Well-being through creative activity

You can have any colour paint you want as long as it’s brown……..

Pthalo turquoise. The most desired and requested colour by S2C painters. It is a lovely colour, green blue blend in a rich satisfying blend that lends itself to sky, water and just generally as a colour to lift any abstract. Of course then it becomes a popular colour and everyone is using it and no matter how much you get in the paint order you know it is going to run out fairly quickly.

I often try to get people to mix colours. We are not an art college, we are not trying to turn anyone into a professional artist, we are using art in a social environment to improve wellbeing. I teach people how to mix colours. But when you are feeling low sometimes out of the tube is fine. So we then come to that fateful day when there is no pthalo turquoise left, well before the next paint order is due to go in. After the righteous indignation has died down and people get back to their painting there is a sudden stirring of hope. Somebody has been experimenting.

Yes, the quest begins to mix a near pthalo turquoise. I am impressed by the fact they go back to yellow and blues and then add odd touches of other things in there until, eureka, we have a close approximation and everyone proceeds happily.

So why am I telling you this. Because maybe, for me, this illustrates how S2C works a little and maybe enlightens. We are not an art school. We don’t make anyone do anything. We don’t lecture or preach. We do encourage people to be confident in themselves and to have a go. We do encourage people to not be afraid of things going wrong. We do encourage people to be self-reliant and to solve problems creatively.

We do encourage people to have fun.

We do occasionally end up with brown paint.

This weeks fun…….

In a bubble………

It is always a danger that we end up in our own little bubbles. You know what I mean. A circle of friends and people we work with who share the same views, Facebook groups we are interested in because they talk about the things we want to hear, It is a comfortable place to exist. The danger is of course that you shut yourself away from different viewpoints, avoid controversy, become blind to certain injustices and maybe even are guilty of making decisions based on very biased arguments without ever getting to hear differing viewpoints or evidence.

I hold my hands up. I am very much guilty of this. My online world revolves around the people I am friends with and follow which blends Sci fi, metal, gaming, science, art, mental health, culture and charity. It is not a safe place to be in reality. We all need to be aware of our world. Understand why things are happening. Not to accept information at face value but go digging for the truth. I am in no way telling people what to think. The right of the world is that you make your own minds up, but make sure you make it up based on balance, evidence and truth.

So why am I rambling about free thinking and awareness. In my bubble, the one with a heavy mental health bias, the world is full of reminders that next week is Mental Health Awareness Week from 14th May. Of course all those involved in mental health know about this as we are all telling each other about it and what we are going to be doing. The danger is that the people who really need to be more aware are the ones that are not in the mental health bubble at all. It is the difficulty of breaking through those individual bubbles to raise awareness.

Space2Create does what it does. In doing so we do try to raise awareness. This weekend we have had the open studios at The Factory where people have been coming through our unit to look at our exhibition in the gallery. Most of those have no idea what we do as they have been attracted to the art but then we talk to everyone who is coming through about what we do. The difficulties the people have gone through whose art work they are looking for. It’s an in, a chance to open eyes and to raise awareness. To burst a few bubbles.

Some bubble bursting artwork from this week…….


Which box do I tick?

So this week I was filling in a funding application. Not unusual. I came to a section where I was supposed to tick one box out of many choices. Which area of need do you work in? Long list of different conditions, health problems and social issues etc. As I read down the list I was mentally ticking them all. Ok, choose one. Am I going to say S2C just helps people with mental health conditions……..no because that’s not true. A lot of work in that area but to say that just one thing would be to diminish Space2Create and it’s ethos. I wasn’t very hopeful of this particular funding anyway so I drew in a box and wrote “Inclusive of all conditions and situations”. I don’t anticipate being successful. It was only for a small amount anyway.

But, it’s true. We have people coming to us at S2C for every possible imaginable situation and condition. We don’t specialise in any particular condition, we specialise in making people feel better, feel confident, feel creative and above all feel positive about moving forward with their lives. One of the things that makes me proud of S2C and all the people involved is that inclusiveness.

I don’t see people with labels. I see people who need support. Yes it helps to know their issues, but it is not the defining aspect of their involvement at S2C. We do diversity and inclusion. I don’t need to have any boxes to show that.

This weeks inclusive artwork.


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