Creative Sparks – How learning new skills can improve creativity

I’ve been on an exciting journey of learning new skills – knife forging and candle making. These experiences have been not just fun, but also real eye-openers in terms of boosting creativity or just taking a break from the norm to give you mind something else to think about.


First up, knife forging. It’s a skill that’s as cool as it sounds. I had an amazing instructor, Toby, at Murrill Forge. He’s the reason I managed to create a great knife and, funnily enough, only ended up with two slightly worn fingers from the grinder – thanks, Toby! This experience was not just about shaping metal, but also about learning precision, patience, and the importance of a good teacher.

Making candles
Thank you to my wife Emma for letting me hijack her jewellery table to make some candles


Candle making turned out to be a wonderfully fragrant and calming journey. Mixing soya wax with essential oils, I learned an important lesson about their ‘flash point‘. This isn’t just the temperature at which oils evaporate, but also the point where enough vapors might be released that they could actually ignite.

It’s a crucial detail for making safe and rather wonderfully-scented candles (if I do say so myself!). Plus, I learned that patience is key – candles need to cure for at least two days for the best results. (I got far too impatient on the first go and lit my candle as soon as it had cooled – the wax melted away really quickly!)

Why New Skills Are Great for Creativity

  1. Fresh Perspectives: Every new skill, from forging to candle making, brings its own set of challenges and solutions, enriching your creative thinking.
  2. Problem-Solving Skills: Overcoming the hurdles of a new craft improves your quick thinking and creative problem-solving abilities.
  3. Brain Power: Learning new activities creates new connections in your brain, fostering creativity and mental agility.
  4. Confidence and Achievement: There’s a unique sense of accomplishment in creating something with your own hands, which in turn boosts your creative confidence.

From the heat and precision of knife forging to the delicate balance and patience of candle making, each skill has opened new doors to creativity for me. They show that learning new skills can truly ignite your creative thinking (sorry). So why not try your hand at something new and see where it takes you on your creative journey.

This post was written by James Kindred

Oh, hey! I’m James Kindred - a graphic designer in Suffolk, UK, and I run Fork: a creative consultancy for start-ups and scaling brands. With over 25 years of experience, I work with start-up and scale-up brands to develop their identity, collateral and brand strategy.

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