Founder of Mutha.Hood goods, Gemma Metcalfe-Beckers shares her creative spaces
We are beyond excited to be interviewing the fantastic and totally lovely Gemma who runs Mutha.hood, for our November Our Space to Create Blog. Mutha.Hood is an incredibly inspiring brand that empowers women and girls through their garments and other merchandise. It’s a brand I adore and if you follow Blue Ticking on Instagram you will often see me donning one of Gemma’s Strong Girls Club t-shirts.
As well as running Mutha.Hood Gemma is a major advocate of creativity and its importance for both kids and adults. Gemma lives in East Sussex with her husband and wonderful two daughters.
Please could you tell us a bit about yourself and Mutha.hood?
Apart from having a total obsession with colour and pom poms and red velvet cake, I also run an online brand and community. Mutha.Hood is the home of the Strong Girls Club. The catalyst for its beginning was my experience of both birth and motherhood. During that time I found Instagram and I wanted to share my experience and I found a wonderful community. The biggest lesson I learnt as I navigated raising my children was the importance of our own self worth and feeling confident to have our voices heard. I spoke a great deal about this and having had some experience in Fashion Buying before their arrival I knew that garments would be a great vehicle for this message. So I put a few empowering slogans on some tees, one of which being Strong Girls Club, and the people within the community helped it to fly and grow to the level that it is now.
You have a wonderfully vibrant home office/studio. Is it important to you that your working environment reflects your personality and enables your creativity to flow?
It’s taken me years to embrace my inner magpie. I cared a lot about what other people thought when I was younger and this always made me second guess my choices. I love colour, pure and simple and if my office is my happy place I’m more likely going to want to go into it and face the work that’s coming in that day.
What’s your favourite thing in your office/creative space?
Oh now this is HARD….. I just can’t pick one!! I love my Girls, Girls, Girls neon sign, the For Like Ever Print I saved up for after seeing it on IG, the yellow hairpin legs I popped onto the base of an Ikea desk, and Fred the Fiddle Leaf plant from Lidl that has lived longer than any other plant that has had the misfortune of finding itself in my care!
Why is creativity important to you?
I have always felt pretty split – with quite strong analytical skills and also a passion for creativity. I’ve come to realise that, for me, one doesn’t work without the other – they’re my yin and yang for happiness. I’ve also seen how important it is to my girls. Creativity allows their imagination to run wild and encourages them to explore; it’s wonderful to watch and help nurture.
Where do you feel most creative?
When I’m witnessing the passion and creativity of others. That’s why I love Instagram, I’ve found so many incredibly talented people that fill me with wonder. I’ve made a commitment to try new things so this month I’ve booked myself into a block printing course with Molly Mahon and every year I’m going to try and attend more workshops to actually learn from those creative experts.
What do you need to design/create?
The mental space, a lack of pressure and cake… always cake.
Do your daughters have their own creative spaces? Could you tell us a bit about them?
Oh they both have the happiest of bedrooms and Big Red came with me to Ardingly Antiques fair a few months ago and she chose her desk -it’s an old school flip desk that’s been painted green with flowers all over it. She’s surrounded by wonderful prints that I’ve found through some small businesses on IG and watching her sit at the desk that she chose makes me so happy.
Little Red has a much smaller room, but for her she’s not into drawing as much as her sister, she’s still in pretend play mode so we’ve set up a little playhouse for her with lots of figures to encourage her imagination; I love the @bowbeaus ones the most.
What creative activities do your children like to do?
We are a big fan of playdoh and modelling clay, We’ve also just found organised chaos for kids and their play doh scenescapes are fantastic. They both love painting using ‘messy paint’ and water colours; I’ve got some fab watercolour pens and a mini palette that we tend to travel with to keep them entertained. Big Red has already decided that she wants to be an artist when she grows up so she has various sketch pads around the house. I remember when she was about 3-4 being so angry with us because she couldn’t draw her vision, and we couldn’t replicate her imagination – her motor skills have now finally caught up with her imagination and her art just flows from her.
Why do you think it’s so important that both kids and adults have a creative space?
Imagination is a wonderful thing, creativity is incredible for the soul – the sense of achievement after actually making something with your hands really does lift you. There’s a lot of pressure in schools to pass examines, to be good at maths and phonics and writing; if my children are anything like me and feel a 50/50 split I want to make sure they have the space and room at home to unleash their creativity where at school there may not be so much time spent on that.