Well-being through creative activity

Week 22: A quiet week at half term painting canvases and planning comics.


In this session we carried on our project to develop ideas and paint an abstract canvas. A couple of people started on their canvas but many were still refining their ideas Hopefully next week they will be well under way!


Manna House (Local homeless charity)

Space2Create has a very good relationship with Manna House in Kendal, and 3 or 4 times a year we run a session there. Today we worked with air-drying clay. This clay is brilliant to work with, as it doesn’t dry out very quickly, so can be shaped and moulded for quite a long time and still create great shapes. We all drew round our hands in pieces of flattened clay and then everyone decorated them in their own style. This allowed everyone to be completely unique and individual. It was a very successful and enjoyable session. At the end, we all admired each other’s work, and one delighted participant said ‘we should all clap’, because everyone had made such pleasing pieces. Thank you Manna House for a lovely morning.
Thursday Group
In this weeks  session, one of the participants had expressed an interest in printing, so we made this a focus. Using a polystyrene tile to draw your image on, and then repeatedly going over it to allow the image to be printed clearly, is a simple but effective technique. It is very achievable, and produces really great prints. As always, others in the group worked on individual pieces: rag rugging, embroidery and sewing. This session proved to be very productive.
WellArt  was a bit of a planning and thinking session. We were getting ready for the Comic Art Festival in October. We looked areas for our window in Game, planned out our character ideas and started on ideas for comic stories.


Week 21: Photographing Blackwell, getting ready to paint and getting creative with straws, cakes and felt.

It has been a mixed bag this week. Lakeland Arts asked us to photograph Blackwell for them and we had the usual wild and wacky creations through the week as our service users went to work.

Photography Group

The group was invited to take photographs of Lakeland Arts Blackwell Arts and Crafts House by Lake Windermere. The brief was to try and capture the house as a healing space as a group of people who’s lives had been effected by long term and serious health conditions. The house is a truly peaceful and calming space with many little nooks to hide away and admire views across the lake. The detail throughout the house is amazing. These photos are a first batch by Mat without any tidying up. Ten people went today for Space2Create so we will be getting lots of different perspectives from them all and hopefully we will create and exhibition of the work.
In WellArt, we largely experimented with images incorporating mixed media. To begin with, those attending were encouraged to source photographs which appealed to them from magazines, then stick them onto a plain white background. In one case, a participant chose to create a collage composed solely of these; however, most people chose to experiment further by adding images and patterns using acrylic paints to their compositions, some of which were watered down and blown around the background using straws. One participant even included the use of pastels in their mix. Using all these techniques, some remarkable and very differing results were achieved. Finally, one attendee chose to continue with a long-term heraldry project of theirs. A very innovative session.
In the session, some participants continued with our ongoing abstract theme, using different media to portray contrasting concepts: fire and water; wind and earth; softness and brutality. The aim of this project is for participants ulti.mately to create their own designs on canvas, which can then be displayed at some point. Other participants worked on different projects: preparing comic sketches for the forthcoming Comic Art Festival, and working on images which were then expanded out onto the page. A very individual and creative session.
Kentmere Ward
In the session on the ward, we primarily worked with fondant icing and marzipan, modelling them into figures and shapes. We were inspired by cake decorating and clay modelling books. The warm weather made the process a little sticky, but by adapting our technique we were able to produce some very creative pieces. In the same session, one participant was encouraged to draw, using mainly pastels: she produced many wonderful images, and inspired another participant to have a go themselves. It was a busy and fun session.
Thursday Group
Our Thursday session is always varied and interesting, with some participants arriving with a plan of what they want to work on and others wanting a little guidance. So as the photos show, everyone worked on individual pieces, although needle felting was definitely very popular with many of the participants. Wool is a great material to work with, and by using a barbed needle to ‘agitate’ the fibres, it allows for a model or picture to be formed quickly, and provides very pleasing results. Others worked on comic sketching, needle work and intricate pen work. As always, a session with unique results.


Week 20: Abstraction, abstraction surealism and flash.

Creative Writing

A good session in Creative Writing. We played some story telling games about being chased, then worked on some ‘flash’ stories, short pieces they were complete stories. Some really interesting stories emerged.


In 2Create we continued with our Abstract project. We are aiming for each person in the group to produce an abstract in acrylic on canvas. We started last week with the theme earth, fire, water and air as a practice. Today some of the group moved to thinking how their ideas might translate into a painting and began on paper. When they have gone though the process of idea to painting on the shared theme they will hopefully have more confidence to then develop an idea of their own and to paint a finished canvas.
Kentmere Ward
Having picked many of our subjects from the roadside on the way in, we mainly worked on studies of flowers, using pastels, charcoal, chalks and coloured pencils; we also drew fruits and Cave Art, however, with remarkable results. Pastels can be very challenging as a medium, as they are not as easily controllable as some others; yet participants enjoyed experimenting with simple lines and darker papers to create some vibrant and luminous images.
DeafArt today were working in clay making flowers and some interesting sculptures!
Thursday Group
One of the wonderful things about S2C is that we try to encourage participants to be unique and individual, and this session was no exception. Everyone worked on their own projects: crocheting, embroidery, creating hand-made dolls, needle felting and sketching in preparation for creating a window display for the Comic Art Festival. A busy and creative session.
The WellArt group continued being Surreal this week after the visit to the British Surrealists exhibition at Abbot Hall Art Gallery last week. We had enjoyed working with Anne-Marie on her surrealist suitcase. Instead we had a surrealist suitcase that we complemented with small items each member brought in. We picked two items then thought about a story which related the two together. Then we created a surrealist image based on that in various media from pencil to pastels to watercolours. The end results were pretty surreal! Just to add to the surreal nature of the morning one of our members brought in some stage makeup and showed how to make fake wounds.




Week 19: A week of abstraction, surrealism and visits

This week we had a very creative week. Lots of great creative work done by our service users and some inspirational stuff too!


In WellArt we went into the current exhibition at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, British Surrealism. Anne-Marie took us round telling us about the history of surrealism. We then sat in front of one painting, looking and discussing the picture. We ended up with a very interesting piece of group writing scribed by Anne-Marie. We then split up and chose a picture for each group to do the same. After this Anne-Marie brought out her surreal suitcase. It contained objects which we discussed how they could be combined in a surreal way. Great exhibition and many thanks to Anne-Marie for her insightful and supportive discussion.
The 2Create group are starting a longer project with the aim of producing a piece of work in acrylic on canvas. We started today by looking at how ideas can be developed into abstract forms. As an example Mat showed an abstract painting of his called Fire, Wind, Water, Earth. This used abstract representations of the elements in the image. The group had a go at reducing their own versions to abstract form, developing the skills they will need when they come to plan and design their own piece.
We also had a visit from Anne-Marie from Lakeland Arts with a piece of collaborative writing about Space2Create, to discuss what we can do with it.
Kentmere Ward
On the ward today, we used air-dried clay. This is a great material because it is easy to use, is quick drying (so can be quickly painted), and allows for great outcomes in a limited time frame. We used cutters, stamps and watercolour paint, but some participants also created their own unique objects. As with each session on the ward, it is lovely to enable participants to create something which inspires them personally; so in this session, one lady drew and painted pictures which pleased her greatly. As can be seen from the pictures, the session was very productive, with many individual pieces being created.
Ant led the session again. The group looked at splitting magazine pictures in half and recreating one half in their own hand using a variety of media.
Thursday Group
In our session today, we all worked on different pieces. Participants come to the group with many unique talents, and it is wonderful to enable and encourage them to work on their own individual items. So in today’s session, we worked with needle felting, embroidery, needle work, comic sketching, air dried clay, and one participant started work on a dream catcher. A very inspiring session.


Week 18: The Flowers Hit The Windows

It has been a very busy week. With getting ready for the Flower Festival at the weekend. We also had a new group starting, DeafArt led by Antony, a Deaf Service User who is now volunteering with us and who is a brilliant artist in his own right. A Service User also took the lead at 2Create, a big step up for people recovering.

Stricklandgate Flower Festival Prep

A big thank you to all the Staff, Volunteers and Service Users who spent all day working on the displays for Space2Create at this weekends flower festival. The fake stained glass window looked brilliant.


DeafArt 1st May

The first DeafArt session led by Ant. A great session looking at printing using tiles made of polystyrene. Participants used pens to draw designs on the tiles, then used printing ink. They rolled the ink on and pressed the tile onto paper to make a print.


2Create 29th May

In 2Create Clare took the lead. The main activity involved selecting an image from a magazine and cutting it in half. One half was stuck down on paper. Each participant then used the media of their choice to recreate the other half in their own hand. Some used pastels, some charcoal and some pencil. There was some really good work going on. There were also some clay hands from a previous session that were painted up and looked great. Some people also worked on creating a stained-glass-effect window ready for the Flower Festival at the weekend.


Thursday Group 1st May

The Thursday Group were working on their own projects today while many staff and volunteers were setting up for the Stricklandgate Flower Festival. Some rag rugging, some embroidery and some comic designs. Some went to help with the festival later creating a window display based on a poem.

WellArt Friday 2nd May

In WellArt we looked at the artist Paul Klee. He worked in blocks of colour often though he used many styles. Many of his pictures involve a  musical element too where he talked of rhythm in his pictures. We focused on one or two images, firstly of domes in Tunisia. The participants imagined a place they knew and recreated it in Klee style. We also looked at images where an animal was hidden among strips of colours and tried this. We used chalk pastel and experimented with using a wet brush to move them around.


Creative Writing 28th May
We had a good session with lots of writing based on different starting points from Ann The Poet. Everybody took their writing home so only have a few examples but here is one!

The first piece was to write about a familiar or loved room and imagine somebody else in it unexpectedly:

The Attic was always my favourite room. At the age of four it came into the scope of my explorations being a secretive and distant location. It was upstairs. Four doors off a square landing, one to my room, one to my parents, one to the bathroom and finally one up to the attic.
The attic stairs were steep and narrow with a large window to one side. A bannister ran along the edge of the floor as you walked up and another on the other side was in front of the window.
I loved to explore it’s secrets in forbidden isolation. My fathers DIY tools, old paint tins. A suitcase full of old family photos and memories.
Sometimes at night I lay in my bed below and imagined somebody in the attic above me. Having just been introduced to Star Trek I wondered if Spock might have beamed in. Was it the whoosh of a transporter beam I heard or the wind?
I imagined him carefully exploring, being nosey and looking into everything. The sound of the TV downstairs might have been his Tricorder attempting to scan for signs of life in an old pile of carpet tiles.
He was clearly not impressed with my Dad’s rusty set of spanners as I heard him say “Illogical!” to the clank of those old tools.
There was another whoosh and as I drifted off to sleep Spock had beamed back to the Enterprise where he was showing a bemused Scotty the rusty spanners.

Next session May 12th.

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