Well-being through creative activity

Graphic details (Comics away!) and some Transformations…

It’s that time of year again! The Comic Art Festival windows trail looms large as panic sets in at Space2Create. This year we actually feel more in control even though we have four windows associated with S2C and group members.

Mat JimDogArt (that would be me!) is doing Farrers and so far I have been struck by the jars behind the counter inside. The window is split into rectangles in the old Victorian shop front style so I am looking to recreate the jars, one in each window, with a comic art twist!

Space2Create is in Nevi Sport on Finkle Street where we have a grand production planned with a working title “Creativity Gives You Wings”. Let us just say it involves birds, trees, a giant book, figures and an interesting backdrop.

Cumbria Comic Collective (C3) are in Youdells and have some interesting ideas using Comic Characters they have designed while Lloyd is doing Colin Reynolds Photography Shop front. Lloyd is creating a Japanese comic style band with crowd.

Another project coming to a finish is the creative phase of the Transformations project. We linked creative writers from Space2Create with local artists. The artists have been given poems written by our service users and volunteers to create and artwork from. These are now starting to arrive at the Unit and the ones we have received so far have all been stunning!

One of the unexpected results of this has been the massive boost to the people at S2C. To have your written words turned into an artwork by some very talented individuals is in itself a big boost to self esteem. The reactions have been far more than this though with some very vulnerable and ill people being motivated and their confidence boosted. When you are struggling something like this can give you a massive lift and kickstart that positive outlook that is so important to recovery. Keep an eye out for news of exhibitions, poetry reading sessions and the auction to raise funds for S2C.

This week…….


Using random lines, scribbles or paint splots as a starting point we let our imaginations fill in the blanks. We then picked one of these drawings as inspiration for a more detailed picture or painted a background for our scribble picture. Scribble drawings are a useful tool when you are having a creative block as they often produce ideas that can be developed cut her, some artists also use them as a warm up exercise to help loosen them up before they start work.

Unity Art Group

The Unity art group set Space2Create off getting ready for our window display in Nevi Sport on Finkle Street for the Comic Aft Festival. We need to make lots of birds as part of it. SD used a simple design on card. Decorated one side and put a word on the bottom that had inspired or was relevant to the maker or reflected their recovery.

Kentmere Ward

On the ward we were a bit seasonal in theme, and focused on fungi: drawing, painting, collaging, outlining and otherwise decorating all the pictures of mushrooms and toadstools we could think to create. When we’d had our fill of mushrooms, we played word-to-art games, in a fun and very productive session.

Thursday Group

Continuing with our mini books we again experimented with the chalk pastel dust to create larger streaked areas of colour. Plus inspired by a member of the group last week we also played with torn paper to create jagged edges to our blocks of colour. Using zentangle mixed media and combinations of written and lettraset words, participants created beautiful and inspiring mini books for themselves and as gifts to friends. A fun, easy going session with loads of creativity. Two people also started working on decoupaged Christmas boxes and a word bird for the comicfest display.

Cumbria Comic Collective

Another meeting for another Comic Festival window, this time it was for Lloyd’s display in Colin Reynold’s Studio on Highgate. We had a chat with Colin and measured up the space in both windows, then we spent some time at S2C, working out colour schemes and materials for the display.


The group carried on from last week with Anne-Marie inspiring g us with colour based on the St Ives exhibition at Abbot Hall Gallery. We used the strips we made last week to focus in on sections and then inspire large abstract paintings. We will visit the exhibition next week.

Generosity-giving to charity isn’t just dosh and the S2C week!

People often think about giving to charity as sticking some change in a tin or making a regular donation. Money is important but it’s not everything. Yes Space2Create needs money to buy resources, pay the bills and provide the services it offers but we could have all the money in the world and it would achieve nothing without people. Volunteers give their time and often more than expected to ensure the service runs and we can help people.

If you calculated the hours volunteers put into Space2Create in a week and multiplied that by the minimum wage the figure would be massive. Way above the amount it costs for the rest of the service together. We need people to help us help some very vulnerable people.

People create the atmosphere of laughter, friendship and safety making Space2Create a haven where self esteem and confidence can be rebuilt.

Of course we still need the cash but if you can give us some time that is just as important.

Here is what hass been going on this week.


The 2Create Group, led this session by Dana, focused on writing their names and filling the letters with things that they liked and enjoyed; they then did the same with someone else’s name. Some participants got on with textile work, whilst others practised drawing with their other hand, and made cartoon strips from deliberately simplistic drawings.

Unity Art Group

A really enjoyable session this afternoon with the Unity Art Group. We took inspiration from Matisse and the cut outs he did towards the end of his life. Using bold shapes and colours in an abstract way to produce some interesting images.


Kentmere Ward

On the ward we were inspired by the typical English summer, so we looked at clouds! Tearing out images of clouds; drawing them; painting them; collaging them using coloured papers – we used many different techniques to build up the images we eventually created.

Thursday Group

We started making small books as a continuation of our last session, where we made small cards. We firstly made small envelopes to house the books. We used concertina-ed paper to make each book. Using chalk pastels enabled us to create a delicate coloured background on which to draw images which were important to each of us. We will continue decorating the small books in the session next week.


Anne Marie from Lakeland Arts ran today’s session inspired by the current exhibition at Abbot Hall. Using strips of card to place blocks of cut and torn coloured paper, the group explored colour. As we worked some felt like vertical landscapes. We also looked at small areas through frames with a view to inspiring an abstract painting.

Squeeze that creative sponge…….

Space2Create gets back to work next week after two week of summer sun! Ok maybe not the summer sun but a bit of a rest for the dedicated volunteers who run the place. Sometimes it can be hard to get going again after stopping. I know I find it hard sometimes to be creative on demand. A bit of a break does not always mean the creative battery is recharged. I often find inspiration comes in waves so you can have a week with idea after idea flowing down the paintbrush then other times you sit staring at a blank canvas wondering what on earth you are going to do. At these moments you want to take hold of your brain and try to wring out the last drops of creative thought like wringing out a sponge. It’s in there it just doesn’t always want to be seen.

S2C returns to some exciting collaborations and projects though in the next few months. The Transformations project linking writers and local artists is due to move forward with the artists looking to have their creations ready for early September. When all the artwork is ready we will prepare and exhibition as well as looking at the possibility of a book.

The Comic Art Festival looks too with Space2Create, it’s service users and volunteers involved with no less than four windows for the Comic Art Trail this year. A lot of work and preparation needed there but hopefully some great work on show in Kendal.

Cumbria Life Magazine are holding Cultural Awards this year to recognise the creativity in Cumbria. You can nominate artists and organisations in the different categories. Why not put Space2Create up for the arts organisation award? Or nominate another great art group you know. Nominations are open until September 11th and the form is online here:


So, get ready to be creative, come along to Space2Create next week and soak your sponge in our bucket of creativity!

Even though we had a break we still did the ward session!

Kentmere Ward

On the ward this week, we made tiny books that fitted into small, handmade, card envelopes. These were then decorated with fabric and drawings. They can be kept or given as a card or gift. Each one is personal, unique, and made with the recipient in mind.

Summer break (Ha!), pride and paperwork, volunteers we want you….

This week was the first of our two week summer break. It seems odd not having many people around and I actually think I have worked harder than normal this week! Service users are the priority when we are running sessions so dealing with their issues and ensuring their needs are met often pushes those odd jobs and bits of paperwork into the background. It still needs doing of course so I found myself alone in the unit at a computer updating the Charity Commission, writing reports for funders and sorting invoices.

As I sat there in the gallery I stopped and took stock of what we had achieved in a relatively short space of time. I have immense pride that we are able to help so many people feel better. It also makes me feel good as I often feel I have a debt to repay those who helped and sorted me out when I was a mess. Paying that back by helping others.

The trustees met this week and of course funding is top of the agenda, how to get in the money to pay the rent? The longer we are at the unit in the Factory the more it does for us. Having the space and time to add extra services on which is starting to bring in a regular income. Also having those premises to give other groups a chance by being able to offer them cheap space to get some brilliant other groups going that benefit many ill people. Then there is the more commercial element with NHS services needing space for training and groups too. I had never thought of us as facilitator but that is what we are alongside our other work.

One of our biggest needs at the moment is volunteers. The hard part is trying to break all the things we do down so we can say to a potential volunteer we want you to do this, this and this. We have an ethos of everyone mucking in to get things done which is ok to a point but as we grow and things become more complex we need to think carefully about the roles we have. We always want good, committed volunteers to help us make that small difference in people’s lives that can be a major benefit.

Kentmere Ward

In this week’s only session we began by creating stress (or rather anti-stress) balls out of grains, bank bags and small balloons – a highly tactile and sensory activity, which even saw one participant juggling with them! We then drew, painted or collaged snails out of mixed media, which were quirky, colourful, and engaging and enjoyable to make.

Transformations Artist- Kirstin Wood

Another of our Transformations artists tells us a little about themselves and their work:

Kirstin Wood

I paint beautiful landscapes and contemporary pet portraits.  I work spontaneously and intuitively using photographs as inspiration and I love the work of Turner, Monet and Klimt – you can see their influence in my paintings.

I use texture and pattern to excite the eye, alongside an intense palette of deep colours – such as vibrant red and purple, animated orange and calming blue – which play off one another perfectly to create a visual treat.

After leaving school in 1989 I studied art at Reigate Art School and theatre design at Croydon College of Art & Design and I have worked in the arts for the past 20 years.

I live with my family, our dog and 2 cats in Merstham, Surrey where I paint in my converted shed in the garden (usually with one of the cats or the dog keeping me company!)





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