Select Page

Ep 4. Combining Creativity and Business with Susanna Reay

Podcast Susanna Reay Creativity catalyst
My guest today is Susanna Reay, a fine artist, creativity teacher and consultant. Susanna currently lives in South Oxfordshire but has travelled and lived extensively abroad. She started her career as a textile designer but more recently has moved into sculptural and mixed media art for the home and garden. She is also working on creativity consultations for workplaces.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Susanna’s creative projects
  • The benefits of creating without technology
  • Tips for generating and keeping track of ideas
  • How to overcome being overwhelmed with too many ideas and getting yourself unstuck when the ideas aren’t flowing
  • Susanna’s favourite creative tools and resources
susanna fish sculpture

© copyright Susanna Reay

Susanna’s current projects

For the last 30 days Susanna has been working on creative clinic posts to inspire others to keep their creativity going. It’s a combination of tasks she’s doing and giving people challenges and inspiration for getting unstuck creatively. When all these posts get put together she hopes to create a short book.

Susanna will also take those same elements into workplaces for teambuilding days. This will help people use creativity in the workplace to look for new solutions to problems. As a lot of creative people do, Susanna balances that business and workplace side with her other side as a fine artist.

Having always enjoyed art and sculpture, and with textile design as a background, Susanna has discovered a new medium combining the two. It’s called Powertex and she is using it to create a form of kinetic sculptural art. She is making large flowers out of fabric but the fabric solidifies so it can be put out in the garden. The flowers are then put on wooden and metal poles so they sway in the wind.

Susanna likes this medium because it helps her immerse herself in the joy of creation. So much of modern life is based on technology, but by doing something messy and different you have to turn the phone and computer off so there are no distractions. Powertex is a wet medium which does not combine well with modern technology. This allows you space to just create.

Susanna powertex flower sculpture

© copyright Susanna Reay


Susanna has lots of tips to generate ideas. She suggests surrounding yourself with creative people and gaining insight from other people’s perspectives. She also advises, “Just start! Don’t worry about getting things perfect. The hardest thing is getting going and you’ve got to train yourself creatively to keep going.”

She says the best pieces are the ones that she doesn’t pre-think too much. She might have a feeling to work towards but no fixed thing in mind. Happy accidents are quite common in art.

To keep track of ideas Susanna uses a combination of an A3 sketchbook, a phone and a camera. She uses the app EverNote which is very useful because it syncs with the main computer.

She also creates mood boards, but her tip is to take a photograph of the mood board and upload it into the computer. After moving and travelling so much, Susanna favours digital archiving systems.

Idea overwhelm and finding inspiration

To overcome having too many ideas, Susanna suggests being accountable to a group of like-minded people. It’s a good way of staying on track and it’s a safe environment. She also says scheduling time for creativity is good but she doesn’t always stick to the schedule.

To get inspiration flowing again, she says the worst thing you can do is sit and stare at your project that isn’t moving. Susanna’s advice is to move away from the desk, go out, move and do something else. Take the pressure off by getting outside and going for a walk, for example.

susanna close up work

© copyright Susanna Reay

Creativity tools and resources

The number 1 tool Susanna uses is her phone. She uses the camera and video as well as the app Snapseed for photo editing and iMovie for putting videos together.

The person who is inspiring Susanna the most at the moment is the Art Historian Esther De Charon De Saint Germain . She works with wonderfully weird women in a mastermind course that offers accountability and challenge.

Connect with Susanna Reay

If you want to learn more about Susanna Reay you can find her at  where you can also find her latest creativity workshops dates
Susanna is also on Instagram,  Facebook and Youtube . 

Ep 3. Developing a Creative Habit with Jennifer Syme

Jennifer Syme Cramped Creative - Creative habit
My guest today is Jennifer Syme also known as The Cramped Creative. She’s a writer and creative who runs a website encouraging others to find their creativity and build their creative habit. In this episode we discuss her book Freeing Your Inner Creativity and online course Find Your Creative Freedom, as well as the strategies she teaches people to help them build a creative habit. Jennifer also shares her tips for generating and keeping track of ideas, and her favourite resources for the creative person.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • Practical prompts for developing creative habits
  • How to deal with gremlins
  • Tips for generating and keeping track of ideas
  • Jennifer’s favourite creative tools and resources

Practical Creative Prompts to Build a Creative Habit

inner creativity book - creative habitGo outside and draw or take a photograph of something in nature that inspires you, and using that picture come back inside and do something creative with it.Try different creative things that you haven’t tried. If you’re a writer try drawing or vice versa!

It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. Take the pressure off of being any good because that idea that they need to be good at something is what holds people back. It’s all just about having a go and seeing where you end up with it.

Get outside to get inspiration flowing again. Get into fresh air, be quite active. Do something mindless but active, e.g. weeding the garden, cleaning the bath. There is science behind mundane tasks leading to creativity.

On Gremlins

Everybody has gremlins, but some of those prompts (e.g. draw with your non-dominant hand) are to help get over those gremlins.

The gremlin is the inner voice that says ‘you can’t do this’. The trick to getting you past that is by doing small things. Doing something different comes in there as well. Jennifer says as a writer she wants to write, but if she decided to draw or take a photograph the gremlin ignores that because it’s not something that it sees as a threat.


Jennifer’s ideas come mainly from life. She often imagines the ‘what if’s in the mundane.

For others seeking to generate ideas, Jennifer says, “Keep your eyes and ears open and let your mind play with those ideas. Giving yourself the time and space to do that is key.”

Jennifer suggests also deliberately unplugging from all the distractions so you can really look or listen in to what’s happening around you. So often nobody’s paying attention and that stifles creativity. “Look for inspiration rather than sitting wishing the bus would come.”

For keeping track of ideas, although she does use a notebook she doesn’t write in it very much. Mostly Jennifer uses EverNote on her phone as it captures so much more than a notebook and also syncs easily with the computer. This is important because the tags make it much easier to find later on.

Creative tools and resources

With a self-confessed stationery fetish Jennifer has a lot of notebooks and nice pens. She also uses a couple of apps frequently: Scrivener and Ulysses.

Jennifer’s recommended books are On Writing by Stephen King and The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.

Courses she has found useful were the Strathclyde University Online Writing Course and an in person Urban Writers Retreat called The Writer’s Playground.

If you want to learn more about Jennifer Symes you can find her at  on Instagram and Facebook

Postal Artist Scott Thomson Talks Mail Art and Creativity

mail art Scott Thomson

My guest today on the Idea Medic Podcast is Scott Thomson, from positively postal a postal artist and stamp dealer.

Scott creates mail art, which is art you create and then send in the post to another artist or art lover. Mail art was originally conceived in an effort to make art less elite. Scott’s latest project is to create 365 queens heads each filled with a different pattern that will then be sent off in the post around the world.

Tools and Books Scott Recommends

Creative idea generator –

Patterns and colour swatch inspiration –

Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art, by Jennie Hinchcliff  – Amazon

Twitter Art Exhibition

Mailart People to Follow




You can find out more about Scott on his website on Facebook and on Twitter

Some of Scott Thomson’s Mail Art

Dalek from stamps
darlek mail art by Scott Thomson
Dove made up of stamps

A piece of mailart created by Scott

Mailart 365 stamp project

mailart 365 scott thomson

All images © Scott Thomson

Comic Strip Artist Richard Pettitt talks Cartoons, Creativity and Ideas

Richard Pettitt Comic Strip Artist Interview

My guest today is Richard Pettit, a comic strip artist.

Richard latest venture is a weekly comic strip called Oojo and Bink which is out every Monday. I just watched the brilliant first episode which Richard created as a short animation including doing all the voices.

Tools and Books Richard Recommends

The Artist Way – A book by Julia Cameron

Morning Pages – Freewriting your thoughts in the morning – a brain dump

Mastering Comics – Jessica Abel

Calvin and Hobbes – A popular comic strip, the story of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger

Bristol Board – A smooth surface board for fine detail illustrations

Pro Markers and Sharpie pens

You can find out more about Richard on his website on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube

Some of Richard’s Cartoons

Oojo and Bink

Oojo and Bink Richard Pettitt

In the News Cartoon

prince bowie death

Autobiographical Cartoon

autobiographical cartoon Richard Pettitt

All images © Richard Pettitt