Briony Machin: Reconnecting with My ‘Why’

Meet Briony Machin, most known for her floral mosaics who escaped to Arwen to boost her creativity.

Briony Machin: Reconnecting with My ‘Why’
Every month, we open up our cabins for artists and creatives to help foster a sense of connection and creativity while digitally detoxing. Chapter 6 of the Unplugged Residency welcomes Briony (@brionymachin), a mosaic and ceramic artist. We caught up with Briony after her stay at Arwen to hear all about her creative escape.

Hey Briony, tell us a little bit about you and your work

I am an artist and designer, based in Lancashire UK. I have always loved anything creative and so sometimes I have to pinch myself that I get to do this as an actual job! I design and create a wide range of products from ceramics to wallpaper, but I am probably most known for my floral mosaics.
After graduating with an art degree in 2015 (specialising in ceramics) I taught myself to mosaic as a hobby. This quickly turned into me teaching the occasional workshop and now, almost 8 years later I have taught thousands of people how to mosaic and run regular workshops, retreat days and private parties.
As someone who has struggled in the past with their mental health, art has always been a form of therapy for me. Being creative, mosaic in particular, is so therapeutic that I wanted to share this with other people through my workshop. Life can be busy and stressful, so I really wanted to create an environment for people to slow down, switch off from the outside world and get creative.
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How were you feeling before you headed out to nature?

The lead up to our stay had a been a tricky couple of weeks and I was feeling quite stressed, distracted and anxious. The stay really came at a great time as it meant I could be away from my phone and WiFi (where a lot of that stress had come from).
“The moment we arrived at the cabin, I felt myself relax. My shoulders dropped and I stopped holding my breath.“

What did you love most about your Unplugged stay?

I felt so present whilst staying in the cabin. I was away from daily distractions and had nowhere else to be each day. We didn’t actually leave the field the entire time we were there which was just lovely.

How did it feel to get creative at the cabin?

We stayed in ‘Arwen’ in the Welsh countryside and it was one of the nicest locations I have ever stayed. The view was incredible! It was so nice to get creative in the fresh air. I set myself up on the picnic bench outside over the 3 days to create a mosaic panel with the sound of the birds, lambs and the wind in the trees. When we left I felt super relaxed, inspired and really excited to create more work in a similar style.
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Where did you find your inspiration while at Arwen?

To be honest, the days leading up to our stay ended up being a little hectic. I didn’t go with a plan. I instantly knew I wanted to make a panel which would remind me to BREATHE when I got home.
“I had nothing to do other than create the work I wanted to create. I didn’t go with any plans. I absolutely love what the cabin inspired me to make!”

What do you do when you hit a wall creatively?

Firstly, I try not to beat myself up about it. It is hard to constantly be creative, particularly if it is your job as well as your hobby, and so hitting a wall every now and again is inevitable. I think you have to allow yourself to have a bit of time away, head out into nature or somewhere you find inspiring and let your creativity come back naturally.
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What are you top 3 tips to someone who is searching to find their creativity?

  1. Create a space which feels inspiring. Whether this is a little corner of your home or your garden shed. Find a place where you can keep you art materials, store your book and display any work that inspires you.
  1. Book a creative workshop. No matter what this is, I think being around creativity and creative people can be super helpful when trying to find your own creativity.
  1. Practice, practice, practice. Start doodling in a sketchbook or on bits of paper, start making pots, or painting. Just start. Take the pressure off yourself and start making for fun. Even if you don’t like what you create, you will learn from it and you will probably find the process pretty therapeutic so you can’t lose!
You can check out Briony’s beautiful work via her website or via Instagram @brionymachin

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