Well-being through creative activity

Time to step up

This weeks blog is all about stepping up to the mark and supporting things that are important because if they go then your shock and regret wont bring them back.

The Transformations project is my first example in this. We need people to bid on the pictures as every bid increases the amount Space2Create will get to help continue running the service we offer. If you don’t want to bid or cant afford it then this doesn’t mean you should just ignore it. Share the posts, tell friends, tell business people. The project isn’t aimed at the people we help its aimed at art buyers and supporters. What we need is for everyone to help us spread the word about the project so we can publicise it as much as possible.

Please pass on the leaflets, don’t just like facebook posts but share them so it spreads wider. We have already raised nearly £1000 which is enough for 2 months of Space2Create continuing.

I think many people in Kendal are oblivious to the work that goes on with seriously ill people and the disadvantaged in Kendal. Organisations such as S2C, Creative Arts, J de V, Manna House and many more smaller Charities and groups work hard to help support people and in doing so make Kendal a stronger community. What few people also realise if how precarious these organisations are. Many just a month or two away from closing all the time as they struggle to find funds. With services being cut by central Government and the knock on effects of cuts from councils and the NHS it is increasingly the third sector taking the burden,

It can be as simple as helping us let people know about what we do, promoting events and supporting our projects.


This week at S2C:



The group used water soluble felt tips to create drawings. But by brushing with clean water it picked up the colours and behaved a little like watercolours. The group started by drawing outlines then washed over. Watercolours could be used to add extra colour and permanent markers to give sharp detail.


Kentmere Ward

We spent today’s session working with fallen leaves, some big sycamores and some smaller leaves were covered in PVA and left to dry out, forming a seal which provided a canvas for us to work on with sharpie pens and acrylic paints. We quickly produced some quite different designs and colour schemes. Some of the finishes leaves were quite transparent and created a stained glass effect.

Creative Writing

The group, led by Maggie, did the usual free writing warm up then had some fun creating writing about keys. After this Maggie gave us all objects and asked us to imagine them talking to us and what they would say. This poem came from a bottle opener with a two sided face at the base imagining it had been made into a bottler opener by some Victorian who took an ancient artefact from a grave.

We do not belong here

We should not be here,
We do not belong

I adorned the fingers of kings,
For generations a signal of power,
Passed on from father to son,
In deaths glorious hour.

We should not be here,
We do not belong.

I was taken by barbarians,
Lost to time and history,
Taken as a trophy,
In bloody war and misery.

We should not be here,
We do not belong.

I was hung round a warrior’s neck,
With other victory spoils,
A chieftain slain in battle,
Buried and entombed.

We should not be here,
We do not belong.

Many years I lay in dust,
Then in a shaft of daylight I emerged,
Recovered by a robber of history,
As a treasure for their age.
We should not be here,
We do not belong.

I was crafted as a trinket,
Hefted as a memory to a metal shaft,
Eternal shame and humiliation,
False tribute to the past.

We should not be here,
We do not belong,
Our revenge on those who imprisoned us,
To share in our rage and pain,
Is to sour whatever they consume,
And watch with justified disdain.

Thursday Group

Although it is still only October, the participants worked on making Christmas cards in today’s session! We printed them using a polystyrene tile. You draw your image onto the tile and go over and over it, until you have an indented mark. Then apply the ink and print onto a card This is a very simple but incredibly effective technique which enables everyone to participate, making their own unique design. As can be seen, it is also a great way to make multiple cards!!

Previews, painting and passion

This week I am writing from the Space2Create studios in Unit 31 at The Factory in Kendal looking after the Transformations exhibition during an open weekend. It was an excellent Preview last night with lots of the poets and artists there to set the exhibition on its way. What came out of the evening was the quality of the work. The poems are truly meaningful with lots of emotion and sentiment. Many of those there found the combination of poem and artists interpretation truly powerful and moving.

For those participating who are recovering from illness the event was a real boost to confidence and self esteem. Exactly what we aim to do because at the end of the day it is all about the people we work with and helping them through the tough times.

Having said that we also must remember this is a fund raising event too and the poems with the artwork can be bid for in our ongoing auction. Take a look at the Transformations section of the website top see regular updates of the current high bids on pictures. This is a chance to acquire a very special piece of artwork by some amazing creators.


This week at S2C:


The group were inspired by a poem called “Indian Summer”. We read the poem and chatted about it before each creating our own picture for it. Some picked out odd words while others took the poem as a whole. It was really interesting to see the different interpretations. Greer was carrying on with her oil painting from Friday.


Creative Writing

Today in Creative Writing the group were looking at nonsense and in particular Spike Milligan as an exponent of the art. They used magnetic words to arrange lines of poems that made no sense then they created a group poem:

Stop Making Sense

Yet a symphony death chanting
Enormous blow blue
Smear language like rain with chocolate
Me friend whispering languid lather
Gorgeous finger trudge
Music licks you
Pink tongue fluff to fiddle and crush
Can sit on my rocky butt.


Thursday Group

Another felting session today, with most of the group creating snowmen. One participant also worked on making Christmas baubles. We made the snowman’s body out of white wool, which we wet and rolled into balls until it became very firm. Individual details from bead eyes and buttons or needle-felted noses, felt hats and twigs for arms were also added. Lots of touches to create very individual snowmen!

Kentmere Ward

Continuing with a comic theme this week, we drew some rough ‘Idea clouds’ which featured things that we like and drew them in as an explosion of though from our heads on the dry-wipe wall in the ward. Unfortunately we only had time to do one, but we can continue the idea with different coloured pens in future.



Low key session today as everyone prepares for the Transformations preview at 7 tonight.

Some, led by Jane, created images using repeating shapes. A donation tin was being g decorated, badges made and Peter was doing a fabulous pastel sketch. Meanwhile the volunteers were doi g last minute jobs.


Transformations Project is here!

It seems to have taken a while to get it all collected in but the stunning work created by many local artists is now all together ready at Unit 31. I have been blown away by the responses. Firstly in the sense that there have been so many different artistic responses to the poems. A wide array of media and styles. Secondly by the quality and effort put in by the creators. Thirdly by the generosity of giving up artwork, time and the understanding of what we try to do at Space2Create.

It is a roller coaster of a ride. Some of the work is very personal. The poetry deals with tough issues about problems and issues faced by individuals and the art reflects this. Some of the work reflects nature and change we witness around us captured in verse and through creating. Some of the work is just truly joyous celebrating life and colour. If you come to see it then read the poems with the artwork and seek out the links and interpretations.

For me, hanging the exhibition is a bit of a terryfing experience. Unit 31 has odd chunks and spaces but its white walls can feel harsh as well as the lights. The different shapes, styles, sizes, colours and frames make it a real mix that I want to try and have complementing the work around each piece. Sometimes you can tell by looking something does not belong in a place. A lot of shuffling round of artwork this week I think!

The preview is Friday 23rd October 7-9pm

We then open Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th 10am to 4pm.

During this time David Penn and Pam Williamson have a new exhibition in Artspace26a just up the way from us. ’50 Ways To See A Sheep (and other stories) is in Unit 26A preview 23rd October 6-8pm then at the weekend 24th and 25th 11-4. See both of these then pop into The Tap and support some great artists and artisans at The Factory.


This Week at S2C:


The group were being inspired by Turner. There was some experimenting with different materials to achieve the impressionist feel for the artwork. Some used watercolour, some pastels. An enjoyable and creative session.

Creative Writing

Great group for Creative Writing this morning with some brilliant writing created to boot! It was lovely to have Maggie How back in charge. A mix of free writng to warm up and then being inspired by images and words both individually and collectively.

Just the one example to share today!

Caterpillars View

A fearful uncertain purpose,
Drove ne to some oblivion,
No sense or thought could alter,
This directed fatefull intention.

In silence it was enacted,
Withdrawing within stillness,
A discovered serenity of self,
Yet closed to all who saw.

With internally cocooned metamorphosis,
A creative dream I discovered,
New purpose starting to unfold,
Emerging renewed to the World.

Transformed I sought new paths,
Taking flight away from the past
In positive resolution looking to the future,
I settled to my task.

Kentmere Ward

We were influenced by the upcoming Lakes Comic Art Festival and Ji lee’s The Bubble Project, where activists stuck speech balloons all over advertising boards in the street.
We created collages with newspapers and magazines and used the speech balloons in the back of the reference books to add slogans to give our creations a voice.


Thoughts of Winter and Christmas are starting to creep into the groups as in DeafArt they were making snowmen.


The group continued experimenting with oil paints. After a bit of a reminder Mat showed everyone a few simple techniques. The group then had a go themselves. In a few weeks we plan to create a picture together step by step to get some ideas and tips on using oils.


A pause before things get Transformed!

Comic Artfest Windows done and up now we look ahead to the next project as the Transformations Exhibition comes together. I sometimes wish we could do things like this project just for the art and creativity but it is so important we use these events to create awareness and raise funds. As I write this it is World Mental Health Day and for one day the media and many others are focused on the subject. Mental health does not then slide away under the carpet on the following day. Transformations is a good title for this project as it describes what is happening to people. Mental ill health transforms your life and for many it never goes back to how it was before. It is easy to be negative and focus on the downward side of it but also the transformations that occur as you come through and recover. For some that transformation is ongoing lasting a lifetime. The poems written for the project are varied and all tell personal stories, some more hidden than others. Coping with pain, breaking free of a mind prison to fly off, memories that support, dreams and hopes.

As the artwork has been delivered to Unit 31 for exhibition over the last month I have been constantly stunned by the effort and quality of the work. It would be so easy for busy working artists to knock out a quick picture with no real thought but the artists involved here have taken inspiration from the words, taken care, thought and compassion to produce their pieces. At Space2Create we are very grateful for their generosity.

This week at S2C:


The WellArt Group had a go with oil paints. Mat showed a simple blending technique and the group experimented. One person used to acrylics created a fabulous eye. Some did there own projects including lino cutting, mixed media, knitting and two were finishing transformations pieces! Julie Tait from Comic Art Festival called to say hello too. Busy morning.

Thursday Group

A varied session with some making foam board sculptures from offcuts, Christmas decorations, rag rugging and embroidery! A new person joined the group too for a fun relaxed session.


In Deaf Art this week the group were putting together some very scary collages from magazines!

Kentmere Ward

We followed a very seasonal theme on the ward today, using a mixture of media (including real Autumn leaves!) to create a set of cheery bunting using paper strings. It was very satisfying to create each unique piece, and to see them eventually integrated into a highly decorative whole.


A bit of an odd session. After getting ready for Comic Art Windows we had loads of foam board offcuts plus some of last years we kept. So we had a bit of a sculpture morning experimenting and chopping up the bits to create sculptures.


Why it is important S2C takes part in The Comic Art Festival…

Is it worth all the effort? The weeks of preparation and hard work designing, making, creating. All that work for four window displays. The cost of doing it I worked out was around £300. For displays that stay up for two weeks?

Well yes it is. For a whole host of reasons. Space2Create works with vulnerable adults who have very low self esteem and respect. By taking part in the festival we give purpose to their activity, they feel like they belong to something. Not only within S2C but connected to the wider community. The problem solving elements and deadlines apply pressure but in a controlled and safe environment helping build resilience and coping strategies. From the outside to a well person this my all seem rather like having a bit of fun but the creative process carries a lot of hidden elements that when carried out with support enable life skilss that have been lost or weakened to be relearned.  Rebuilding shattered confidence is a lengthy and scary process but this kind of activity provides an ideal opportunity to develop and grow in a positive way to move forward and maybe start to look at similar pressures in life with new found belief that you can cope.

Of course there are promotional benefits. The people and visitors to Kendal will see our work and find out about what we do. Every year we introduce ourselves to a hole new round of people raising our profile. Goodwill counts for a lot when you are a charity and as ever working with the businesses has been a delight. Also all the people who have contributed time and materials generously.

We are extremely grateful too for the encouragement and support of the Comic Art Festival team who, as always, do their very best.

2Create, Thursday Group and WellArt

2Create was a mass effort by everyone to get things ready for the Comic Art Festival Window displays. Trees were made to stand, books were made, clouds to disguise frameworks, characters drawn, cut out and mounted and much much more. Jane took the Thursday session. The group were using collage to create houses in a quirky style. Work in progress to carry on next week. WellArt was very subdued  and quiet after a frantic few days. People did their own thing mainly experimenting with mixed media and lino cuts. Nu and Jamie were thinking about a logo for the Transformations to paint on the wall.

Kentmere Ward

We were working with a variety of different comics today, cutting them up and pasting them out of sequence to create new stories and visuals. These will be worked on further to make new stories next week.

Cumbria Comic Collective

Working towards the Comic Festival window displays this week, badges and masks made, cutouts for Lloyd’s window finished and a finished Carol page too!

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