Project; Happiness…Goodbye to my womens` group

I have been so inspired by the women in the group; the group has always felt relaxing from the start, so I feel sad to say bye. It feels like the group was  just starting to build trust with one another; I hope they can take that spirit away with them.

We finished work off and talked about which pieces we wanted to exhibit, we also reflected on the group and our creativity….

“friendly group”

“good social life”

“would have liked it to be longer”

“learnt new skills”

“took me out of my comfort zone”

“gave me a whole new insight into myself”

“makes me want to push to do what I want to do”

“It`s brought creativity out in me again”



It felt like a really special session; it amazes me how much you can achieve in such a small amount of time….the women left the group with pages and pages of creative drawings, prints, paintings.

Thank you for being so open to trying new things.

Project; Happiness…Challenge and pride…

I find it a hard balance to create a workshop that is both challenging and relaxing….being creative can really make you feel out of your comfort zone, which is how some of the women in the group may have felt on this session. One woman said, “this is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

Alongside a challenge comes the risk of feeling like you have failed….and this feeling tends to come up when peoples` perfectionist comes to the surface and someone who always tends to be a bit of a perfectionist finds it difficult when there is no clear boundaries of what is right and wrong in my experience. One of the difficulties of perfectionism is that people tend to think it is a positive attribute and they feel it helps their creativity. Perhaps it could help to drive them to get what they see as ‘right,’ but there is the problem for me…there is no ‘right’ and it is getting rid of these restrictions that is true creativity for me.

There is a bit of perfectionism in the group, but I am hoping as the weeks have gone by they have started to feel a bit freer to experiment and challenge themselves. One lady said,”…this work is the best I`ve done.” This made me really happy, as this lady had judged her work quite harshly and this acknowledgement of her pride felt really important.








Project; Happiness….preparing for chaos when meaning happens

It was my last workshop with the refugee group and I really wanted to involve as many participants in the project as possible….I`d organised the room differently to try and accomodate for the different needs of the core group and the drop-in participants.

Of course when you prepare and expect a particular thing to happen it often doesnt!The session that took place was a real surprise…with only six people there, the smallest group yet….was by far the most meaningful I had experienced. Participants concentrated and were absorbed in the activity; it felt like so much work was done in those two hours. Language difficulties in a small group do not feel like the barrier they feel when there is a large group. One participant who  had previously just dropped in felt like she was able to get fully involved with the project on this session.

I am still hoping that other participants who dropped in will find meaning from the project when they come to the family event and the exhibition opening.


I`m really grateful for this experience of working with such creative and inspiring people- thank you.

Project; Happiness….Maybe the meaning can come later?

The fourth session working with the refugee group felt the most chaotic; usually it happens the other way round! As the weeks tick by the group settles into it. I think because of the drop-in nature of the centre meant lots of new people turned up on this session and because we couldn`t speak each others language we resorted to basic communication, so it felt to me as though the meaning was lost.

The pattern has tended to be a core group, who still find it very difficult to follow the workshop, then the people who drop-in and seem to have no grasp or perhaps no desire to know what the project is about and use the materials doing their own thing. Despite my feelings, the session was full of people  engaging in creativity. Perhaps under the circumstances this is all that matters? Maybe the meaning can come later? Having access to inks, pens, paints and the freedom to use them in anyway you want to can have enormous therapeutic benefits, so perhaps to discount this is to really under play the power of creativity and also the power to choose.

I intend to focus on making meaning from the sessions that people dropped into, by making sure their work is part of the final design. With only one more week to go I`ve planned to use the shells as inspiration and create simple stamps.