Walking in the Creator’s Image By Joy Roxborough and Liz Ayanniyi – Keep The Faith ® The UK’s Black and Multi-Ethnic Christian Magazine

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I think it was at our Christian Creative Networks meeting that I heard someone say that in creating we are like God because He is the ultimate Creator. I really liked the analogy and have to admit that I feel most fulfilled when I exercise the creative skills he gave me.

You may recall that during lockdown I published – or should I say “created” – my first picture book for children, I wish I was a bird. It was unexpected and unplanned for this very time, but I think that’s a different concept behind creation: something called out of chaos and into order.

Since then, my little creation has been flying around the world and I’m always happy to see photos of parents of their children wearing ‘I wish I was a bird‘.

Just as unexpected as its genesis, the book was awarded second place in the University of Wolverhampton’s Lord Scraj Paul Award for Student Entrepreneurs. The £5,000 business development and business mentorship award was a great encouragement to me to do more. And walk out of the The Dragon’s LairBusiness presentation pitch ordering 20 books from one of the judges was exhilarating.

I think other doors open once you start creating. Looking back now, I wonder if sometimes I put off pursuing goals and dreams because I want to see that entire picture in advance? Because I want to see Everyone the doors that will open and what is behind each one before my hand ventures anywhere near the doorknob? And because this kind of foresight is often not possible, I am often afraid or refuse to take the next step because of it.

Whatever the reasons for procrastination, the developments that have emerged from this project have helped me to see the importance of simply “putting one foot in front of the other”. A friend of mine often tells me how she approaches each day: “Just do the next thing you can. Seize the next opportunity that presents itself.”

Another unexpected and delightful development was when Liz Ayanniyi of Cherished Crochet Dolls took it upon herself to create a doll based on the boy’s character in I wish I was a bird. She was inspired after receiving a copy of the book for her children from a mutual friend and gave me the doll as a gift. I was blown away by the resemblance! You can see more of Liz’ creations below www.cherishedcrochetdolls.co.uk or her Instagram page @cherishedcrochetdolls.

Liz has been learning to crochet for a number of years and was initially inspired by her niece to create a doll in her likeness for her birthday. From there, people who saw Liz’s dolls requested a custom made doll for her daughters. Cherished Crochet Dolls, like many small businesses, was officially launched during the pandemic.

Liz wanted to be part of the solution to the lack of diversity in dolls.

She said,

Unfortunately as a black girl growing up in the UK the only dolls available were white dolls and I didn’t see myself in them so I didn’t play with dolls much when I was younger. Now I have the opportunity to contribute within my sphere of influence to create a different narrative.

Everyone, young and old, should have a doll that makes them smile and I would love to see a Cherished doll in every home, taking pride of place on a mantel to remind the owner that she is beautiful, are loved and valued.

Liz added, “To other creators out there, I would say just create. Don’t worry about how your work will be received because there are plenty of people out there willing to buy what you create with your 10 fingers. Create with passion, enthusiasm and live for what you do.”

For my part, I share our stories to say, never think little of your ideas and dreams. Ecclesiastes 11:6 encourages us to be productive with our creativity. It says: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not hold back your hand; for you do not know what will prosper, either this or that, or whether both will be equally good” (NKJV).

You can see an excerpt from my picture book below www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1998997707.

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