Walking In The Image Of The Creator By Joy Roxborough And Liz Ayanniyi

I think it was at our Christian Creative Networks meeting that I heard someone say, that when we are creating, we are being like God because He is the ultimate Creator. I quite liked the analogy and have to admit I feel most fulfilled when I am exercising the creative abilities He has given me. 

You may recall that during lockdown I published — or should I say ‘created’ — my first children’s picture book, I Wish I Were a Bird. It was unexpected and unplanned for that precise time, but I guess that is another concept behind creation: something being called out of chaos and into order.

Since then, my little creation has been winging its way around the world and I am constantly delighted to receive photos from parents of their children interacting with ‘I Wish I Were a Bird’.

Just as unexpectedly as its creation, the book was awarded a runner-up prize for the University of Wolverhampton’s Lord Swraj Paul Award for Student Entrepreneurs. The £5,000 award towards business development, as well as the business mentorship, has been a huge encouragement for me to create some more. And walking out of the Dragon’s Den-style business presentation pitch with an order of 20 books from one of the judges was exhilarating.

I think other doors open once you start creating. Looking back now, I’m wondering if I procrastinate at times about pursuing goals and dreams because I want to see the entire picture ahead of time? Because I want to see all 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, is that why I often fear or refuse to take the next step.

Whatever the reasons for procrastination, the developments that have arisen from this project have helped me to see the importance of just ‘putting one foot in front of the other’. A friend often tells me, concerning the way she approaches each day, “Just do the next thing you can. Take the next opportunity that is presented to you.”

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 Were a Bird. She was inspired after receiving a copy of the book for her children from a mutual friend, and presented the doll to me as a gift. I was blown away by the likeness! You can see more of Liz’s creations at www.cherishedcrochetdolls.co.uk or her Instagram page @cherishedcrochetdolls.

Liz had been learning how to crochet for a few 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 would request a custom doll for their daughters. Cherished Crochet Dolls was officially launched during the pandemic, like many small businesses.

Liz wanted to be part of the solution to the lack of diversity within the doll space.

She said,

As a Black girl growing up in the UK, the only dolls available were unfortunately 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 help create a different narrative within my sphere of influence.

Everyone, young or old, should have a doll that makes them smile, and I would love to see a Cherished doll in every household taking pride of place on a mantlepiece as a reminder to the owner that they are beautiful, loved, and cherished.

Liz added, “To other creatives 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 purchase 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 withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good’ (NKJV).

You can view a sample of my picture book at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1998997707

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