Project Happiness; Using the collections to create patterns and the Mandalas created themselves!….


The atmosphere in the group on Friday was really thoughtful and the amount of focus was incredible. There was a lot of excitement at handling and looking at Bolton Museums` collections. They brought about a lot of conversations and so the group felt like a lovely space to share experiences and feelings, which initially began with the collections. People were drawn to similar objects; the coral, cone shell and wing, which brought about amazing patterns all completely different to one another of course.



Group members shared their in the moment experience, which I always find difficult to do in the actual moment. One participant shared their uncomfortable feelings around the activity and their “needing to know” exactly what was expected. She shared that it felt “too vague.” I reminded her that it was up to her how she interpreted creating patterns from the objects and that there was no right or wrong way just her way. She was able to link her feeling with past events. She sat with the uncomfortable feeling until her drawing seemed to become freer and she expressed, “I know what I`m doing now, i feel relaxed.” As a group we recognised the importance of warming up creatively, which  this lady had missed and it reaffirmed how important it is for me and when working with a group.

‘I can write all about non-verbal art experience, but you won`t know the reality of what you can experience with art unless you use the material in your own way and for yourself.’ Janie Rhyne, 1973.

This quote feels apt; I am struggling with the balance of too many instructions or not enough. Different people have differing levels of what makes them feel comfortable, so how to get the level right? I think my conclusion at the moment is if I leave enough space for the group member to interpret there will inevitably be some uncomfortable feelings, but if this is worked through the impact could be immense.

Another group member shared that for him the process we went through (lots of broken down tasks), allowed him to create a Mandala that he did not need to think about! He`d done the working out and it was able to flow out of him. His Mandala felt particularly balanced and we wondered how it would look on another day when he was feeling  differently.

Artwaves Festival 2019 Bridlington Spa

I had the opportunity to install my work at the beautiful Bridlington Spa building for the Artwaves festival in June.


The team there were amazing! It took 5 (some inside the dome!) to get the installation in the correct position.

The piece is made from layered laser cut mount board and tissue paper….




Harewood`s beautiful ceilings….

Oh my goodness I consider myself a bit of a stately home expert! and when I say expert i just mean I have visited a lot of them!

We had the best time visiting Harewood House and best of all it suited me and my three year old perfectly (for different reasons). I knew there was a farm and bird house, but I did not realise that meant flamingos and penguins!!!!

Not only did I get to see the stunning interior, which gave me so much inspiration, there was also the ‘Useful/Beautiful, Why Craft Matters’ exhibition displayed in the house. I must admit what with the ceilings and Ruby saying, “Mama come on,” I did not get time to take it all in. I`ll blog about all the  inspiring artists later…..but now ceilings!



Project: Happiness…Bolton Museums` Collections..

I was so excited to pick up items from Bolton Museums` wonderful natural history collection; the group at Inspire will be so excited to see and touch the items….Ruby was very excited about one item too! ( the tarantula-me not so much!)

I`m really interested to see which objects group members are drawn to and why. We are going to be using these objects to create different patterns.

A Buzzard`s wing…so beautiful


A Cone shell, which has to be my favourite…the pattern is so beautiful



Coral…I love the texture and pattern



Ibex horn…


A Sheep`s spine…


And a Tarantula, which is encased in acrylic luckily for me!

Project: Happiness….Reflecting back and looking forward..

I had been informed about a sports day that would take a lot of the participants away from the group, but to avoid people turning up and me not being there, we decided to still go ahead. I was secretly looking forward to a quieter group!

Three group members turned up; the atmosphere felt very calm….we began by doing another writing exercise, which we all did together, then we did doodle exercises with these words, which brought up unexpected things. Small groups always feel very different to larger ones; there is more space for people to talk and usually people feel more comfortable sharing in a more intimate group. I felt priviledged to be part of it; the sharing that happened felt really important. Experiences were shared and common ground was found, which led us to talking about feelings of shame. I have no experience of addiction, but talking about what to me is a core human feeling, has increased my understanding, so I feel I have greater empathy for an addict`s experience, so thank you!

It`s impossible to pinpoint exactly what brought about this sharing; lots of factors no doubt, but maybe writing feelings down as a small group was one of these factors. One group member said. “I have never felt this open in a group before; they`re always trying to get you to open up about how you feel.”

There was a hopeful feeling to the group, as they reflected on past events that brought them to this point, whilst looking to the future.