Well-being through creative activity

Making an exhibition of ourselves!

Managers Blog 28th February

This week saw Space2Create host an exhibition by three artists not directly connected to Space2Create for the first time. Most of our exhibitions have been based around service user work or projects. At first glance one might wonder why. On closer inspection however the motivation and inspiration by some of the paintings completely fits in with the S2C remit of promoting artists creating despite an illness or disability. Some of the images of Scouts Scar have been painted using inspiration of visits but combined with an emotional response to the location and the artists motivation in painting. Dark thoughts emerge and a sense of a troubled mind are represented in metaphor by the dark and complex compositions.

Other benefits arise from such exhibitions. Inspiring our service users and showing them different styles of painting is a massive part of this exhibition. We have always found that our service users take a great deal from experiencing a piece of art in the flesh rather than in pictures where they can see and witness the colours and textures. Inevitably they interpret images through their own experiences and this triggers stories and enables people to talk.

We are also inspired by the works on show. This exhibition of Scouts Scar images has already inspired some service users to walk up the Scar for themselves which immediately puts them on the path to one of the ways to wellbeing. We are looking at organising some group visits up there and creating artwork of our own to show the Scar from another perspective.

Finally, holding an exhibition like this brings us to the attention of a whole new group of people. More people to share the pleasure of how creativity can help troubled individuals and the work we do. If you have or  know anyone who has an idea for an exhibition that would fit in with our purposes then do get in touch and we will have a look at your proposal.

This week at S2C:


The group were experimenting trying to draw ribbons and material. Some were also preparing for an activity on Thursday by ripping towels into strips ready to make something out of.

Creative Writing

After our visit last week to the museum researching the yards our writing session leader Maggie went on an open day at the Brewery about writing plays for yarns in the yards. Today, with better insight of what was wanted, the group was developing characters and starting to collaboratively construct a play to submit.


The DeafArt Group were having lots of chat alongside creating pictures with their fingers. Messy but fun.

Thursday Group

The group started making small mats from towels. The towels were cut into inch strips. These were then platted in sets to form long strands. These were then down together to form a mat. Others worked on their own projects to create mixed media pictures.


The group worked on mixed media images today for a special book project. Using various cut out shots of Kendal they used pen, collage, watercolour and inks to create varied Kendal scenes. Enjoyable and fun session for all.

Scar Preview

A good evening for the preview of ‘Scar’. Plenty of people and some sales. Everyone was really impressed by the exhibition. Great to see Deputy Mayor Stephen Coleman and chat about the work done by S2C as well as supporting the three artists Tony Birchwood, Helen Isaac and Tim Lesson.

Auction, exhibition and the statistics of doom…..

A busy week ahead at S2C with two events involving us. Firstly on Wednesday night the Green Door artists very kindly are splitting the proceeds from their annual art auction with Space2Create. We are always grateful of donations to help us do the work we do. With 30 pieces of art up for grabs its worth going along for a look to see and you might well grab a bargain too as well as helping a great local charity.

On Friday evening we have the preview of “Scar” an exhibition by three local artists Tony Birchwood, Tim Leeson and Helen Isaac. Having seen some of the work they have created I am really looking forward to having the exhibition up at Space2Create, Unit 31 @ The Factory. Details of the art auction and exhibition below:


12642690_659483874191113_270818624696297444_n[2] Picture3

All this kind of activity adds into the engagement Space2Create has with the public. Small Charities like Space2Create live and die by two key factors in attracting funding. Firstly is “engagement”, how many people to you interact with or help or see. The second is “evidence”. Can you show that what you do adds value in some way to an individuals life whether by making them feel better, improving them, raising their awareness and so on.

Gathering this information in a number form to present as evidence is tricky. The people we work with react badly to forms and questions. So how do you access that data. It’s a combination of evidence, pictures, statements, recordings. Alongside this you can count people through the door. To get a better understanding we have introduced a simple tool to help us measure mood. On the way out a person can drop a bead  into one of three pots indicating they are feeling better, the same or worse. Very basic but it generates statistics where we can say 94% of people coming to S2C felt better after the session. It’s all done simply and anonymously!

Do please support S2C at the events this week and don’t forget you can donate securely online at our donate section of the website.

From this week:


The group took inspiration from Fridays session creating their own little planets. Instead of charcoal and pastels, today we collaged which also proved very effective. One person drew and another used watercolour pens.

Creative Writing

The group had a lively visit to the Museum Of Lakeland Life and Industry. Mainly to look at the Kendal Yards exhibition but also it was good to soak in the history of the area. We were seeking inspiration toward writing plays about the Yards. The visit certainly got us thinking.

Thursday Group

The group were making good use of the large selection of buttons and other beads etc that S2C has accumulated. Using these they created pictures ranging from small cards to larger pictures on a range of themes. All look very effective.


The group looked at the idea of stylised images as you might see in a logo. We looked at examples of stylised trees and butterfly’s discussing how they captured the essence of the object or animal without creating a true image. We then had a go at producing stylised images based on all sorts of things!

The good, the bad and the creative……

I received a massive boost this week when I very much need it. Well two actually. Before the one I am writing about came the fallout from last weeks post (another bad joke play on a film/book title) which caused much comment and seemed to be taken negatively by some when it actually wasn’t! However I received a lot of positive messages of the kind which affirm you are doing the right thing (on the whole!).

The main positive boost came from a day we held at S2C for the senior volunteers involved in making decisions and running S2C on a day to day basis. We were meeting to put together an action plan that aims to guide what we do for the next couple of years. Some very important decisions to make. A good place to start with anything like that is to look where you came from and where you are. We certainly have come a long way, from a room in a Church to our own Unit and starting to have a big impact on the local community. The good bit however was the good bit! We put a big piece of paper out and had one person scribing and everyone called out what they thought was good about S2C.

If that doesn’t give you a lift then what will! We see it every day and know its going on but sometimes it takes an exercise like that to just remind you of what the result of the hard work you and the volunteers put in.

One weakness we did identify was the struggle to find and recruit volunteers. We discussed many aspects of how volunteers helped Space2Create and we realised that it split into several catagories. This ranges from the general volunteer who comes to sessions, chats with service users, helps keep the place tidy and does odd jobs to the more specific roles such as gallery management! We are going to try and advertise a number of volunteer posts with clear job descriptions to see if that will attract anyone to take up the rolls.

Any way. A round up of the last week in words and pictures:


The group combined two recent activities. Zentangles and using Brusho Ink washes. They created these colourful random zentangles in a relaxing session.

Creative Writing

The group looked at oxymorons today. First they chose nouns and then selected adjectives which are not normally associated with that noun. A few we came up with were: sour smile, unevolving journey, spikey tranquillity, confining escape, squidgy hope and cold joy. From these the group created five line poems:

Squidgy hope
Squashed into a bottle
Singing, swerving, sneezing.
I’m exhausted
Watching it settle.

Next the group were free writing inspired word trees stemming from a single word. Finally the group were making up words to describe themselves. ‘frienost’(from friendly and honest), ‘tallastic’ (from tall and bombastic) and ‘optigree’ (from optimistic and green-eyed). They then produced an acrostic portrait

Often singing in the car
Playing with words on the page
Tickling the chins of cats
Inviting friends for tea
Groaning at early morning rising
Reading and reading and reading
Ever ready for new adventures
Evening calm and cosy.

A busy, creative session and everyone worked really hard with some pleasing results!

Kentmere Ward

The group revisited their Monoprints from last week..adding colour and texture. We also looked at the intricate Paisley pattern , and doodled or printed a few hearts in time for Valentines. Gently and carefully drawing and colouring calmed and pleased us . A really lovely session.

Volunteer Day

There was no Thursday Group as the Senior Volunteers at S2C had a staff day. We looked at where Space2Create was at and how we could move forward into the future. All sorts were covered as we created an action plan focusing on the key areas of need, engagement, evidence and organisation.

A lot of positive ideas came out about funding, services, volunteers, the gallery, opening times and many other areas.

Best bit was when we mapped all the good things S2C did. A result of the hard work and dedication of those who are Space2Create.


A really enjoyable session working with charcoal and pastels. The group looked at photoshopped panaramic photos made to look like planets for inspiration. They then used charcoal to create basic outlines and shadows. Finally they used chalk pastel to add some colour to their planets. Great fun.

The loneliness of long distracted art charity administrator…….

Being in charge, as many will know, often involves decisions that are not going to go down well with everyone but they have to be made. I think of it as the Spock dilemma. The Trekkies out there will know that “….the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few….” If only it were ever that simple. SPace2Create, in the great scheme of things, is a small charity. But these kinds of decisions seem to come along every day!

I am sure it is a dilemma that has been faced by many. There is an individual who clearly needs help and support at a time they are in crisis or struggling badly with mental and physical health issues. However, that individuals presence is so disrupting and damaging to the well being of everyone else in the group. The consequences for a decision can have repercussions no matter what. Facilitate their continued presence in the group and other group members become ill, leave or are denied the wellbeing they are supposed to be beenefitting from. Remove the individual and while the group is well that individual could plummet into a serious health crisis at the apparent rejection and lack of support. They might go away and spread awful views on the charity so everyone thinks it is awful.

Such decisions keep coming, to do with what art is exhibited, what limited budgets are spent on, what limited volunteer time is used for, what activities or collaborations we have the resources to participate in. Every decision seems to be a double edged sword. But those decisions have to be made by somebody. You have to accept you can’t do everything or please and help everyone. You can do the best you can.

This week we were featured on Radio Cumbria. A great little piece by Jenny Dennet. If you would like to hear it then you can find it online on the BBC iPlayer  Radio or through the Radio Cumbria webpage. It features about 20 minutes from the end of Thrusday 4th February’s Kevin Fernihough programme.

This week at S2C:


With mindfulness starting today we looked at doing zentangle animals to get us in the mood. It turned into a very relaxed and enjoyable session as the group focused on their artwork.


Good first session meeting the course leader Katy and chatting about how we were going to look at mindfulness. Found out about the whole idea and how it works and also did some practical exercises to help us begin to bring mindfulness into our daily lives. Good start!

Kentmere Ward

Our session extended the monoprinting session from a couple of weeks ago, but instead of drawing directly through the paper, we ripped and cut paper stencils out, then worked around the shapes, through the paper to make negative images. Some of the acetates looked interesting when we placed them against the window. Next week we will add colours, collage and textures.

Creative Writing

Big thank you to Karen Lloyd for stepping in for Maggie this week. Karen used a theme of flight. We warmed up to short pieces inspired by questions on our chosen birds. Then we developed these ideas into pieces of writing. After a break we began looking how we could use our writing to create small folded books. This was inspired by some wonderful little books created by Karen. A really enjoyable session.

Thursday Group

As well as listening to the radio the group were making birds from old lightbulbs under the direction of Jo. The bulbs were wrapped in masking tape, wire feet and wings added then covered in quick drying clay. Features added, they were then painted. Great fun.


The group were creating colourful mixed media animals. First drawing outlines in pen, then using coloured pens to create meandering lines. We then used coloured pencils to fill sections before using washes of Brusho ink to create the finished artworks.

%d bloggers like this: