linked being creative with my hands and writing and researching about the craft.

During this time, I was also nominated for the Apprenticeship of the Year Award – this was nominated to 4,000 Creative Industries apprentices in the UK and then narrowed down to 40 for an Awards Ceremony at the college – I ended up in the top 3 overall and this is one of my proudest achievements to date.

Unfortunately, this job role didn’t work out due to my struggles with mental and physical health, but it taught me valuable skills and made me want to carry on pursuing work that allowed me to be innovative. I worked within Live Events at a music venue for a short period and then became a barista (also for a short period), but these roles helped me to come out of my anxious shell and become the people person I’ve always wanted to be. I love meeting and connecting with new people and forming friendships; having people around you that share your creativity is something that I cherish a lot.

Turning Pain Into Art

Of course, during these times – I continued my struggles with depression, anxiety and Fibromyalgia. I found that turning this pain into art was my way to express how I was feeling and ultimately, it became therapy for me.

Writing and poetry is a safe space for me; to cry, be angry, laugh and feel vulnerable – to be my authentic self and also hope that there would be people out there one day that could read my journey and not feel alone.

I never planned to release my poetry or to put it out in the world. It’s scary, honestly… showing this part of you that’s hard to explain, revealing your deepest and darkest secrets; your demons.

I plucked up the courage to read my poems to my Mum; the most supportive role model in my life – my rock and the one person who has stuck by me through my ugliest of days. She was blown away by my poetry (but knowing that she’d be biased, seeing as she loves to encourage her daughter), so I read my poems to my two best friends, Jesse and Skye. They are also very talented writers and having them within my creative circle has allowed me to flourish as a poet.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, we created a small group called Somerset Writers – to encourage others to spark their imagination during these isolating times and to share our work with each other, so that we could workshop them and discuss our pieces. This allowed me to experiment with different kinds of poetry and I’m enjoying the process of who I am becoming as a writer.

I have been writing so many poems, that I decided to publish my first ever book! I’m collaborating with my very good friend, who is also a very talented photographer and artist, April Bishop – she is illustrating my book and helping me to capture the vision that I have for my poems. I’m so excited for the release, coming next year!

My writing and my poetry have really started to kick off and so many exciting opportunities are presenting themselves to me; it’s overwhelming but in the best way possible.

I am currently working with Jackie Clementines of Clementines Live Arts and my best friend Skye. We are working on forming a spoken word troupe, to perform around the South West, to bring the performing arts scene back to life. Jackie is a very talented writer and performer himself and is doing some amazing things; to help support kids and young adults with creative writing and performing. He is such an inspiration and I’m excited to be working with him! We’ve also been working with TYCA to present the ONwords and UPwords spoken word showcase. This was due to be performed live at The Tacchi Morris Arts Centre (where I performed most of my shows at college), but due to Covid cases on the rise – it was postponed.

So, going back to the ways of the digital world, we presented the showcase online and you can watch it here!

There are so many talented people in this showcase and I feel even more inspired, and determined to write more and perfect my performances. This whole process has felt very nostalgic for me and it feels like I’m back to The SPACE days.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

My journey has led me down an amazing yellow brick road of creativity; leading me to exciting places and meeting beautiful souls on the way (thankfully the people I have met have their brains, hearts and courage… and there aren’t any ruby slippers or wicked witches to get in the way!)

This road didn’t lead me to The Emerald City, but I found something even better – Clayhill Arts.

Clayhill Arts are all about creative careers and are there to support your journey and development. If you have a creative mind, then we’re already invested in you; we want to help you, encourage you and are here to prove to you that you and your work are worth it.

I am the Marketing and Customer Experience Coordinator for Clayhill Arts – my job is to promote Clayhill, our amazing team and what we do over social media, to get people involved with our business and courses! And to help our customers and clients; to tie in my background in hospitality!

Speaking about our courses, this is why our 2022 course programme is so unique and is designed with you all in mind. Creativity has no limit and we will help you to use to creative voice because everyone deserves a chance to be able to do what they love; not just an artist or anyone within this sector, but also people, like myself, who want to pursue a career alongside their hobbies.

Working at Clayhill Arts, with Deborah and Michael, has taught me so much – about the arts, about marketing and also about myself. As well as sharing the same values and having a sustainable business/being environmentally friendly. This is truly what I love to do and they support and encourage me every day – and they will do that for you too!

Clayhill Arts is a beautiful place, physically and also spiritually; the relaxing nature of the landscape has truly allowed me to flourish and be inspired. I am so proud to work here and I am also proud of myself and what I have achieved.

From being an intern to becoming a full-time member of the team – this has been a journey of a lifetime and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the enthusiasm that Deborah and Michael have and the passion that they share for Clayhill Arts and the creative industries. They are the most inspiring people that I have ever met and I have become a better person because of them and because of Clayhill Arts.

Not to sound cliche, but this place will change your life for the better and it just makes my heart so happy. “There is no place like home” – Clayhill Arts is my Kansas and I can’t wait to see where my creative career journey takes me next.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
David Bowie

Jayde at Clayhill Arts, with a big smile after becoming an official member of the team.

Clayhill Arts Creative Careers

My journey has inspired me to create this new segment on the Clayhill Arts website as well as a new feature in our newsletter, coming soon!

At Clayhill Arts, want to encourage and support creative careers and your own journey, so make sure to head over to our Creative Careers page, to see how you can get involved!

Our Creative Careers page is full of helpful and useful resources!

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