Being creative is a part of being human. It’s a critical facet of our identities. Who knows what the world would look like if no one had the desire to express themselves through their chosen medium?
Turning our ideas and passions into reality is one of the many joys of life. To help raise awareness of creativity’s role in every aspect of human life, the UN designated April 21 as World Creativity and Innovation Day.
Today, we’re spotlighting our very own Lucy Morrow, Director of Clinical Operations. When Lucy decided to pass some time by using Fuzzy Felt (a vintage craft set) to recreate pop culture scenes, she never imagined it taking off and building connections to people all around the world. Read more about Lucy and her felt art below.Watch a BBC video about Lucy and her felt crafting.
What inspired you to start making your art? When did you start?
I started the felt art project in September of 2020. I had some time off work in late August because I was recuperating from surgery. To help pass the time, I bought some jigsaw puzzles and books. Then, I saw a friend of mine on social media who bought a box of Fuzzy Felt, which is quite a nostalgic product for us British people. I went and bought myself a box and just played with it to keep my brain and my hands amused while I was off work.
As I found myself getting more involved with it, my husband started setting me daily challenges, like making an outer space scene or underwater scene—fairly straightforward things. I posted them on my Facebook page and my friends started commenting and requesting certain scenes from films or TV shows. So, I just started creating more and it went from there. A few weeks later, I created an Instagram account (@capturedbythefuzz) and right away, numerous people I didn't know followed me and sent requests. Now I have followers from all over the world!
Where did you get the idea to create scenes with felt? How do you come up with your ideas for each scene?
Every idea on my page is an idea that someone gave to me. Maybe one or two were my own ideas, but nearly all of the 250 images I’ve posted have been requests. My friends, family, and now followers from all over feed me ideas.
Some requests can be quite personal—someone actually sent me a private message and asked me to recreate a picture of their cats. Many people ask me to recreate a film scene, a book title, or a work of art just to see what it looks like in Fuzzy Felt!
I think people love the idea of making something that's not cute into something cute. For example, I posted an image of an Iron Maiden album cover. The actual cover is pretty out there. But when it’s made out of Fuzzy Felt, suddenly it takes on a whole new persona.
When I receive a request, I then have to think about how to create it out of felt. I’ve set a limitation for myself there—what I make is only created from the already existing pieces in the box. I never cut anything out and I never change a piece to make it fit. For example, if someone asks for me to recreate the Breakfast Club, then I have to brainstorm an image people will be able to recognize from that movie.
On World Creativity and Innovation Day, the world is invited to embrace the idea that innovation is essential for harnessing the economic potential of nations and can expand opportunities for everyone. How do you feel the creative work you do connects to these concepts and values?
What I’m doing is quite whimsical, but it resonates with people. I think people mainly connect with the nostalgia surrounding the particular medium I chose. Still, it goes to show that any idea or creative endeavor, no matter how insignificant it might feel, can have an impact.
I often receive messages from people telling me that my work made them smile or inspired them to do something creative. That’s powerful to me. I started doing this as a purely personal project to pass the time. I never imagined impacting somebody's mood or inspiring creativity.
Imagine what can happen if someone has an idea that will impact people's lives for the better. Everyone should follow their big ideas.
What other creative outlets do you have? Do any of your creative outlets cross over into your work with felt, or vice versa?
I've been in bands since I was a teenager, and I sing and play bass in a rock band now. That’s always been a big creative outlet for me. In the beginning of my Fuzzy Felt journey, I recreated more personal scenes from my childhood (including things that my mom requested). Along the way, I did get a few requests to recreate things about my band.
I also have another solo music project—an alter ego called Yumah—where I use a vocal looper pedal to create vocal soundscapes. Initially, I thought there was no connection between my creative outlets, but I realized the layering of the different things in each medium is similar. With Fuzzy Felt, you create a scene that takes on a life of its own once you've layered all the different pieces. That's exactly how my music works, too—creating layers of vocals until it becomes a song or a choir-like voice.
How do you use your creative skills in your professional life? Does any of that intersect?
I lead Change Management and Communication for Global Clinical Delivery at PRA, and I think that effective communication does require a lot of creativity. You need to imagine all the ways people in different roles and places ingest information. You also need to be mindful of how busy people are and the ways you can grab their attention through effective image and video content. What you want to convey must be instantly recognizable.
Do you have any advice for your PRA colleagues on how to stay inspired, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ve had a hand in messaging about ways to keep ourselves sane and normal throughout the pandemic. I think it’s important to give yourself dedicated time to do what your creative side wants. If that gets neglected, then you're not fulfilling an important part of yourself.
Everyone should set aside space in their day where they don't have responsibilities or chores. Even if it’s a short amount of time, you can still connect with what makes you happy. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, reading, or just time to sit and close your eyes, anything helps. I especially think that doing something with your hands, rather than scrolling on your phone, is helpful.
My advice is to try and set aside some time to allow yourself some joy outside of work hours!
Now that your Fuzzy Felt art has taken off, how has your approach to creativity shifted?
Up until a couple of weeks ago, I was able to keep on top of all the requests because there weren’t as many coming in. I had a list of scenes to do, but I chose which ones I wanted to do on any particular day.
Now, I have about 150 things on the list! I normally don’t even create a scene every day—I mostly create them in the evening. It’s a little creative routine I do for myself after dinner. Moving forward, I need to set expectations and let my loyal follower base know that I won’t be able to fulfill everyone’s requests anymore, and I won’t feel bad about that. I will do as many as I can when I have the time. With anything in life, you need to set boundaries.Follow Lucy’s crafting Instagram page, Captured by the Fuzz.
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